CENTERVILLE -- Six candidates are vying to fill two open city council spots. Each wants to use their personal experiences to help improve the city, especially when it comes to spending and budgets.
A primary election is set for Aug. 13 to narrow the field of candidates.
Tami Fillmore, a 40-year-old business owner, explained that with a combination of the economic recession and the UTOPIA bond obligation coming due, the city is falling behind on some required street maintenance and is feeling strapped in other areas of spending.
"We are a fiscally responsible city and have some of the lowest property taxes in the county," she said. "It is important to continue to be fiscally responsible and to invest in our city to keep its quality high."
Gary Roland Goff, a 58-year-old commercial relationship manager for Bank of the West, agrees that ensuring that the city stays fiscally responsible and maintains a balanced budget is important. He also wants to maintain control of the city's commitment to existing UTOPIA, so the city is not extending its risk and exposure out further than it already has.
Like other candidates, he feels his skills, specifically his experience in accounting, banking and finance, would help him understand the requirements to be fiscally responsible and maintain a balanced budget.
"I am risk averse in my personal and professional financial life," he said.
George McEwan, a 43-year-old system administrator, agreed that finances are an issue and said the primary problem with UTOPIA is that there are not enough subscribers; therefore, there is no way to pay off the debts except with higher taxes. However, higher taxes are not something he is advocating. Instead, he said, he wants to use his expertise to do a top-down operational review.
"We need to look seriously at whether we even continue in that organization," he said. "Can we carry our debt or buy out our infrastructure?
"What we have done has not been a success. We need to try something new. I do not have all the answers, but I can find people who do."
For other candidates, like Kevin Daly, finances are important.
Daly, a 34-year-old banker, said he has a solid financial experience that would be a boon. He said this experience would allow the city to maintain the small-town charm and high quality of life that is enjoyed now.
"I hope to find opportunities to grow city revenues without any additional burden to the residents," Daly said.
At the forefront of issues he sees is the balancing act of revenues and expenditures.
"Centerville has managed to come through the recession without any major challenges," he said. "There have been tough decisions to make, but overall, the city has fared pretty well. I plan to continue that track record of responsible government and effective management of resources."
Stephanie McIntyre-Ivie, a 42-year-old homemaker with political experience in local precinct caucuses, said her experience of attending meetings regularly and her own personal financial background will help her help the city.
McIntyre-Ivie said she wants residential input to be considered, expenditures to better match available funds and a full review of ordinances to eliminate negative side-effects.
"I have experience handling tight budgets in a family and can look for ways to trim expenses without cutting essentials," she said. "I am good at spotting unintended results, which can help craft better ordinances."
Like other candidates, Jack Dellastatious feels that monitoring the city's commitment to UTOPIA is important, along with such other items as updating the west side neighborhood plan, maintaining a family-oriented quality of life and promoting historic preservation of Old Town Site.
Dellastatious said his leadership experience, maturity in decision-making and depth and diversity in community involvement differentiates him from the other candidates.
Each candidate feels his or her unique skills will help improve the city.