The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 9, 2013

City council to see pair of new faces

BY JENNIFER BAILEY
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Two new aldermen will be joining the city council.

R.J. Davis defeated incumbent Bill Gilbert for a seat on the council in Ward 3.

Ward 2 residents will now have Frank Hoskins as their new alderman after he won a close race against another newcomer, Darrell Heath.

In others wards, all incumbents will be coming back to the council after easily defeating their challengers.

It was a given before Tuesday’s election that one new alderman would be joining the city council due to Ward 2 Alderwoman Lois Cooper not seeking re-election.

Hoskins won Cooper’s seat over Heath by a 134-121 vote. Both Hoskins and Heath had both run for alderman in the past and lost.

“I’m happy to be elected,” Hoskins said.

He said he’s looking forward to working with Ward 2 residents.

“(Cooper) had all the confidence in the world in me …,” Hoskins said, adding that he’s sure her support helped him win.

One of the big issues coming up affecting his ward is the proposed Vermilion River and Ellsworth Park dam removals.

“Both of those dams are in my ward. It’s a hot topic that needs to be discussed and thought through very thoroughly,” Hoskins said.

He’s also concerned about maintaining the old bridge in Ellsworth Park.

Davis, a former city employee and one of the plaintiffs who changed the form of city government in 1987, became emotional Tuesday night about his opportunity to be an alderman.

He received 169 votes to Gilbert’s 79 votes.

“I really am,” Davis said about being excited to join the city council.

“Now that’s two of us that were part of the change of government who were aldermen,” Davis said, about himself and Eugene “Radio” Thompson.

“Thank God that I finally made it,” Davis said.

He’s looking forward to working with Gilbert’s wife, April, who is the other alderman in Ward 2. He said he’ll be a voice for residents.

“The power is in the seven wards and all the aldermen,” Davis said.

In Ward 5, current alderman Mike Puhr received 377 votes while newcomer Janis L. Ostiguy received 219 votes.

“I’m relieved,” Puhr said. “Jan ran a good campaign. Being an incumbent certainly has its advantages.”

Puhr was glad to receive almost 64 percent support of Ward 5 voters. He’s looking forward to serving four more years and working with two new aldermen.

“I look forward to continue serving everyone and appreciate their vote in confidence in me,” Puhr said.

Also looking forward to continue serving another four years is longtime Ward 7 Alderman Steve Foster. He defeated challenger Al Reynolds by a 670-302 vote.

Foster, too, said he’s looking forward to serving with the new aldermen.

“I think he’ll do a fine job,” Foster said of Davis, adding that Davis has seen both sides of the picture by being a city employee and now an alderman.

All the city council positions, one in each ward of the 14-member city council consisting of two aldermen from each ward, are four-year terms.

Those who ran unopposed were Rickey Williams Jr. in Ward 1, Sharon McMahon in Ward 4 and Steve Nichols in Ward 5.

Voter turnout was close to the 17 percent projected turnout, at about 18 percent.

FYI

Voters easily approved the electrical aggregation referendum on city ballots with a 2,122 to 871 vote, or 71 percent approval.

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 will have the same “opt-out” program as the county. Danville’s electrical rate will be bid out with a group of other communities all represented by consultant Good Energy to secure a lower rate for electric service.