Aldermanic candidates concerned about streets, finances
Council guaranteed to have some new faces
MORRISON – The City Council will have turnover in half of its seats regardless of Tuesday's election results.
That's because four council incumbents are not seeking re-election: Ward 1’s Guy Hayenga, 77; Ward 3’s Pat Zuidema, 73; Ward 4’s David Rose; and Sarah Thorndike, in Ward 2, who is running for mayor.
Four council seats, including Marti Wood’s Ward 3 post, will be on the ballot in 2015. If she is elected mayor in April, a successor will be named to complete her council term.
In Wards 1, 2 and 3, two people are vying for each seat. In Ward 1, Dale Eizenga, 64, and Cheryl Bush, 50, are competing for votes. Nancy Riggen, 56, and Harvey Zuidema, 73, are facing off in Ward 2. And Curt Bender and Vernon Tervelt are opposing each other in Ward 3.
What has encouraged them to run?
All but Bush said streets are a major concern in the city. More than 80 percent of the city’s roads are cracking and getting to the “alligator skin” stage, where the cracks interlock, City Administrator Jim Wise said in January.
In February, Wise told council members the city needs $7 million for street repairs that it does not have.
"The people of Morrison would like repaving," Zuidema said. "A lot of people complained about the sealcoat job in 2008 or so. [Streets are] kind of just deteriorating."
Main Street, which is used for the annual Paint the Town event, is one street that needs repairs, Bender said.
"They are awful," Riggen said of the streets.
But the city's handling of its money is also a concern, several candidates said.
Riggen said it seems that the city is "going a little crazy hiring [full-time] people" when the economy is rough, and the sports complex is going to have to support itself at some point. The complex would have generated more revenue year round if it had been built to accommodate more than baseball, she said.
The sports complex is costing the city of Morrison a substantial amount of money, Tervelt said, adding that the city must support it, though, because it's a "great asset."
The city is paying $190,000 a year from its utility tax to pay off a $2 million bond for the complex. That bond will be paid off in 2021.
The city must generate income from concessions and the hosting of sporting events, Tervelt said.
A need for more revenue is the biggest problem facing Morrison, and the city must be creative to solve it, Bender said. He suggested that the city consider TIF districts and possibly annexing outlying subdivisions.
Zuidema believes that the city would benefit financially from employees of Thomson Correctional Center moving to the city, if the prison opens, he said.
Bender is vice president and survey manager for Willett, Hofmann & Associates, a Dixon-based engineering firm.
He said he couldn't understand why estimates for the new wastewater treatment plant have been as high as they have been, recently reaching $21 million for a site south of Waterworks Park.
"I'm having a real hard time as a taxpayer wrapping my head around this cost," he said. "What is this going to cost the user? We haven't got an answer, but we're probably looking at $160 to $170 a month for water and sewer rates combined."
Bush said one major problem facing the city is the decision of where to put the new plant.
"I just want it to be in the best location where it fits for everybody, the best place," she said.
Riggen, Zuidema, Bender and Tervelt all said they would support allowing bars to sell liquor on Sundays, with some of them saying the change would bring in revenue for the city. Bush declined to comment on the issue.
Ward 4’s Alderman Scott Connelly, 40, is the only incumbent running. He was appointed to serve through the election after Ron Kallemeyn resigned in August. Connelly will serve the 2 years remaining in Kallemeyn’s term.
David Helms, 68, is running unopposed for the 4-year Ward 4 seat.
Education: Morrison High School, 1957
Occupation: Lifelong farmer; also sold seed corn for 29 years
Family: wife, Karen Zuidema; children, Carmen Church, 50, rural Morrison, Todd Zuidema, Morrison, Dean Zuidema, Sterling, Myron Zuidema, Morrison; and seven grandchildren
Family: wife, Nola Tervelt; five daughters, Sonja Samke of Naples, Fla., Stephanie Hartman of Stratford, Texas, Shellie Parenson of Palos Verdes, Calif., Sheila Ostenryk of Savanna, Sara Young of Morrison
Education: Morrison High School, 1961; attended Parsons College, Fairfield, Iowa, 1961-1962
Occupation: Retired; worked for F.W. Woolworth as assistant manager and manager, 1963-72; worked as a sales representative for several companies until retirement a year and a half ago
Family: wife, Corinne Bender; daughters, Marta Bender, 20, attends Southern Illinois University, and Lydia Bender, 14, freshman at Morrison High School
Education: Freeport High School, 1976
Experience: Artillery land surveyor for the Army, 1976-1979; working for land surveying firms since 1979, received a professional surveyor's license in 2007
Government experience: Served on planning and zoning board for the city of Morrison for about a year; served on ad hoc committee for leaf burning for the city in 2012
Family: Children, Michelle Bos, 23, Bill Bos, 19, both of Morrison
Education: Morrison High School, 1975; attended Sauk Valley Community College, 1996-97 and 1995-96; attended American Institute of Commerce business school for court reporting, Davenport, Iowa, in early 1980s
Experience: Administrative assistant to the Whiteside County sheriff for past 22 years
Family: wife, Deborah Eizenga; children, Heather Bush, 40, Morrison, Kelli Thompson, 38, Chicago, Brandi Dykstra, 35, Bettendorf, Iowa.; and four grandchildren.
Education: Fulton High School, 1966; attended Sauk Valley Community College 1971-72
Experience: Laboratory technician at 3M Quality Lab, Cordova, 1993-2010; machinist for Caterpillar Inc., 1980-1984; worked in accounting department at Frantz Manufacturing, 1973-80; medic and data processor in Army 1969-70; machinist at Drives Inc., Fulton, 1966-69; owns a tax preparation business, 1984-1997 and presently
Family: Daughter and son (declined to provide names or ages)
Education: Morrison High School, 1981
Experience: Whiteside County dispatcher, 2001 to present; beauty consultant at Merle Norman in Sterling for past 5 years; Whiteside County administrator's office, 1997-98; Whiteside County records office, 1998-2001; bookkeeper at Smith Trust and Savings in Morrison for 2 years