What you need to know about the April 2019 election
Name: Brad Eavenson
Town: Granite City Illinois
Occupation: Retired school district administrator
Position Seeking: Ward 4 alderman Granite City
Campaign website: Friends to Elect Brad Eavenson Alderman Ward 4 on Facebook
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I’m running because I still have faith that we can turn Granite City around. We have experienced residential and business loss mainly due to the idling of our steel mill. Now that the mill is running again, we have an opportunity to stabilize those losses and rebuild pride in the community. I’ve held numerous elected positions and believe my experience is a plus. As a school administrator I was responsible for budgeting and monitoring millions of taxpayer dollars and I understand the importance of conservative spending and accountability.
What is the most important issue facing your town? How would you approach it? Like many industrial communities, we have been hit hard with job loss in the blue collar sector. If we are to survive, it is imperative that we try to rebuild a job base and increase our median income. We need to improve the “confidence to invest” in the community so we can attract new businesses. As I visit residents in our neighborhoods, one of the common complaints is, “we have nowhere to eat or shop.” We are still a community of 30,000 people and we should be able to attract commercial development. Commercial development will also create a stronger revenue stream through additional sales and property taxes. Hopefully the new revenue could ease the tax burden on our residents.
Under what circumstances, if any, would you raise taxes or fees in the municipality? Please explain. Our residents have been taxed to the max. Again, with the loss of businesses, the tax burden has increased on homeowner. Before any increase in taxes is considered, I believe we need to look for ways to reduce costs. We also need to be very aggressive in applying for available grants. We should be looking at the overall financial picture and deal with revenue as well as expenditures. I’m sure the current city administration is working toward this goal daily. I believe my experience in dealing with budgets will help.
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? Granite City has an outstanding police department. Response times are good throughout the city. It’s important that residents help the department by keeping their eyes and ears open to potential problems. As a former alderman, I helped to establish a “neighborhood watch group” in one of my neighborhoods. I’ve already spoken with one of our officers about getting this program started again and adding more neighborhoods. We can’t expect our patrolling officers to be everywhere at one time. Our tips can get them to problem areas quicker. I would hope that in the near future we can strengthen our revenues to the point that more first responders can be added where needed.