RI mayor, aldermen candidates debate ways to expand revenue


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Originally Posted Online: March 14, 2013, 10:18 pm
Last Updated: March 31, 2013, 7:19 pm
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By Kevin Smith, ksmith@qconline.com

Encouraging new development in Rock Island while maintaining a healthy city budget was among the hot topics at the mayoral candidates forum on Thursday night.

With less than a month until the April 9 election, candidates for Rock Island mayor and alderman seats fielded questions at the Community Caring Conference forum in the Rock Island Public Library.

Mayor Dennis Pauley is being challenged by Rick Cassini and David Levin. Mr. Levin, a commercial real estate broker, disagrees with the city's $1 million purchase of land northeast of Illinois 92 and Interstate 280, near Jumer's Casino and Hotel. City officials want to develop the area into a new retail hub, but Mr. Levin said it was wrong to spend the money when the project still needs state clearance.

Mayor Pauley called the purchase a "wise investment," saying Rock Island needs to look ahead to the possibility of new casinos opening in Davenport and Bettendorf and the potential of losing market share.

Mr. Levin also was critical of the city's ownership of Sunset Marina, sayingit should be privately owned. Fee increases upset the boating community and may harm business, he said.

The higher rates are needed to pay for dredging the marina every other year because of low river levels, the mayor said. He added the city has tried to sell the marina, but has not received much interest.

Mr. Cassini, who owns Cassini Tile and Marble, agreed with Mr. Levin that the city should push to privatize the marina. It should be a "revenue maker" for the city under the correct ownership, he said, noting its condition leaves much to be desired.

"The fate of the docks is no longer 'fix'; it's 'replace,'" he said.

Mr. Cassini also called for better fiscal responsibility in the city by limiting spending. He said the money spent to paint bike lanes throughout Rock Island -- and perhaps maintain them in the future -- could have been reduced if the city had chosen bicycling signs instead.

Aldermanic candidates include incumbent Terry Brooks and newcomer Ivory Clark in Ward 1; and newcomers Margie Mejia-Caraballo, Anthony Heddlesten, Kate Hotle and David McAdam in Ward 5 where current Ald. Jason Jones, 5th Ward, is not seeking re-election.

The aldermanic candidates also discussed ways to bring business and new revenue to the city, as well as preserve historical buildings.

Mr. Clark criticized Ald. Brooks' communication with the ward and said he has not been doing enough to bring in new business. Ald. Brooks countered that new affordable housing development is needed to make Ward 1 more attractive.

"We live in a community of people that need places to stay," he said.

Alds. Charles Austin III, 7th Ward, and PJ Foley, 3rd Ward, unopposed on April 9, also fielded questions on Thursday night.


















 



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  Today is Monday, April 21, the 111th day of 2014. There are 254 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The female sex seems to have gone crazy on the subject of dry goods. When high prices keep them from increasing their wardrobes, they turn to stealing. Yard goods, hats, shoes and other items are being picked up and carried home.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Members of Everts Commandery No. 18, Knights Templar, under Commander H.C. Cleaveland, marched from the Masonic Temple to Trinity Episcopal Church for their annual Easter services.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Nate Hultgren pitched the Augustana College baseball team to a 10-3 victory over Carthage, striking out 11 men and allowing only four hits.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Marvel Leonhardi, a Rock Island High School senior, was the winner of an essay contest on advertising sponsored by The Argus and Advertising Age, a national advertising publication.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Augustana College band drew a crowd of 1,200 people for its annual home concert in Centennial Hall. The size of the crowd was indicative of the fact the band is rapidly approaching the stature of the Augustana Choir.
1989 -- 25 years ago: A benefit to raise money for extracurricular activities in the Rock Island Milan School District will be April 27 at the Quad City Downs harness race track. People buying $17.50 tickets to the second annual "Night at the Quad City Downs" will be entitled to an evening of harness racing and dinner.






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