Spring 2014 Election

Incumbents, newcomer win Janesville City Council seats

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Marcia Nelesen
Tuesday, April 1, 2014

JANESVILLE—Janesville City Council incumbents Jim Farrell and Matt Kealy said they are heartened by their wins in Tuesday’s election because that means the public is happy with the jobs they are doing.

Newcomer Mark Bobzien said he looks forward to learning as much as he can to be an effective council member.

The council members predicted street maintenance, riverfront development and the new fire station would be important issues in the near future.

Farrell said he was gratified to be the top vote-getter because it means residents have “recognized the fact that I have really given my all, and I take it very seriously and put a lot of time and effort into it.”

Among his goals is to “elevate” the budget process by soliciting more information from department heads. He also wants to increase and expedite street maintenance.

 “I think we’ve got a lot of opportunities in the next few years as far as economic development and our streets and (building) the fire station,” he said.

Kealy also took his win as vindication for the emphasis he puts on watching spending.

“Clearly, the voters have spoken,” he said. “My win shows the average voter respects that I am out watching how their dollars are used and that they are used wisely.

“Having the restaurant, I probably have the opportunity to see the general public more than most,” said Kealy, who owns the Sizzlin’ Grill and Kealy’s Kafé. “And they are at the point where they want us to make good fiscal decisions.”

He said he is ready to work on accelerating street maintenance and figuring out how to pay for it.

 “We won’t have the general operation (funds) to pay for it, so we’ll have to borrow, tax or charge a fee, which is untraditional,” Kealy said. “We’re going to have a tough budget year, no doubt about it.”

Staff, for instance, will ask for more money to cover snow plowing.

“We’re going to have to tighten our belts or use savings,” Kealy said. “I hope we tighten our belts and look for money in the organization.”

Bobzien said he went door to door when he campaigned and enjoyed meeting people and hearing their concerns.

 “Obviously, people liked what I said at forums and (in) the newspaper, so, in that regard, I’m pleased,” Bobzien said. “I’m happy that people thought that of me, and that’s kind of humbling, in a way.”

Bobzien said he received good advice when he decided to run for the council: “Just be yourself, and you’ll do fine,” he recalled. “Be honest and forthright as possible.”

Bobzien said he realized just how much he needs to learn as the campaign went on, and he appreciates that.

He is looking foward to working on downtown redevelopment, saying it would “behoove the city government to take a lead on that.”

Bobzien said he would also put emphasis on economic development.

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