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 Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.