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 Thursday, Dec. 5, the 339th day of 2013. There are 26 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A new passenger car has been placed on the Coal Valley railroad, and R.R. Cable is running the trains at present. 1888 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. G.W. Gue preached a convincing sermon on the need of a new First Methodist Church in Rock Island 1913 -- 100 years ago: Dr. W.S. Marquis preached his farewell sermon at Broadway Presbyterian Church to the combined congregations from First Methodist, First Baptist, United Presbyterian and South Park Presbyterian churches. 1938 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's mayor is seeking to enforce the rules governing PWA projects in the city which state that local men are to be hired for the work. 1963 -- 50 years ago: The Argus Santa Claus requests that the names of needy Rock Island boys and girls through 12 years of age be registered by parents or guardians from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 11or Dec. 14. 1988 -- 25 years ago: Alcoa and its employee union have reached tentative agreement on a 43-month labor contract covering about 7,500 workers at six plants, including 1,900 employees at Alcoa's Davenport Works, company and union officials said today.