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, March 11, the 70th day of 2014. There are 295 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done by hogs that are running at large about town. The marshal will take them up and sell them if their owners do not contain them. 1889 -- 125 years ago: George Newberry, Daniel Strecker, Al Webb and James Dixon returned from a voyage down the Mississippi River as far as Memphis, Tenn., on a flat. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Augustana College was put out of the running for the state collegiate basketball title when defeated by Millikin. The Viking lineup included Sten, Samuelson and Swanbeck, forwards, and Holtgren, Johnson and Berg, guards. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The coronation of Pope Pius XII and preliminary ceremonies were broadcast by WHBF on the Mutual Radio Network. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Reactivation of a portion of the J.I. Case Co, plant in Rock Island as a supplier for component parts for the firm's manufacturing centers at Racine, Wis., or Burlington, Iowa, is under consideration. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Downtown Moline business owners will have a chance to help shape the city's future through a survey being done by the Bi-State Metropolitan Planning Commission.