BY APRIL EVANS
Candidates for mayor, clerk and alderman seats open on the Georgetown City Council introduced themselves and shared their views on issues with voters Thursday in a forum hosted by the Georgetown Ladies Community Club.
There were about 50 audience members in the crowd who heard answers from candidates on questions posed from moderator Cathy Jenkins, Vermilion County board member and Georgetown resident. Questions were given to candidates in advance for preparation.
For mayor, candidates include incumbent Mayor Dennis R. Lucas and current Ward 3 Alderman, write-in candidate Kay Sanders.
Lucas, 63, has been mayor since 2009 and served as an alderman from 1992-1997. He said the most important issue facing the city now are the finances, because of the state of Illinois continually cutting revenue streams to cities. He said he and the council worked during his tenure to cut their own expenses back to help keep the budget in check.
Also, he sees completion of the sewer separation and sewer plant upgrade project as key.
Lucas also encouraged citizens to come to meetings and not be misled by rumors.
“The city is not broke, we do have savings,” Lucas said.
Sanders, 72, said that completing the sewer separation and sewer plant upgrade is important.
“Also, working with the council to balance the budget,” Sanders said.
Sanders said she also would like to oversee better enforcement of ordinances.
The position of Georgetown clerk has two candidates vying for the spot held by current clerk Jeri Nale, who is challenged by newcomer Tracy Isaacson. Isaacson was not present at the forum.
Nale, 44, was appointed to the clerk position in November 2012. She is a founder of the Georgetown Neighborhood Watch program and said she is already very involved in all the aspects of council work. She would like to see retail development in the city, as well as a clean-up take place.
Ward 1 Alderman, Gerald McPhillips is running unopposed and was not present at the forum.
In Ward 2, incumbent Tom Seilhymer and Carl Lee Johnson are vying for one available seat representing the city’s southwest side.
Seilhymer, 66, said he works well with the others involved and stays on top of things. He said his recent experience on the council allows him to know what the city needs when trying to advance current projects that are being worked on, which he’d like to see through.
Johnson, 63, is a former Georgetown alderman, where he served 14 years under four different mayors and sat on every committee available. He said his experience then with many different projects and during his time working at General Motors where he helped negotiate contracts will make him an asset to the council.
In Ward 3, incumbent Wilma Wilming faces candidate Keith Walker. Both seeking the office are retired.
Wilming said the sewer separation project and sewer plant upgrade is the most important issue facing the city, but so is the budget. She said she would like to see more communication between the city hall office and aldermen and thinks a satellite drug store would be a big plus to the town and worth working toward.
Walker said bringing in businesses by having solid infrastructure is a priority, as is increasing revenue. He would advocate the police being more in the schools, not because of a problem, but just as an increased presence.
In Ward 4, three residents are running for one seat available. Kim Shrout, Tim Waterman and Robert “Mitch” Weaver.
Shrout, 54, served in the past on the council for 11 years, chairing the water/sewer committee during much of that tenure. He said the sewer separation project and sewer plant upgrade is the most important issue facing the city now, but bringing business into town is also a pressing issue, too. He said he wants to bring honesty, integrity and experience back to the city council, seeing everyone involved work better together on projects, not divided.
Waterman, 36, has been a volunteer firefighter in Georgetown for 14 years. He said as a firefighter he sees people of the community at their bad times, but now would like to help in other ways at other times, too. He said important issues are bringing business to the community and keeping costs down for the elderly on a fixed income.
Weaver, 47, said he has experience working with boards as he has been involved with local youth sports and a local motorcycle club. He said the sewer separation and sewer plant upgrade project is important, as well as bringing businesses to town. He’d also like to strengthen the Georgetown Neighborhood Watch program, where he is a block captain, and work to give kids more things to do in town to keep them off the streets.
Voters head to the polls Tuesday.