BY JENNIFER BAILEY
DANVILLE — Three aldermen are not facing opposition in the April 9 election — Ward 1 Alderman Rickey Williams Jr., Ward 4 Alderwoman Sharon McMahon and Ward 6 Alderman Steve Nichols.
Each will be serving another four years on the city council.
There also will be the electrical aggregation referendum question on city ballots.
City voters will see an electrical aggregation referendum on the April 9 ballot.
The question will read “Shall the City of Danville have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for its residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such program?”
A November referendum for the county was determined to make the program available only to unincorporated areas, not the city. It passed by a 2-to-1 margin in the city. The city would have the same “opt-out” program as the county.
If the referendum is approved, Danville’s electrical rate will be bid out with a group of other communities all represented by consultant Good Energy.
A fee of not more than .00075 cents per kilowatt hour for Good Energy would be added to the bid rate the city approves.
An aggregation program gives the city the authority to enter into an electric supply power contract on behalf of residents and small businesses in the city that have not opted out with the intent to secure a lower rate for electric service. This would yield reduced electric bills.
The program, if approved in April, would be in effect within 60 days after the election.
Residents could start seeing savings in their electric bills by July and August. It could take longer for budget billing customers.
This will be Williams’ second term as Ward 1 alderman on the city council. He’s served since 2009.
Williams, 35, is employed with school District 118, said he hopes to continue to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars, increase the number of neighborhood associations in Ward 1 and continue to help meet his constituents’ needs.
Williams said he thinks no one else ran for alderman in his ward because, “some do not feel they can make a difference. I would also like to think that my constituents believe I have done a good job representing them.
“I will continue to fight for better stewardship and proactive planning to address (greater city budget efficiency and blight) and encourage increased partnerships amongst our parents, schools and Danville Area Community College for (better workforce development),” he said.
Williams also continues to cite city government middle management as a place to cut the city’s budget if needed. “We have kept too many positions at this level at the expense of front-line workers who complete the tasks most related to public needs and concerns,” he said.
In Ward 6, Steve Nichols, 58, district manager for Steak ‘n Shake, has served as alderman since 1983.
“I am proud of where we are as a city. When you look around the country and especially in the state of Illinois you see municipalities struggling to control costs and raising taxes. We are in a solid financial position and I am excited about the future,” Nichols said.
“I want to continue to be a part of this community’s success. I am fortunate to have no opposition this election cycle. There is an unfortunate trend in our country in that people seem less willing to seek public office. That is a result in my opinion of the politics of destruction that is engaged in Washington and Springfield. Democracy will only work as long as people are willing to get involved,” Nichols said.
Nichols said, “There will always be a struggle between providing the services that the public wants and on the other hand what services the public will pay for. As aldermen we have to be flexible and treat every situation in context. I have been a proponent of lower taxes because I feel that people spend money more effectively than government. However we have a responsibility to provide services that are beneficial to the public as a whole and that is not free.
“We always need to look at each department annually for potential savings. If cuts are needed, and this year it appears they are not, we have to look at everything. No department should be immune to cost savings. That doesn’t always mean personnel but as a service organization that is where the bulk of our budget lies.
“I dislike all business incentives as they are welfare for the rich, but as all communities engage in this practice I will continue to reluctantly support them. With the poor business climate in Illinois we have no choice,” Nichols said.
Nichols said serving on the city council “has been my honor and my privilege and I am excited on being allowed to continue to serve my hometown.”
In Ward 4, Sharon McMahon, who operates Illini Skateland with her husband, Jim, and also is a CPR First Aid instructor for DACC, is seeking another term.
McMahon said she hopes she can continue to help the citizens by being their voice at the council table.
She hopes to continue to help with the critical issues of public safety and making sure people feel safe in their homes and know that if they are in trouble or hurt someone is coming to help.
She’d like to see community clean-up days to help with deterioration of neighborhoods and blight.
Apathy is another issue, she said.
“I think everyone should work together and try to ‘do it in Danville.’ It really is a fine place to live,” McMahon said.