2013 Elsberry Electees promise change

Now that the elections are over, residents are ready to see what changes these men and women are going to bring to the small city of Elsberry.

Re-elected Ward II Alderman, Rusty Kinion has always been a big advocate on city ordinances, something he said he would like to see enforced even more.

“We need to clean up our community and our properties,” explained Kinion. “I would also like to see our wastewater improvement project under construction if not finished during this next term, as well as see the Lakeview water and sewer projects complete.”

One thing Kinion said he promises to do is what he has done during his last two-year term, continue to try and make well-informed decisions that will benefit the town.

“I also want to thank everyone who voted for me,” said Kinion. “I promise to keep doing what is needed to better our community.”

Another person eager for change is newly elected Alderman for Ward I Terrie Harper, who served one term several years ago and is itching to get back in the mix.

“There are a lot of things we need to do in this community to fix it up,” explained Harper. “My priorities might be different than some of the other Alderman, I don’t know, but what I’m interested in are more of the smaller things we need to handle as a community. Not saying finances aren’t important, but at the end of the day, I would love to see this town cleaned up.”

Harper went on to say how she was reminded that if a person or a town isn’t moving forward, they’re going backward, there is no way to be stagnant.

“I love Elsberry, I have been here my entire life. I love the people and I have been blessed to be able to work here for all these years, but it just seems as though we aren’t improving,” said Harper. “I mean we have Page Branch Park, which is really nice, but if you drive up Fifth Street or a lot of our streets, they are just horrible. Even the sidewalks are bad and looking like this, we will have a hard time bringing in anything new.”

Harper explained she doesn’t have any other agenda, other than doing what is best for Elsberry. According to her, if the small things aren’t taken care of or made just as much of a priority as the big things, then the small will become big and nothing changes.

“I do want to thank everyone who voted for me and just like many of the other city council members, I want to see us grow and prosper,” said Harper. “I am willing to do whatever it takes and be on whatever committee they need me on to make the changes I believe we desperately need.”

Replacing the vocal Alderman Bob Kindred, Ward III, who decided not to run again, is Mike Talbot, who won with 29 write in votes. According to him, he wasn’t surprised on how the election turned out, knowing Kindred wasn’t interested in running again.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and over the last 30-40 years I have done my share of complaining but I thought to myself that it may be time to actually put up or shut up,” said Talbot. “However, the first thing I want to point out is I don’t have an agenda, I don’t have any ill will towards anybody, I just want to see change in our community. I would love to see it back to what it once was, thriving businesses, shopping and active.”

One of the big things Talbot went on to say he would like to see done, is new business, since that would open up new jobs and more taxes. Another is seeing improvements made to the city streets.

“I will say one of the other things I think needs to be addressed is cleaning up some of our lower income housing,” said Talbot. “Not tore down, just spruced up, cleaned, painted, something, because I think it will be hard to attract new business when the town is in the shape it’s in.”

Another advocate of change is Elsberry City Collector Rachel Heitman-Reed, who took over her position following the resignation of 2012 electee Gilbert Rimel.

“I would like to thank the community for their continued support and I will continue to do my best to serve the community,” said Reed.

One of the big changes Reed would like to see during her one-year term is how the city holds landlords responsible for tenants’ water bills.

“As the ordinance reads right now, the landlord is responsible for 90-day’s of water,” explained Reed. “I would like to change this so that the landlord is still responsible but if the tenant comeback to pay the bill, they will have to pay the bill in full and we will refund the landlord for the 90-day’s.”

Although Reed said she would like to see several other changes made, this is her biggest one at the moment and hopes to see come to light before next election.

However, it’s not just City officials and City employees that want to stress change, it is also the Elsberry R-II School Board. Re-elected Board Member Alan Lagemann said he is extremely anxious to move forward with the projects made available with the passing of the Prop 2 Bond Issue.

“I believe this will be a big benefit to our students and teachers and will only enhance their learning and teaching capabilities,” said Lagemann. “However, keeping up with technology will once again be a challenge for the district as we face another dismal budget.”

Lagemann went on to explain how the school will continue to replace computers and other technical components as necessary for the students through fundraisers and technology grants.

“Personnel wise, we have several positions to fill this coming year and our Superintendent and Principals do an outstanding job seeking out the best possible candidates to fill these vacancies,” said Lagemann. “Add these to our already excellent staff of teachers, aides, cooks, janitors, maintenance, bus drivers, secretaries and everyone else that makes the school function smoothly, our duties as board members is made easier.”

Other residents elected into positions were Elsberry School Board Member Mike Bange and Special Road District Commissioner Jackie Briscoe. Unfortunately, neither one were available for comment.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:14 am