2/27/2013 11:36:00 AM Who are those three guys running for Spring Valley mayor?
Editor’s note: Candidates Walt Marini and Jack Narczewski were interviewed in the NewsTribune office in La Salle, and candidate Cliff Banks was interviewed in the council chambers at Spring Valley City Hall with Tom Tonozzi present.
Spring Valley voters have a lot to consider this year, with two referendums, aldermanic races and a three-way mayoral race. Jack Narczewski and Walt Marini are on the ballot along with incumbent Cliff Banks.
* Cliff Banks said he is seeking re-election because he wants to continue the programs he started as mayor. He says the city’s infrastructure is in need of repair and the city currently is working toward a solution to update the town without costing the taxpayers too much money. Banks said that his 30 years of experience as a construction supervisor prepared him well for his position as mayor and that he learned how to work with people to get things done for the city. He has been a resident of Spring Valley for 19 years and has passion for outdoor activity. Banks said when he became mayor four years ago the economy was struggling and so was Spring Valley. He wondered where the city was putting its money and wanted to get involved. He said a lot of issues were transferred onto his shoulders from the previous city council. “I have broad shoulders, so I don’t mind,” Banks said. After his first term in office, Banks said he can see improvements, including getting grants to improve the downtown and to repair water and sewer pipes and interceptors. Banks said he learned to work with people instead of telling them what to do in order to get deals going such as working with owners in the downtown area. He knows progress has been slow downtown but wants to continue to bring in new business. Banks said he is a mayor for the people and likes to give back to the town by donating half his wages each year for city projects and to local organizations. Banks said he would like to see more sidewalks replaced in the future, and he has worked hard to repair several around the city. He also opposed the purchase of the Bassick property by the city because of concern about future financial burden from environmental risks. Banks said the biggest issue the citizens will face this year is the replacement and repair of sewers and equipment at the wastewater treatment plant. He said he is working to find a solution to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations and to update the sewer and water systems without raising rates too much on citizens. “It’s gonna be hard on people,” said Banks. “I will work hard to cut costs but have a good plant.” Banks outlined more achievements and future goals for the town in his pamphlet for re-election.
* Jack Narczewski has served as an alderman for the 3rd ward for two years after a career in law enforcement. He is the brother of former mayor Jim Narczewski. He has been a lifelong resident and served in the Air Force and National Guard. Narczewski said he decided to run for mayor after people approached him to do so because of a lack of communication in the city council. He said he would like the chance to improve it. He said he gets along with the other council members and would like to be an olive branch for the opposing sides. Besides being an alderman, Narczewski served as Bureau County sheriff for 10 years which helped him gain experience managing the budget and maintaining the courthouse and city jail. Narczewski said his best trait is honesty, and even if you do not agree with his point-of-view, he will listen to both sides. “There will be a lot of things hitting us at once,” Narczewski said about the multiple projects the city will have to deal with in the coming year that may cost over a million dollars each. He said the biggest project will be the wastewater plant and sewer replacement projects. Narczewski said the projects had been slowly dealt with over the years, allowing the problems to build up, and now they need to be in the forefront. He added that the utility rates will increase. “We will try to keep it to a minimum, but it will go up,” Narczewski said. The city will need to make decisions to replace or repair the sewer system and interceptors as well as equipment in the wastewater treatment plant to meet EPA regulations. The city started by separating sanitary sewer and storm sewer lines through parts of the city, but Narczewski said they need to do more to solve the issue. Narczewski said he also wants to see a fresher look to the road and street signs around town and better promote the city. He is proud of the town’s sporting heritage but knows there is more to Spring Valley than that. He is also happy with the job the city economic director, Debb Ladgenski, has done with bringing business to town, especially downtown. He said a lot of the buildings were 100 years old and left to rot, but the city is starting to turn that around. Narczewski said he loves Spring Valley and it will be his home for life.
* Walt Marini has been a 3rd ward alderman in Spring Valley for 12 years and previously served as the chairman of the finance committee. He is a retired Army veteran and has been a resident of Spring Valley for 40 years. He said he wants to show taxpayers that the city can live within its means. Marini said he gained his experience for the mayor position through being a supervisor at Hennepin Power Station for Illinois Power. There he learned to supervise and work with people. He said he also was involved in many areas of government as an alderman and helped to set up Spring Valley’s Tax Increment Financing district, negotiating payments for the TIF, and talking with developers. Marini said he would like to establish a sidewalk repair plan like the current street repair program, where the aldermen go through their wards and suggest sidewalks that need repair. Marini also wants to work on parks and bringing in tourism. He also would like to develop and enforce building codes for the downtown area and work with the Illinois Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and the city economic director to bring in more commercial and light industrial jobs. He said the need for jobs is a big issue. “The city has been hurt by the current economy,” Marini said. Marini also wants to start communication with citizens by having defined office hours and using the Internet and social media to inform them about what is going on. He said he wants to reach out to elected officials to develop better relationships. He believes a major issue in Spring Valley is improving the wastewater treatment plant in order to meet EPA regulations. Marini wants to look at all the options available and to pick the one that has the least amount of impact on taxpayers. Marini said he wants to change people’s point-of-view of the local city government because most people do not take it seriously. “When we make a decision, it has an impact on every citizen,” Marini said. He believes that an increase in communication will make more people gain awareness of what is going on and get them involved. Marini said he believes he should be the next mayor because he is very qualified for the position. Marini has more information listed on his website www.waltmarini.com.
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