COAL VALLEY -- When Coal Valley voters go to polls April 9, they will not find Stanley Engstrom's name on the ballot for the first time in 40 years. After 21 years as trustee and 19 as mayor, Mr. Engstrom is retiring from public life.
Hoping to take his mayoral seat are candidates Emil Maslanka, an independent write-in candidate and village trustee Rick Lasek, of the Conservative Party.
Mr. Maslanka, retired after 28 years as a contracting officer with the Department of the Army, said his experience in dealing with $10 million to $300 million dollar contracts gives him the experience needed in handling contracts in village government.
One of his goals is to develop a long-term strategic plan for economic development and bring more business to the village.
He said taxes should be better explained to residents and questions why there have been continued tax increases when the village has a $2-million dollar reserve.
"There needs to be some rationale for those increases," said Mr. Maslanka. "We need to start with those taxes that we can control like the municipal tax increase."
Mr. Lasek, in his sixth year as trustee, works as a residential loan officer. He feels he is most qualified to serve as mayor and intends to continue the course Mr. Engstrom paved as one of the few villages in Illinois that has seen "rooftop growth."
"I don't think there needs to be a whole lot of change," he said. "There is lots of development and opportunities, and we want to keep moving forward."
He said the village still owes $1.6 million toward a bond taken out to build a water tower four years ago. The earliest it can be paid off is 2016, but at 4 percent interest, he said he looks forward to using some of the village's reserves to retire the debt.
"As we've seen with other villages, cities and states, reserves are a good thing," said Mr. Lasek. "It allows us to maintain our current level of service to our residents until the economy picks up again."
Three seats are being filled on village board. Running without opposition are Richard Stone, Dale Keppy and Cherie Meyer, all of the Conservative Party.
Today is Tuesday, July 29, the 210th day of 2014. There are 155 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Col. H.F. Sickless informs us that there will be new organization of troops in this state under the call for more men. 1889 -- 125 years ago: James Normoyle arrived home after graduating from West Point with honors in the class of 1889. He was to report to Fort Brady, Mich., as second lieutenant in the 23rd Infantry. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Austria Hungary declared war on Serbia. Germany and Austria refused an invitation of Sir Edward Grey to join Great Britain at a mediation conference. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Dr. William Mayo, the last of the three famous Mayo brother surgeons, died at the age of 78. 1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the biggest horse shows of the season was held yesterday at Hillandale Arena on Knoxville Road under the sponsorship of the Illowa Horsemen's Club. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Davenport is like a gigantic carnival this weekend with the Bix Arts Fest taking over 12 square blocks of the downtown area. A festive atmosphere prevailed Friday as thousands of people turned out to sample what the Arts Fest has to offer.