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Spring Valley alderman candidates

Editor’s note: The BCR sent questionnaires to all candidates running for Spring Valley Alderman. Following are their responses. The candidates are listed alphabetically by wards.

Ward 1

1 seat available

Mike Herrmann

Experience: I have no previous experience in public office.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. Wastewater issue. We are taking action with our sewer issues, but we need to find a long-term solution with the least amount of economic impact on our citizens. We need to explore all possibilities and work to find a solution.

2. Retaining current business while attracting new business. Our city has a lot of growth potential,and we must do our best to draw new business our way. We have Interstate 80 for accessibility and Walmart Distribution Center as an anchor in our industrial area.

3. Promoting our natural resources and outdoors. The Illinois River is a great asset to Spring Valley and should continue to be utilized to its fullest. I would also like to see the I & M Canal towpath connected to the Hennepin Canal towpath, with a vehicle restricted throughway. This would attract visitors and promote fitness.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? I feel our current council and the candidates that are running for office are basically after the same major goals. I would like to be a calming influence at our meetings, so we can accomplish these goals.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I am 100 percent Spring Valley. This is where I live, and it’s where I’ll be buried. I want to do my part to help Spring Valley grow and prosper now, and for generations to come.

Todd Schmollinger

Experience: Forty-year resident of the First Ward, owner/operator of small business in downtown Spring Valley for 19 years, attended Spring Valley Business Owners meetings, currently participate in Partners for Progress.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town? The three most pressing issues that I see Spring Valley facing are: How we will pay for the much-needed replacement and maintenance of our deteriorating water and sewer systems; the declining condition of our buildings and the challenge of getting new businesses into them; and the conditions of our streets and sidewalks.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? If elected, I would most like to help improve the economic development in our town of Spring Valley.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? Voters should vote for me because I can adapt to all situations, I can work well with others, and I will always put forth professionalism when making decisions for Spring Valley

Ward 2

1 seat available

Jeff Chiaventone

Experience: First time running.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. Bringing business and jobs to our town.

2. Maintaining and upgrading our water and sewer system.

3. Creating more chances for kids and adults to use our park system — after all, they do belong to the citizens.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? The obvious answer is more business and jobs, but I would like to upgrade our water and sewer system, so we are ready for the future growth of Spring Valley.

 Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I just retired from 32 years with street and water departments. I have a good working relationship with all departments. I know all the workers and believe we should listen to them. They are the ones on the street every day. They know what’s wrong. After 32 years, I have heard all the problems and know I can do something about them. By that I mean let the different departments do what needs to be done. They are more than capable of handling their jobs.

Jill Emerson

Experience: As far as political experience is concerned, I have none. I am a 53-year-old student at IVCC obtaining my associate’s degree in marketing. I am also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society. I have dealt with the public for 35 years. I have leadership, management and marketing (promotional) skills. I have volunteered for the Hall Township Food Pantry, Upscale Resale (Freedom House), the Spring Valley Boosters and St. Jude’s. I was a member of the Crime Stoppers Board and am currently an election judge. My sole aim is to serve the community.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town? Our water treatment plant is very important because we have to comply with the EPA. Infrastructure is a key element for any community. In the past four years, we have come a long way with our sewer reconstruction projects. Our youth is a critical part of society. I would like to see our youth become more engaged in their community.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? I would like to see Spring Valley become a more sustainable community. A sustainable community is a community that capitalizes on their resources. We just purchased three new pieces of machinery — this is great. The Illinois River is another asset.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I have a lot of heart. The people of Spring Valley have done so much for me. I want to give back. I want to make a difference in the world, and what better way to make a difference than in my community.

Chuck Hansen

Did not return questionnaire.

Paul Humpage

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. Water and sewer issues with the EPA.

2. Making improvements to attract new businesses.

3. Improvements to streets and sidewalks.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? To have the council working together.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? Having somebody to represent the taxpayer and use some common sense.

Fred West

Did not return questionnaire.

Edward Zeglis

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town? Town infrastructure dealing with roads, sewers, police, fire and government officials. Economic development to build an economic base for taxes to offset the cost of city needs and to less burden the taxpayers. To fill empty downtown buildings with shops to offer the people of Spring Valley a chance to keep money local. Bring in industry to our industrial park that will give people an opportunity for a local job and keep monies spent right here in our backyard. We need a school system second to none; the most important part of that is to make sure we have teachers that are up to the job and safe schools. I want to see police in our schools. it’s a great way build a bridge with children/young adults; it will help keep drugs out of our schools/community. Building of schools when funding supported by economic and industrial development will lend a hand in the financial responsibility.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? Better inter working within the city government. Good communication and delivery of the people to the government. Quick action, response, regardless of outcome.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I have a deep history in Spring Valley. I am a servant to the community, the people and the city and have no self-serving interests.

Ward 3

1 seat available

Mark Actis

Experience: United Parcel Service driver for 32 years; past president and current secretary/treasurer of the Spring Valley Walleye Club.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. A major issue in Spring Valley right now is the upgrading of the city’s sewage treatment plant. This is a project that needs to be continuously worked on in the coming years. Planning needs to be ongoing and completed in the most cost-effective ways possible. Vigilance will be needed in searching for grants that will limit expense to citizens.

2. An expansion of repair and replacement of local streets and alleys greatly benefit Spring Valley and its citizens. Cleaning up the appearance of our town is important in attracting families and potential businesses.

3. While Spring Valley has a sidewalk program that allows for reimbursement of the cost of concrete when private citizens replace their sidewalks, this is not enough. A well-organized plan budgeted properly will allow for more rapid replacement of residential sidewalks at no cost to homeowners. This will be one more step in making Spring Valley safer and more attractive.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? The one thing I would most like to accomplish is the development and implementation of a residential sidewalk replacement program in the very near future with no cost to taxpayers. Many sidewalks in residential areas are broken up and in disrepair. Safety and proper maintenance of city property are major factors for this program.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I hope voters cast their ballots for me in this election because I am very willing to work with the mayor and aldermen and will always make decisions based on what is best for the citizens of Spring Valley. I am open-minded, and I know how important it is to listen to the concerns of the people in making Spring Valley a better place in which to live.

Joe Piacenti

Experience: I served on the Ladd Village Board. I served on the Tobler Credit Union Board. I am the weekend operations manager for Purdy Brothers Trucking Co. There are two people from Tennessee, one person from Virginia and myself who run the operations of the company from Friday through Sunday.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. To get the sewer and the sewer treatment plant in compliance with the state.

2. Improve the sidewalks and the streets in the city.

3. Try to promote new commercial and industrial growth.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? To make Spring Valley a better place to live for all the residents and a better environment for business.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? My father was an elected official for almost 50 years on the Bureau County Board and the Ladd Village Board, and he taught me two things: If you become an elected official, you must first be a great listener — you need to listen to what the people want and need before you make any decisions. You also represent everyone — the voters, the non-voters, the elderly and the children, and it is your responsibility to make the right decisions to better serve their lives.

Ward 4

1 seat available

Ken Bogacz

Experience: I have not previously held an elected public office position. For the past six years I have attended all Spring Valley City Council and committee meetings. I am a graduate of UW-Platteville with a BS in industrial engineering and an MA in industrial technology. I have been employed by a local manufacturer for the past 24 years. I have worked in an engineering capacity, and I am an environmental, health and safety manager. Some of my work experiences include:

• Project management.

• EPA permitting and regulatory compliance.

• OSHA (Department of Labor) regulatory compliance.

• Health and safety training and project improvements.

• Energy conservation and recycling projects.

• Certified wastewater treatment works operator.

• Medical First Responder.

• LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) Bureau County member.

• Hazardous waste operations verification (EPA and DOT).  

From my education, work experience, volunteer work and regular meeting attendance, I am knowledgeable and experienced in the issues facing the city.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. The Long Range Control Plan is a requirement of the city’s NPDES permit which is past due to the IEPA. We not only need to work with the EPA to meet the legal requirements, we need to put a system in place that we maintain going forward.

2. The waste water treatment plant has a number of EPA violations which the city is currently working on to resolve. These are not simple fixes; major changes are needed to get into compliance. Fixes include lagoon sludge removal and a major facilities renovation or possibly a new facility.

3. The city does have a budget, but we need to be more concerned with spending. We not only need to control costs on large projects, but we also need to control spending on everyday expenses. Wasteful spending does exist, and we need to minimize fees, rates and taxes citizens have to pay.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? Initially, I would like to see the Long Range Control Plan successfully implemented. Our sewer system has been neglected for too many years, and too many residents have been adversely affected due to that neglect, including myself. I have had property damage and have also had my basement flood twice. We need a plan which is proactive instead of reactive or just fixing it when something goes wrong.

Other than that specific issue, we must do more planning, I believe we share a common goal of seeing the city grow and prosper. But how do we get there? We need to have a vision and a plan for those goals, and then we need to follow through with those plans.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? As alderman, I will be a representative for all residents, not special interests. I am knowledgeable and have experience in many of the issues the city is currently facing and will be facing in the future. In addition, I research issues and will get your input on issues. I will be working for you to ensure your voice will be heard. I will be working with the mayor and aldermen on a plan and a vision for Spring Valley.

Julia Mautino Messina

Experience: I was raised in Spring Valley, and I understand it. My family has been in business here for over 100 years, and we have been actively involved in the political and civic life for five generations. I’ve served on local and international boards in leadership positions, and I’ve helped to build businesses (my own and other people’s). My strength lies in identifying issues that need to be addressed then carrying out the work to cooperatively resolve those issues.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. Business — Encourage new businesses to locate in Spring Valley, particularly outdoor sports-related businesses that attract tourism dollars.

2. Education — Emphasize providing practical instruction in useful subjects that will give our students a leg up on the job market: Accounting software so that they can learn how to run a business and do taxes; graphics and CAD/technical programs so that they can learn to design websites and go into business for themselves or work in technical fields; provide skilled trades training for high school students who are not interested in pursuing college degrees.

3. Infrastructure — Maintain safe roads, sidewalks, water and sewer systems.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? A three-pronged approach to economic revitalization that will improve the aesthetics of the town and provide an opportunity for outdoor sports enthusiasts and creative people to showcase and develop their talent, so that people will be more inclined to spend their time and money in the Valley.

• Ask property owners and businesses to clean up their properties, improve their facades and get everything up to code, so that they can rent their storefronts at reasonable rates to new businesses and grow the sales tax base.

• Use the downtown mini-park as a showcase for local talent: Musicians, writers, actors, artists, filmmakers.

• Develop and market our outdoor sports features (Echo Bluff, the riverfront and Miners’ Park) to build a strong outdoor sports tourism base.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? Because my vision for Spring Valley comes with a doable plan. It combines the traditional features of identifying strengths and weaknesses; assessing ways to address our weaknesses by playing to our strengths; then laying out a detailed plan and seeing it through to completion by working cooperatively with local businesses, associations and state agencies.

Dave Pellegrini

Experience: Twenty-two years of business management and eight years as owner/operator of D&M Landscaping & Excavating, LLC. Some of my experience includes multi-million dollar budgeting, overseeing a number of capital and municipal projects, safety, quality control, environmental expertise and leadership.

What do you see as the three most pressing issues facing your town?

1. Responsible budgeting: Unnecessary spending must be eliminated. Fiscal accountability must be at the forefront of the governmental decision-making process. Our tax dollars need to be allocated for the needed repairs and improvements to our aging infrastructure. We must earmark what money we have on attaining stability and growth for our community ... and protect our property values.

2. Jobs/business: We need to create new jobs. The city is a member of IVAC and has employed an economic development director for several years. In addition to working directly with these two entities, I will also consult the various local, state and federal agencies which assist city government officials and assist job-seekers.

3. Maintaining infrastructure: We are in need of preventative maintenance programs for our water/sewer systems. We also need to maintain our streets, alleys and municipal street signs. The people of Spring Valley are tired of increased water/sewer rates. I am a firm believer in preventative maintenance programs.

If elected, what one thing would you most like to accomplish? A more cohesive council working closely with the mayor to accomplish a long-term plan and vision for our city!

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? I am driven, dedicated, family-oriented, and a person of integrity. I was a successful leader/manager for a large global corporation for 18 years. I worked for a large local employer as a manager for four years. I began my own business eight years ago and have successfully built it from the ground up.

I have substantial experience in creating/implementing policies/procedures to promote a coherent decision-making process, developing budgets with attainable goals, managing large capital projects, and collaborated with numerous clients to meet their individual needs. I have extensive knowledge with water/sewer systems and have been personally involved with the construction industry for many years. I feel I have developed the essential skills and experience necessary to steer our city government in the right direction.

I have been attending city council meetings since early November 2012 and communicate regularly with the current city government. If elected, my goal is to engage the city with great energy, involvement and competence!

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