There is only one candidate running for the second ward seat on Urbana’s city council: incumbent Republican Cledis M. Scott. The Urbana Daily Citizen sent questions to all candidates to better inform readers of their positions prior to the Nov. 5 election. The responses are in their words, unless otherwise noted.
I was born and raised in Urbana and have lived most of my life in our fair city. My wife Becky and I have been married 41 years and have a fantastic daughter Meghann, who resides with her husband and three children in Urbana. I am a retired concrete contractor, a job that allowed me to meet and work with many of the City’s department heads, which is a valuable asset. I am a past president of the Urbana Lions Club and have enjoyed that camaraderie for more than 20 years. My hobbies are golf, fishing and woodworking. The past four years on City Council have been a great experience, and I look forward to continuing my education with my fellow Councilmen, administration, and citizens.
What should be done about the persistent revenue problems? Higher taxes, lower expenses or both? What would you propose to cut?
No one I know of likes tax increases and people do not want to lose services which would be the case in lowering expenses. Three times a tax increase has been voted down, so the people have spoken. I think our administration has done a remarkable job managing our finances with the funds that they have. There is no free lunch, services have to be paid for or cut.
What would be the ideal way for the city to pay for curb and gutter repair prior to street resurfacing?
Ideally, the use of excess city funds so we wouldn’t have to go to property owners. I am not fond of the way it is done now. Some owners get their curb and gutter for free via grant projects and others have to carry the full costs of repairs. I feel everybody should have skin in the game.
What should be done to help the downtown merchants survive the roundabout redo and thrive afterwards?
I think we all expected some inconveniences for the businesses downtown. Hopefully, shopping traffic will return to normal and even attract new shoppers after the project wraps up. My concerns are parking. Especially if more lofts are inhabited and the Douglas is developed.
Is the city responsible for protecting low-income residents at Settler’s Ridge from flooding in the Northwest Quadrant?
The City didn’t build this complex in a hole and to my knowledge has not taken any action to inhibit the flow of storm water from the area. So, no, I do not think the City has the responsibility. Hopefully, in the future, a new storm sewer solution will be available and affordable.
How can Urbana improve communication between the city council and the residents they represent?
Some on council want to budget money for some video equipment so we can put the meetings on the internet. I know this will not be the answer for everyone, but most will be able to access them. The new sign at the utility office should also help people stay informed as to events. Citizens are always welcome at our meetings.
What should be the city government’s top priority in 2020?
Continued economic growth is a top priority. The working relationship amongst the mayor, the administration, and Marcia Bailey at the Champaign Economic Partnership has been fantastic and needs to continue. This growth is good for all citizens. People employed = tax base = services. Everybody WINS.