GREENVILLE – Several candidates for Greenville offices attended the Citizens for Safer Streets meeting on Wednesday to discuss some of the issues facing the city. Hala Knapke led the meeting and introduced the candidates. Greenville candidates included Roxanne Willman, for auditor; Matt Staugler, for city council; Michael Rieman, for law director; Mayor Steve Willman, for mayor; and James Besecker, write-in for mayor. Besecker was not introduced and did not offer comments at the meeting.
Steve Willman said, “You see a lot of great things happening and you see the superficial stuff.” He further explained residents only see a portion of the projects. He pointed to the infrastructure – new sewer lining, new water lines, connections to the houses. “It was a tremendous expense and tremendous amount of time for all that was done,” he said.
When it comes to crime and drugs in the city, Steve believes some of the state laws are a hindrance. “People can carry drugs on them all the time and they can’t even be arrested,” he said. He shared the “horrendous” condition of the house the city recently cleaned up and added, “It was full of needles.” Steve said, “It takes such a long time to build a case – get witnesses, find evidence and chase all of that down and you go to court and they tell them don’t do it again.” He believes there should be more revamping of the legal system.
Steve was questioned about the roads around the hospital where construction is taking place. The mayor shared the city worked with the hospital before the start of construction to ensure that Wayne HealthCare would fix the roads surrounding the hospital. It is similar to an agreement the city had with the Brethren Retirement Community (BRC) on Oak Street. In that case, the BRC paid for half of the road construction project.
Roxanne Willman spoke on the two tax renewal levies on the ballot. She shared these levies are renewals and will not cause an increase in taxes. Both levies are property tax levies and are for general operations of the city and are the main source of income. “For these tax levies not to pass would cause a big decrease in our services and capital improvement projects that we can do. I’m hoping everybody will vote in favor of those tax levies,” she said.
Staugler, candidate for the fourth ward council seat, shared that he and his wife are vested in this community. He explained the birth of his daughter pushed him to want to make sure she had opportunities in Greenville. “I want to be sure that in 20 years when she graduates from college there are opportunities in this community,” he said. He believes he brings a voice to council that is not currently being heard. He feels he can help prepare the community for growth and welcome the next generation.
Rieman said he hopes to bring the perspective of getting young people involved and moving back to the community. “I’m hoping to bring some more long-term ideas that encourage people of my age and my generation to come back because it is a critical part in building that’s going to have place going forward for a long period of time.” A question regarding code enforcement was asked later in the meeting and Rieman said he would enforce Greenville’s current code. He added that if the community does not like the code they should ask council to change it.
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