Republican Jim Sailors faces a challenge from Democrat Timothy Banter Sr. in a race for District 2 county commissioner.
The Pharos-Tribune posed two questions to the candidates. Those questions and the candidates’ responses follow:
What do you see as the issues in this campaign?
Banter: There are numerous issues but these are ones most disturbing:
A. The present ambulance service is substandard without proper radio communication between ambulances, Hospital, Fire department, and Police. The E.M.T.s are using cell phones, and the ambulances are not equipped with GPS. This leaves the citizens of Cass County in the hands of an emergency service dependent upon cell coverage, which is poor to nonexistent in some parts of the county, and is many times unable to find locations in sufficient time. Most of the E.M.T.s are not locals and many residents have witnessed them pulled to the side of the road with their lights on looking at maps while on a call.
B. France Park has been neglected for years, resulting in an exodus of patrons. This park could be an asset and bring in sorely needed revenue into Cass County.
My opponent has approved a work for rent policy for those renters staying during the winter. Who determines what the value of each job will be, and how does this bring in the needed revenue this park desperately needs?
Sailors: Economic development is a large issue in Cass County along with all the counties along the new Heartland Corridor, and we are in competition with all those other counties. The county can only grow with more development from industry and agri-business since we are in an agricultural county. We used to have several factories in our county, and we are down to a handful, which lessens our tax base, putting more of a burden on the individual residents of the county. A new economic development person has been hired who will help with that development.
All of the small towns in Cass County are facing issues with septic systems and in some, water issues. We are in the process of working with the utilities to come up with funding to provide those services to those small towns. We have at least 15 little towns in our county and in most cases, if their septic systems go bad; they have no place to install another system.
We need to be selective in the use of TIF districts, which could be a large issue for schools and other entities that receive tax dollars. Growth is important, but so is maintaining our services for the community.