Editor’s note: The Bureau County Republican asked the four candidates running for two seats for Princeton City Commissioner to answer a questionnaire. Following are their responses.
Two seats available
Candidates are listed in alphabetical order
What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?
1. South Main Street. I see too many stores and business properties vacant or for sale or rent. We should try to fill those vacancies in the South Historic District to keep it alive and prosperous and bring in more revenue to Princeton.
2. More consideration should be given to the city’s infrastructure. I have heard many people complain of basement flooding from sewer backup.
3. Public education. Many people do not know anything about the city laws and regulations. Overnight parking, snow parking bans, ordinance changes, etc. We do include in the monthly municipal utilities bill when holiday garbage pickup and burning season has changes or to be enforced, and I would propose we add inserts with the monthly bill to inform residents of changes and invite them to public meetings.
If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? Get the vacant stores and businesses up and running. That would bring more people into the area to shopping, dining and entertainment, which could increase city revenue that may help to fix the infrastructure.
Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I have new ideas that can benefit the city, residents and businesses in Princeton. Friends and acquaintances are always asking me for my input and advice relating to many different aspects of their lives, as they know I am very fair on judgments and have that knack to come up with solutions.
What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town? Princeton is very similar to other small Midwestern towns that have to deal with aging infrastructure such as sanitary and storm sewers, curbs, gutters, roads, sidewalks and water mains. Many of these elements we use everyday and sometimes take for granted are nearing 100 years old. This past couple of weeks have seen numerous pot holes appear, road surfaces broken up and sewer catch basins falling in. With limited local dollars and shrinking help from federal and state government, we are forced to use our tax dollars wisely on repairs and replacements of those structures. The new water treatment plant, although needed, seems way too extravagant with its brick/stone exterior, arched windows and mansard roof. This leads me to the second most pressing issue, fiscally sound use of taxpayer dollars. And the third most pressing issue, retaining and creating new employment opportunities in our town.
If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? If elected, it’s extremely difficult to narrow down to one thing I would wish to accomplish, but without doubt, we need a team approach and attitude between the mayor and city council members that allows open dialogue about issues the city is facing. Unfortunately, I believe the current mayor and city council, aside from newly-elected Commissioner Quiram, make many decisions behind the scenes, leaving little discussion at open meetings. We will always have disagreements about how to best move our city forward; a city council working together will accomplish far more. Along with working together, we just plain need to be better stewards of our tax dollars. Working together, solving Princeton’s problems in a fiscally responsible manner, that’s my goal during my term in office.
Why should voters cast their ballots for you? Consumers make conscious decisions. We decide where and who we will do business with. I buy my gas at one station, not because their gas is better, but because of the combination of a friendly staff and a clean store atmosphere. It’s a combination of things that keeps me loyal. I bring to the table a combination of things that make me qualified to help lead Princeton forward. My background includes being a small business owner, a 20-plus year member of the United States Army Reserves, an Eagle Scout, a father of two sons who also are local small business owners. I am a hard-working person who is willing to take on a task and not easily give up. I have a vision, an eye for details, such as what our company is building on North Main. I look forward to being a part of a team approach to move Princeton forward in a fiscally responsible way.
What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?
1. Marketing Princeton as a place to live and work. We are uniquely positioned among small communities to draw a wide variety of employment with our electric, telecommunications and water resources, ready-to-go development sites and a high overall quality of life. We need to work hard to use those resources to draw jobs that can sustain families. We need to work to retain and draw young people.
2. Maintaining quality local health care resources. Our hospital is one of our most important resources. We should support the hospital and other local health care providers.
3. Maintaining the infrastructure. Significant progress has been made in recent years with upgrades at the power plant, the new water plant, and street and storm water projects. There is still an issue to be resolved at the wastewater treatment plant. Addressing remaining issues of aging streets and pipes will require careful planning of very limited resources.
If re-elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? I would like most to maintain the quality of life in Princeton including an affordable cost of living. To me, that means retaining and building the availability of jobs that sustain families. It means keeping the cost of living here competitive on every level under the city’s control. It means keeping the city safe and clean. It means encouraging entrepreneurs and business development of all sizes. It means encouraging young people to stay or return. It means encouraging local health care resources. It means promoting the availability and use of local recreation and entertainment. It means finishing the infrastructure projects we have been required to undertake and putting those resources to work for the community. Princeton is a good place to live and work. The costs of living and doing business here are competitive. We need to work to continue that.
Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I have lived in Princeton for nearly 20 years. Deb and I plan to remain here. Three of our four adult children live and work here. Our grandchildren live here. I am self-employed in my own small business here. We own property here. Princeton is more than the place where we live; it is our home. We are impacted by decisions made by the city council just like everyone else. I make every decision on the city council like I make decisions at home and work. I research issues on my own, and I listen to others. I try hard to be sure all sides of issues are heard. I consider impacts for today and for the future, and then I try to make the best decision I can with all of those factors in mind. I decide based on what is known, not on what I wish.
What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town? Debt, economic growth, unfunded mandates.
If elected re-elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? Pay down the debt; business expansion in Tech Park; sell off the Logistics Park.
Why should voters cast their ballots for you? The most conservative candidate when it comes to spending issues.
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