Candidate profile: Harold McCarty

What you need to know about the April 2019 election

The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.
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The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.

Name: Harold McCarty

Age: 65

Town: Columbia

Occupation: Business owner

Position seeking: Alderman Ward 2

Campaign website: You can follow my campaign on Facebook.

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I believe council members should concern themselves with running the city instead of legislating on petty issues such as the style of business signage allowed. I would like to see term limits imposed on council members in order to keep a relative prospective on issues. I think we should encourage new businesses to choose Columbia instead of making it financially more difficult for small business to thrive. As Alderman, I aspire to represent the needs of the people of Columbia at City Hall so they feel their issues are being heard and fairly addressed. I promise to be available 24/7 and won’t hide from people or problems that need attention.

I worked for the City Department for 14 years. As Director of Public Works, I worked closely under three Mayors and represented my department at council meetings throughout my tenure. Because of my experience working for the city and with the council, I feel I am in a unique position to understand how to solve problems that arise within the city and among its citizens.

What is the most important issue facing your town? How would you approach it? I think the two most important issues at this time are to attract more businesses, and to maintain our infrastructure. I would have the city government work with prospective businesses to make the process less daunting. My personal experience with this process is the reason why I moved my business to the County. There was a 180 degree difference between working with the County and the city of Columbia.

As far as the city maintenance is concerned, when I was Director of Public Works, very little was outsourced as it is now. We laid water and sewer lines, put in sidewalks, paved roads and more. We have the equipment and the talent in the maintenance department to do almost anything. Keeping the work in-house saves the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Under what circumstances, if any, would you raise taxes or fees in the municipality? Please explain. Before I would raise taxes, I would cut the fat. We need to be smarter about how we spend our citizen’s money. Not only can I attest to the amount of money wasted by outsourcing maintenance, but there are plenty of other areas where I see money spent unnecessarily. I would rather eliminate overspending and not raise taxes.

Crime has been an issue in parts of the metro-east. What is the best way to stop the problem in and around your community? I believe at this time we have one of the best police departments in southern Illinois. That is why we don’t experience the same levels of crime we see in other cities. I think a strong police presence is the best way to keep crime at bay.

I am also in favor of police supported neighborhood watch groups. When neighbors watch out for each other I feel it strengthens community bonds, promoting a willingness to help each other, which will in turn help to keep our children and our properties safer. Criminals will not be able to hide in plain sight in a neighborhood where people recognize who is out of place.