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home : news : news   May 24, 2016

4/4/2013 6:05:00 AM
Six run for the 2nd Ward Spring Valley alderman seat

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Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
NewsTribune Reporter

The 2nd Ward alderman race in Spring Valley has six candidates running, including Chuck Hansen, incumbent, Jeff Chiaventone, Edward Zeglis, Jill Lee Emerson, Paul Humpage and Frederick West.

Jeff Chiaventone has worked for the water department for 32 years and believes he can use that experience to get involved and offer ideas to the council.
He also was involved with contract negotiations and financial issues through the water treatment plant union. He wants to learn more about where the money is going and why.
He said, in the past, the city has allowed projects to pile up without fixing problems and now they are all hitting at once. He said the city needs to find the money to fix it. He couldn’t say how but wants it to get done.
“When things happen you can’t let it go on,” Chiaventone said.
Chiaventone said the city council needs to have more open communication with citizens and better explain situations and projects. He wants to listen to taxpayers and get their suggestions and be open to opinions and not just what he wants.
As an example, Chiaventone said if the citizen complained about not having their street repaired, he would listen and maybe show them why the council chose another street.
“Sometimes I think my street is bad but then another may be worse,” he said.
Chiaventone said he also would want to see the main street built up more with small businesses and would really like to get a hardware store in town. He would also like to see more done with the parks around town by creating and advertising programs that showcase different activities like band concerts and performances.
Chiaventone said he also thinks the fire department is doing a great job and would like to see more of an effort to get the firefighters the equipment that they need.
He knows that the wastewater treatment plant and sewer system will be a big concern next year and believes he has the experience to help. Chiaventone said that changes to the reverse osmosis plant have been helpful in improving water quality but there still are 100-year-old water mains that will need to be replaced.
Chiaventone said his campaign is not about replacing the current alderman but wants to offer a different point of view to the council.

Incumbent Chuck Hansen says he is outspoken but always keeps Spring Valley in mind when he makes his decisions.
Hansen has served on the city council as an alderman for 20 years and as the chairman for the streets and alleys committee and only missed three council meetings during his terms.
“You can’t be a representative if you are not there,” said Hansen.
As the chairman of the streets and alleys committee, Hansen is involved with street and sidewalk repairs as well as street sign replacement through state Motor Fuel Tax funds. Hansen said the MFT fund is not enough to do all of the repairs and sign replacements needed for the city and wants to start a program to use some of the general fund to pay for the projects.
Hansen also wants more sidewalks to be replaced around town and suggests a program where the city pays for the concrete and the owners of the property pay for labor. He believes the city has paid for a few sidewalk replacements for political reasons, and he would like to see it based more on need.
In his time as alderman, Hansen said he has been involved in the development of the town and said he has helped to generate new businesses relocating to Spring Valley. Hansen said he works with the other members of the council to provide for the needs of citizens.
Hansen said the biggest thing facing the city next year is meeting the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations for the sewers and wastewater treatment plant. Hansen supported the decision to extend the city’s water and sewer east to St. Bede Academy and north to Interstate 80 because it provides more development opportunities.
Hansen also would like to see something done about parking issues at the Spring Valley high-rise and Hall High School. He wants to build a parking lot for the high-rise across the street to the north to accommodate residents and visitor needs. He would like to get Hall High parking off the street and understands the need would be taken care of if the referendum for a new school passes.
Hansen said he should be re-elected because of his past experience and benefits he has brought to the city.
“I have always been there and anyone can call me,” Hansen said.

Edward Zeglis is a small business owner of L Z Resale and Consignment located in downtown Spring Valley and said he is running because of his three kids. Zeglis said he is a third generation Spring Valley resident and has been active in the community through different organizations and coaching sports.
He said he wants to get involved and help things run better in the city council in order to help citizens. Zeglis said he believes he could reach out to the community because of the relationships he has established.
“I know a lot of people and people know who I am,” said Zeglis.
Zeglis would like to be alderman in order to help bring businesses to town especially the downtown area. He said his experience of starting a small business downtown helped him to realize the difficulties and he would like to help people through that.
Zeglis said he noticed a difference in Spring Valley from when he was younger to today. He said it has become harder to make a living, but he would like to see the economy come back. Zeglis believes that change has started with recent efforts to redo buildings downtown and replacing sewers and fixing the water treatment plant.
Zeglis said if he was alderman he would listen to the cares and concerns of the people in his ward and try to see if there were things he could do to fix them. He recalled that a few years ago money was collected to paint the side of the building where his business is located but it was never done and wonders what happened to the money. Zeglis said he wants to look at the way things are getting done and try to make it easier for people to do what they want to do.
“I have the drive to go until the end,” Zeglis said.
Zeglis said a lot of new projects coming up will affect the city, including the construction of the new Route 89 river bridge and possibly two new schools being built if the referendum for a new Hall High School building passes. He said they will need to see how the plans for the new bridge will affect business. He also said he likes seeing the school system grow but understands it is a difficult time to ask people to pay more taxes.
Zeglis said he hopes to offer a new voice and new ideas to the city council.

Jill Lee Emerson moved to Spring Valley seven years ago to start her life over after the father of her children died of cancer and she went through a bad divorce with her last husband. She currently works at the Spring Valley McDonalds and enrolled at the Illinois Valley Community College for marketing.
She said it was a long road back but she had a lot of support from the community and loves the city. She said she saw many problems around town and wanted to get involved and attended a council meeting to discus ideas to fix a litter problem. Emerson said they did not take any action on her ideas and she did not feel respected.
She decided to run for city council and began to attend council meetings for the past four years. Emerson said that she would listen to what was going on and even do research at home after the meeting to understand the problems better.
“There is a lot to it. You have to be a team player and learn as you go,” said Emerson.
Emerson said the city needs a lot of infrastructure work because it has been letting problems go for a long time. She said she would like to see more business come to the downtown and see more done to make the town more attractive by fixing alleys, sewers and sidewalks to bring in businesses.
Emerson said there is a litter problem in the city and would like to see efforts to get the community involved in cleanup especially by younger kids. She believes starting a group for high school or grade school kids to help clean the community will create a sense of pride for the town and get them more involved in projects.
She also would like to see Spring Valley take steps into making the community more sustainable and said many communities are doing this.
Emerson said the town has a money issue which keeps them from completing projects and the city needs to add more businesses and tourism to fix the problem.
She said she has a lot of ideas to offer from all the things she has been learning and believes this is a challenge sent to her by God and would like to see it through.
“I’ve been dedicated for the last four years. I want to make a difference,” said Emerson.

Paul Humpage grew up in Spring Valley and moved back to the area about four years ago. He has worked as a painting contractor for his own business for 20 years.
Humpage said he is running because he believes they need to get some fresh blood on the city council. He said there are some issues coming up that need common sense and wants to see what he can do to help.
“I’d be going into a hornets’ nest. I know that,” Humpage said.
He would like to help balance budgets and said if they don’t have money for a project the council needs find were to get money in order to get things done. He knows there are a lot projects coming up that will need attention like sewer separation and repairs to the wastewater plant. Humpage said the high school and grade school are looking at new construction and might cause taxes to go up and if they need to raise taxes or utilities in other areas it might be hard on the citizens of Spring Valley and will need to look at where the money comes from.
Humpage said that he appreciates the efforts of the current city council and mayor and understands that they are not getting along so well.
“They are trying,” Humpage said.
Humpage believes he can offer a fresh perspective and new ideas to the council. He also said that he doesn’t think one man can do much change but he will try. He hasn’t followed too much of the current meetings and knows it will be a learning experience.

Frederick West was contacted several times for an interview. He did not respond to the NewsTribune inquires. West is the owner and operator of Happy’s Super Service Station in Spring Valley.

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