Willis right for Ironton mayor

Published 9:45 am Monday, November 2, 2015

Running a city anytime can be a challenge. When it is a city working to come out of years of economic depression and starting to see a glimmer of revitalization, the right leader must be able to build on that momentum and know how to keep the city growing.

Four candidates are running for Ironton mayor and each has definite strengths. Two are formers mayors and two are city employees who are running their first campaigns.

Bob Cleary and Jim Tordiff are campaigning on their experience, ranging from saving jobs when a vital business was threatening to pull out to promoting the city, making it marketable to other businesses.

Email newsletter signup

Katrina Keith has long been an enthusiastic supporter of her hometown, volunteering countless hours to a plethora of civic organization and has served in multiple capacities for the city over the years. She also created and implemented a comprehensive safety program to reduce the number of work-related injuries to cut down the city’s worker’s comp premium.

These are all worthwhile accomplishments, but right now what the city of Ironton needs to do is increase its tax base and enhance revenue streams to change the financial outlook for the future. According to several candidates, the city’s tax revenue base is in the neighborhood of 20 percent, meaning only two out of 10 residents fall within the tax revenue stream for the city.

To increase revenue, the city must attract new businesses and vitally needed jobs that would bring in more residents at a decent wage. One of the main factors in accomplishing this is a strong infrastructure.

That is why the editorial board of The Tribune is endorsing John David Willis for Ironton mayor.

The building and code enforcement official for Ironton knows firsthand the aging condition of the city’s water lines and streets, and knows fixing those requires more than paving streets. It requires more than a quick, temporary fix. It requires a long-term solution. As the code enforcer, he worked to improve Ironton by tearing down more than 100 blighted buildings to date. That makes a huge difference to a company that is considering Ironton as a place to relocate.

This will also make Ironton a more desirable location for new families and young professionals, which the city desperately needs in order to build its tax base.

If the city can increase its revenue, then and only then can it begin to replenish its depleted workforce, including firefighters, police officers and public works employees.

There are many challenges still facing Ironton as it continues its transformation. But Willis’ platform is the one that should be the top priority.

This certainly doesn’t mean that the other candidates can’t play an important role. It is essential for all residents to be a working force to help Ironton shine once again.