Sands exits early as Deer Park village president
Deer Park Village President Dale Sands is giving up his post as the town's top elected official due to an out-of-state move.
Sands' Deer Park government career ends Tuesday. Trustee Greg Rusteberg has been appointed to fill the remainder of Sands' term that expires in 2021.
Bob Kellermann ended his 8-year reign as Deer Park's village president by swearing in Sands as his replacement in May 2017. Sands was first elected to the village board as a trustee as part of Kellermann's political team in 2009, and he ran unopposed for the top spot in 2017.
"It was a good run," Sands said Monday. "I really enjoyed it."
Construction of Deer Park's first village hall, renovations to the historic Vehe Barn and becoming a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Green Power partner community for dedication to using 100% renewable energy for an electric aggregation program are among the achievements during Sands' tenure as village president.
In addition, Deer Park voters in 2018 approved a boost in the local sales tax rate to help pay for stormwater drainage improvements and other infrastructure projects. Deer Park is one of the few suburban communities that doesn't levy a property tax, instead collecting about two-thirds of revenue from sales tax.
Sands, who moved to Deer Park in 1993, said with about $2 million in reserves, he's confident in the village's ability to overcome any financial damage from the state's stay-at-home order from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It'll be a little tough without having that (typical sales tax) revenue, but it'll be fine in the long run," he said. "It's going to come back fast, I think. I'm hoping for a quick recovery. I know we've seen a lot of growth and development in the Deer Park (Town) Center."
Sands, 69, and his wife will divide their time on a property with a renovated 1850s farmhouse in southeastern Michigan and a house in Hawaii. Retired from a full-time career at a design engineering company since 2017, Sands has stayed busy with other work beyond village government.
In July, he'll wrap up 10 years as a volunteer on a United Nations private sector advisory group called ARISE, which is focused on disaster risk reduction. Among his accomplishments with the U.N. group, he developed a private business resilience survey tool that was applied to about 200 companies in New Orleans in 2016.