The lone competitive race in the city of La Salle this year is in the city's Ward 2.
Incumbent Tom Ptak faces a challenge from political newcomer Delbert Baker.
Delbert Baker is running for 2nd ward alderman in La Salle against incumbent Tom Ptak. Baker spent 40 years in the construction business in both highway and residential and in mining. He grew up in La Salle and attended La Salle-Peru Township High School and said he does not want to see his hometown go down the drain.
“There is a lot here that can be developed,” said Baker.
He said now is the time for residents to take back their town, state, and government and do something before it is too late. Baker said the last six to seven years have been about change and the citizens need to make that happen or in a few years they won’t have a say anymore.
Baker said there are four big issues he thinks need t be fixed in La Salle which are the L-P High School sports complex, the sewage treatment plant, the city’s requirements for fixing up old homes, and school safety.
Baker does agree with the city giving money to L-P to build a sports complex. He said the rotary club is building a park and does not think it was good decision to invest in the sports complex at L-P. He said with the economy the way it is the money could go to better use.
He also wants to see why the city keeps investing money into the sewage treatment plant and it has little positive results. Baker said it is time to stop spending money if we don’t have it.
Baker also said the city has high requirements in fixing up old homes. He recently purchased a home that the city would have bought and demolished, but Baker decided to fix it up. He said the city keeps bugging him about his changes and has heard that others with limited income have experienced the same treatment.
The fourth thing Baker would like to see changed is more preparation done by the city to safe guard schools. He understands the school must make the decision on how the process will be handled but wants to reach out to them to develop a plan because the local police will need to respond.
Baker said it is about holding the city accountable for the way they are spending taxpayers’ money. He feels the city may be using it in the wrong way when they could be applied to more useful things.
“Do we need to spend the money on it?” is the question Baker feels the council should ask themselves.
Tom Ptak is the incumbent for the 2nd ward alderman in La Salle and is running against one challenger. Ptak said he is seeking his third term as alderman because he wants to continue to help make the best choices for the city. He currently lives three blocks from the place he grew up and believes in keeping the place you live a good place.
Ptak said he doesn’t believe in making promises but wants to do what is right for the city. He believes the current mayor and city council is doing a good job and wants to be apart of it. He knows every city struggles with money and wants to make sure the city is making the right decision.
Ptak operates two different businesses; one with his wife, Studio 718 Hair Salon in La Salle, and one with his brother, Ptak Funeral Home in Peru. He was also the past president of both the YMCA in La Salle and Citizens Service Organization in Peru and chairman of the Taste of Illinois Valley for 10 years and co-chairman of the Peru fireworks. Ptak said that this shows he has years of service in both leadership positions and organizing events.
One of the biggest things that Ptak said La Salle will face next year is the infrastructures around town will continue to be updated. Ptak said the city has spent about $1 million on repairing streets and alleys but they will need to do more.
He said people are always happy when this is done but added, “there is a lot more behind the scenes.”
Ptak commented that La Salle has a unique downtown because U.S. 6 does not run through it. So, the council needs to find ways to direct traffic and interest to that area. He agrees that the economic development director is a good idea because he is the face of the city that businesses can talk to when they are interested in coming to town and said the current director, Don Aleksy, is doing a good job.
Ptak also said he was glad people have been restoring their store fronts downtown and the city is tearing down some eye sores around town.
“No one likes living next to an abandoned building,” said Ptak.
Ptak was also very proud of his involvement in initiating a program to open up free parking lots in the downtown area thus lessening the parking congestion.
Ptak said he will continue to work at bettering the city if re-elected.