Delavan City Council candidates call finances, industrial park key issues

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Catherine W. Idzerda
Friday, February 15, 2013

— Three Delavan residents with deep ties to the community are running for city council in District 2.

Ron Grair, Samuel Riggs III, Christopher Phillips are competing for two spots on the spring ballot. The primary will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Phillips said he is pleased to see the city pursuing more conservative fiscal policies, but he would like to see more done.

"Last time I ran for office the big issue was the budget," Phillips said. "We're starting to get more on track, but I still think we can use our time and resources more wisely."

He also thinks department heads are in the best position to consider where to make cuts.

Grair said he is concerned about finances, too.

"There are a lot of big issues facing the city, and a lot of them have to do with money," Grair said. "Everybody is feeling the pinch."

The number of houses standing empty is a sign of those struggles, he said.

"People are struggling to find money to pay taxes," he said.

Grair admits he doesn't have a "silver bullet" to fix all of the city's tax and economic issues, but he said he'd study the issues and try to bring some fresh perspective to the council.

Phillips agrees that fresh perspective is needed. He thinks "Delavan is headed in the right direction," and now is the time to capitalize on that momentum.

"I don't want to be a lifer (on the council)," he said. "I think we need to get a couple of new people in there. If we have the same people, we'll get the same results over and over."

Phillips is especially interested in downtown and the second phases of the industrial park. He thinks his real estate experience would be helpful.

"I think there's a better way than just putting a sign in the ground," he said of the industrial park.

"We have to advertise. We have to say, 'and this is what we have to offer.'"

Both Grair and Phillips said they're committed to helping downtown Delavan flourish.

Phillips wants to see the city formulate a plan and actively pursue it.

Grair is concerned about the tax incremental financing district that was put in place in the downtown area.

TIF districts can be helpful for development, but they also deprive other taxing entities of funding.

"Somebody's got to have the money, and right now in this economy, it's hard," Grair said.

Riggs did not respond to an email request for comments on issues.

Last updated: 8:10 am Monday, April 29, 2013

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