DANVILLE — With Ward 2 Alderwoman Lois Cooper not seeking re-election, the seat is open to a newcomer.
Frank Hoskins and Darrell R. Heath are the two candidates running to take the job.
They both say they will bring a common-sense approach to the city council, and the lack of jobs is the biggest issue facing the city.
Both have sought election before to the city council.
The Commercial-News sent questionnaires to alderman candidates running in the April 9 city election.
Hoskins said he’s running for alderman “to help continue making Danville and Ward 2 a great place to live. I like to use a common-sense approach and think outside the box.”
Heath said he’s running for alderman because “I am interested in our community. I have had a lot of backing from our community, as well as from friends and family that have conveyed the need for a common-sense approach. I am a people-oriented and community-oriented person that believes government requires a lot of common sense and community involvement.”
Hoskins said the biggest issues facing the city council are jobs, perception and funding.
“More jobs will create a bigger tax base,” he said.
He said working with various entities, including state officials, will help bring business here.
Hoskins said he’d also like to change negative perceptions of the city.
He wants to get “the word out that Danville is a good place, and meet with various groups to promote the city and all the positive things.”
Funding also is a challenge, he said.
He wants to “work with our state and federal officials to get as much funding from them that we can. (We need to) try to find ways to create funding.”
Heath said the biggest issues facing the city council are: jobs, city enhancement and city infrastructure.
“These three issues can tie in together in many ways. The city council needs to discuss ways to attract businesses to our community, not just large factories but all types of businesses from restaurants to retail shops, etc. One option would be to discuss ways to utilize the famous people from Danville to attract tourists, shoppers, etc. to the area which in turn would lead to the need for more businesses like restaurants and retail shops and would possibly attract more businesses to want to come to our community,” Heath said.
Heath said, “that leads to city enhancement. I will use the example of Downtown Danville Inc. working with local businesses (and hopefully new businesses) to obtain funds to provide the free summer concerts in downtown Danville (community involvement) and improve the looks of our community. (This) then leads to the city infrastructure like streets, sewers, bridges, parks, etc. with community involvement and working with various organizations to improve our community in every aspect and make it a pleasing and beautiful place for businesses to want to come and set up shop.
“My having worked with the Vermilion County Handicapped Association raising funds to build wheelchair ramps for the citizens of Vermilion County (at no cost to those citizens) is a prime example of how working together to raise funds can and does work. The same can be said of my having been involved as the franchise holder for the Ellsworth/Tilton Panthers for eight years. Without the involvement of the parents, children, businesses and community this could not have been accomplished,” Heath said.
If city budget cuts are needed, Hoskins said he’d “look at what we can live without, long term and short term.”
He said the city could look “at where we can be more conservative and efficient (such as school District 118 and its energy program).
If budget cuts are needed, Heath said he would not look at cutting city service people such as police officers and firefighters.
“That is not the area to cut the budget. I would need to see the budget before commenting further,” Heath added.
About recent retail incentives, Hoskins said they “are OK to be considered for any business new or existing. Will these new retail stores force another to close, or can Danville and the surrounding area support all of them? Only time will tell.”
Heath said about retail incentives, “obviously Danville and Vermilion County need more businesses to create more jobs. I cannot say if I support this or not until further discussion is had regarding this.”
Hoskins said he has the time to serve as alderman.
He also believes pay should be based on attendance.
“It’s the only thing the public sees. As a military veteran, I am going to donate the stipend to a veterans’ group.”
Heath also says he has the time to be an alderman and attend the committee and council meetings.
“I am retired and yes, I believe pay should be based on meeting attendance. It is a responsibility to attend the meetings. The voters place us in this office and the meetings are part of the job. They must be attended. Every job I have ever had required me to show up to be paid, so why should an elected position be any different?” Heath said.
Heath adds that “if I am elected, I will attend the meetings and I will strive for discussion on ways to create and/or find ways to bring more businesses/jobs to our community and for more community involvement.”
Name: Frank Hoskins
Address: 439 Avenue C
High School: 1978 Danville High School graduate
Current Employment: Business agent for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399
Previous Political Experience: None
Other Organization Involvement: Board member of Vermilion County Crime Stoppers
Darrell R. Heath
Name: Darrell R. Heath
Address: 40 N. Jefferson St.
Family: wife, Karen; four children; five grandchildren
High School: Class of 1973 Danville High School
College: Attended Danville Area Community College, attended and received numerous certifications from Sears Technical Training Institute
Current Employment: Retired
Previous Political Experience: Previously on the Vermilion County Board (resigned due to moving out of the district)
Other Organization Involvement: Member of the Vermilion County Handicapped Association