WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Special Election in Burlington - 12/30

Dec 29, 2014

Two men want to return to the Burlington City Council and it is up to residents to decide who gets the nod.

There has been a vacancy on the council for several months following the resignation of Alderwoman Becky Shockley less than one year into her first term in office.

The men on the Dec. 30 ballot, Jim Davidson and John Sandell, bring plenty of experience to the race.

Jim Davidson

Davidson served on the city council from 2007-2013, losing his re-election bid last fall.  He also held the title of Mayor during his final two years in office.

"My purpose for running again is to see that we continue on the path towards financial responsibility that we started when I was mayor (in 2012-2013)," said Davidson.
 

Davidson said Burlington is making progress on its finances by borrowing less money, paying off debt, and increasing reserve accounts.

He said he will continue those efforts, if elected, and also address the city's property tax rate.

"In my view, that’s a lower level than what it is because in order to get new people and businesses to come to the community, your tax level has to be at a competitive situation," said Davidson.

Davidson said along with the city's finances, he will also make sure public safety is a top priority for Burlington.

He said that includes re-starting talks about a combined law enforcement center with Des Moines County.

"They weren't very open to that," said Davidson, "but you know, that's a couple years ago so things might change."

John Sandell

Sandell is trying to return to the Burlington City Council after a 15-year hiatus.  He served as an alderman for eight years in the 1990's, the last two of which as mayor.

Sandell said he felt the time was right for him to return to service for his community.

"The opportunity rose and I didn't like some of the things (the city council) had done in the past two years," said Sandell.  "I want to make sure it does not happen again."
 

He points specifically to recent deficit spending.  Sandell said that can be addressed during budget time by City Manager Jim Ferneau.

"I would hope the city manager would take a look at the income that is presently being produced, subtract a figure off of that and say this is what I have to spend.  Then take the priorities the council has set and maintain those priorities."

Sandell said his priorities would be the police, fire and streets departments.  He said any other services should be considered for privatization.

He said the city must get its finances in order to be able to grow, which will help the city for decades to come.

"You grow the city to the point where we can retain the wealth that produces and retain the people, instead of having our best and brightest leaving, which is happening all of the time."

The polls will be open on Tuesday, Dec. 30 from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.