Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2013, 8:33 pm

Wills challenges Boom in Davenport 3rd Ward race

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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

Photo:
Carlton M. Wills
Photo: Submitted
Bill Boom
Davenport voters elect a mayor and all 10 city council members on Nov. 5. Following is the fourth of a series of stories about the candidates for the half-dozen seats for which there are contests.

DAVENPORT - Third ward challenger Carlton Wills may have surprised incumbent Bill Boom when both finished the Oct. 8 primary tied with 113 votes.

The top two vote-getters out of the three primary candidates, Ald. Boom and Mr. Wills are facing off in the Nov. 5 general election.

Ald. Boom said he wants to be part of continued growth in Davenport's downtown and make city government more accessible to his constituents.

"The whole concept of professionalism and progress are some of the things we have addressed," Ald. Boom said of the council. "If you're familiar with the previous city councils, we had a lot of turmoil - things that really made Davenport look foolish."

Ald. Boom said that has changed in recent years.

"One of the things we've worked hard at is changing that service attitude," Ald. Boom said. "The council understands that people want to be respected and served. That is the mission of municipal government."

Mr. Wills said change is needed in the city, specifically with how information is conveyed to the public.

"I think there are a lot of things in the city's budget that no one understands, except for a couple of people," Mr. Wills said. "I'm asking for some of that information to be clarified, specifically on some of the spending."

Both candidates say the state's new law reducing property taxes on commercial properties can have a negative impact on the city.

"That's a big item," Mr. Wills said. "I don't think the city is ready to deal with it yet. Davenport's projected loss is estimated to be approximately $40 million over the next 10 years.

"So, I would lobby to have it reversed. But, for as long as it remains in effect, the City of Davenport must work with its state representatives and senators to ensure that they deliver on their promise of backfilling the property tax rollback."

"It's very short-sighted of them in Des Moines when cities are trying to cover these costs," Ald. Boom said.

Ald. Boom said there are other concerns for the city, such as police and fire pensions, and how the state will address this.

"We continue to get hit with state unfunded mandates," Ald. Boom said. "We don't have the resources or the ability to raise money like the state."

The two view Davenport's pursuit of a land-based casino differently.

Ald. Boom said he is not ashamed of the direction the city took in pursuing a new casino, which went from a proposed city-owned casino, possibly downtown in October 2012 to the present, which is for a privately-owned land-based casino near Interstate 80.

"Let's get it done," Ald. Boom said. "We need to turn our attention to other pressing concerns."

Mr. Wills said the city handled the casino project poorly.

"The city and RDA (Riverboat Development Authority) should have been meeting with each other over the past few years to come to a mutual agreement on the casino," Mr. Wills said. "Instead, the city made its own plans without consulting with the RDA.

"This was a huge miscalculation and waste of taxpayer dollars."









Name: Bill Boom

Age: 62

Address: 417 W. 7th St.

Occupation: Electrical engineer for Republic Electric

Education:

Degrees in industrial engineering and industrial management from Milwaukee School of Engineering

Political experience:

Three terms as Davenport alderman. Running for fourth term. Prior to that, served for two years on the city's planning and zoning commission. 









Name: Carlton M. Wills

Age: 55

Address: 1828 Dixwell St.

Occupation: Electrician, Koehler Electric & other local Electric Contractors. 

Education:
Graduate, Davenport West High School
One year coursework at Scott Community College
NJATC: Completion of four-year Electrician Apprenticeship Program
University of Iowa Labor Center, Negotiation Classes and Officers Training

Political experience:
This is my first campaign for municipal political office, but I have helped other candidates with their campaigns over the last 25 years. I have also extensively lobbied at the municipal and state levels on issues related to electrical safety standards. I am currently serving as President of IBEW 145.