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City council candidates make case to voters

Four people are seeking three seats on the Ironton City Council. Newcomers Aaron Bollinger and Philip Heald are joining incumbents Frank Murphy and Kevin Waldo in this year’s race.

Bollinger, Heald and Waldo all spoke to The Tribune about their hopes for the city. Murphy was contacted several times and given the list of questions each candidate was provided. He had not responded as of 5 p.m. Friday.

AARON BOLLINGER

Bollinger is seeking his first term on city council. He is a detective for the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office. He said he is not a politician, just a citizen who wants to make a difference.

“I decided to run because you can either complain about things and do nothing or you can become involved and be a part of the decision making. I love the City of Ironton. I have witnessed our city suffer through economic hardship. I have seen the positive steps that have taken place to improve our city and I want to help make our city keep moving forward,” he said.

If elected, he wants to open up the lines of communication between the community and the city officials and encourage citizens to become more involved in municipal government.

“I want to listen, learn, and express the concerns, ideas, and thoughts of our community to the council,” Bollinger said.

Bollinger said he believes the biggest issue facing the city is the lack of employment opportunities.

“We have to work to bring businesses and industry into our city to create jobs so that people want to move into our community, as opposed to leaving it. I believe that the positive steps that have been taking place to improve the city must continue,” he said. “We have to make our city appealing in an effort to bring families into our community.”

One thing Bollinger does not want to see is further increases on water bills. He said every effort should be taken to budget without cutting services for the citizens.

“The fees that were put in place in 2006 have never been removed. There must be an alternative. I will not support issues that the citizens of Ironton have voted against,” Bollinger said.

Bollinger said his greatest success in life is being a father.

“My children have come first in my life,” he said. “I want to help our city grow and prosper for our children.”

He said he is also proud of his career as a sheriff’s detective.

“Throughout my career I have solved and been a part of numerous criminal cases in which people, children, and society have been victimized,” he said. “I feel a sense of accomplishment by bringing criminals to justice.”

PHILIP HEALD

Heald, an attorney, said he entered the race because he wanted to “give something back to the community that has done so much for me.”

Heald said his job as a lawyer is to solve people’s problems and he hopes to use his problem-solving experience to benefit the people of Ironton.

If elected, he wants to work to make Ironton a more inviting place for businesses to locate and to create more job opportunities.

“I plan not to be an impediment (to job creation),” Heald explained. “Economic forces beyond our region have driven business away. This means we have to draw out what (business) is there and what’s available to us. We’re fighting for the same jobs a thousand other cities are and we’ve got to be the one they pick.”

“I want people to feel that their government is working for them,” he said.

Heald said the biggest issue facing the city is keeping the city fiscally sound while providing the best services possible.

KEVIN WALDO

Waldo, an attorney, is seeking his second term on council. He said he decided to seek a second term to see the completion of several large-scale infrastructure projects that are being conducted, such as the sewer line relining project.

“Our lines were in such disrepair. Basically, they are 100 years old,” Waldo said.

He said the commencement of the relining project was one of the biggest successes during his first term on council. He is also proud of having delivered a balanced budget each year of his first term, in spite of having less money to work with than he might like.

“I don’t think people realize what kind of money we’re working with,” he said.

Keeping the budget balanced and yet providing necessary services is one of his priorities if he is re-elected.

He is also eager to continue work on the city’s infrastructure projects.

Waldo said the biggest challenge facing the city right now is a tax base that is not substantial enough to cover the city’s needs

“We do have a hard time doing what we need to do (because of it),” he said.