Candidates talk needs, revenue
MORRISON – The city has some real problems it needs to face, a mayoral candidate told a packed house of more than 100 people at Thursday's municipal candidates forum.
Everett Pannier, who is running for mayor in the April 9 municipal election, said there is a way to identify which streets are most in need of repair and find ways to fix them.
Several candidates spoke about the need to fix the roads and the lack of funds available for the repairs.
The city will is projected to have about $48,000 more in revenue than in expenses in the next fiscal year.
"One of the worst roads in town is in the first ward," said Dale Eizenga, who is running for alderman in that ward.
You can't do 25 mph on it. We have to do something about our roads. It's not a good thing for people to come in and see."
In the forum, hosted by the Morrison Chamber of Commerce, candidates were asked questions submitted by the community beforehand. Stephanie Vavra, of thecity1.com, moderated.
The three mayoral candidates in attendance were asked whether they would support allowing bars to serve alcohol on Sundays. Marti Wood, now and alderwoman, said she favors the idea, because the sales would bring in much-needed revenue.
Pannier and Sarah Thorndike, also an alderwoman, said they, too, support the idea; Pannier said he would not want sales to begin before noon.
The fourth mayoral candidate, David Jindrich, did not attend.
All aldermanic candidates present were asked what they would do to generate more revenue for the city.
Harvey Zuidema, who is running for Ward 2 alderman, said the city should campaign to be the place of residence for those who move to the area to work at Thomson Correctional Center.
"We have to fight for people to move to Morrison through the prison setup, if it ever comes," he said.
Curt Bender, who is running for Ward 3 alderman, said that the city should use its baseball diamonds "as a positive, so it can generate revenue," and that he would try to help businesses create jobs.
Candidates also were asked whether the city's general fund should subsidize the sports complex.
Nancy Riggen, also a Ward 2 candidate, said the city can subsidize it "to a limit," but she is not a supporter of the complex, which "seems like a money pit."
The city is paying $190,000 a year from its utility tax to pay off a $2 million bond for the complex. The bond will be paid off in 2021.
Scott Connelly, who is running unopposed in Ward 4 and who already serves as an appointee to an unexpired term, said the general fund should subsidize the complex.
"No ballparks, outside of major league ballparks, are self-sustaining," he said.
The city would have to impose exorbitant fees on nonprofit organizations that use the complex if it does not subsidize it, he said.
Bender said the city should pay for the complex, but "if it can generate more money, that's important."
Sarah Thorndike, Marti Wood, Everett Pannier, David Jindrich
Ward 1: Dale Eizenga, Cheryl Bush
Ward 2: Harvey Zuidema, Nancy Riggen
Ward 3: Curt Bender, Vern Tervelt
Ward 4: David Helms
Ward 4 (2-year unexpired term): Scott Connelly (i)
City Clerk: Melanie Schroeder (i)
i – incumbent