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, April 17, the 107th day of 2014. There are 258 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Journeymen shoemakers of Rock Island struck for higher wages yesterday morning, asking 25 percent increases. Employers have acceded to their demand. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Lighting struck wires of the Merchants Electric Light Co. during a furious storm, and many Rock Island business houses were compelled to resort to gas as a means of illumination. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist, decided to erect a new edifice at a cost of about $60,000. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Willard Anderson, junior forward for the Augustana College basketball team, which won 17 out of 22 contests, was elected captain of the quintet. 1964 -- 50 years ago: John Hoffman, Moline, president of the Sac-Fox Council of Boy Scouts, will be honored for his 50 years in scouting by members of the council at a dinner Thursday evening. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Quad-Cities has what is believed to be the area's first elite-class gymnast. It's the stuff upon which Olympic competitors are made. Tiffany Chapman, of Rock Island, not only has earned the highest possible gymnast ranking, she won the honor at age 11.