Political races can be incredibly complex, however, the citizens of Albion can rest easy. The two candidates running for the Alderman position for Ward I are Dennis Turpin, who served as city treasurer until he decided to run for mayor in 2017, and the incumbent Terry Harper, who works as a certified public accountant.
Both of the candidates have made their approaches abundantly clear: long-term planning versus short-term goals. Turpin and Harper both have the long-term wellbeing of the city in mind; but their approaches to looking after the city are vastly different.
Turpin explained that if he were elected to office that he would “think critically about the city’s business and make good decisions that would stand long-term. That entails thinking about the issues rather than making a motion and going with it.”
Harper, on the other hand, expressed that his focus “would be to continue upgrading the infrastructure projects which have been going on for the past few years.”
And while both men agree that the issue of infrastructure is of great importance -- particularly in the area of Elm Street, they disagree about how and when the issue should be addressed.
Turpin would like to see the city conduct more in-depth research into how to fix the issues before spending any money on the project. “I don’t know the solution. I don’t see where the money would be coming from, but we have to find the most cost-effective ways to fix these issues. We need to think more critically about what the process is that will save the people of Albion the most amount of money.”
Harper’s approach is much more immediate. “I feel that repairing the problem areas of Elm Street, from Fourth to Seventh, is the approach the city needs to pursue. This would be much less expensive than any of the other alternatives considered and would last much longer. Albion’s brick streets have proven themselves to be much longer-lasting than either asphalt or concrete.”
Harper takes the infrastructural issue a step further, mentioning the poor condition the city’s sidewalks are in. “The city employees have replaced several sidewalks in the past few years, with priority given to the worst sidewalks and the most heavily traveled areas of town. This project needs to be continued so that we can have decent sidewalks in all areas of town.”
Though they disagree about how to fix the infrastructural issues with Elm Street and the city at large, they both agree that there are underlying problems that desperately need to be addressed, mainly the sewer lines.
Harper noted the state of the sewer system as one of the most prominent issues that Albion faces. “Albion, like many municipalities throughout the country, has a water and sewer system which is approaching 100 years of age. Many of the water lines have been replaced over the past few years, but there remains a considerable amount of work to be done.”
Turpin agreed, stating, “Elm street is important, but there are also underlying issues. We have 90-year-old sewer lines, vitreous clay sewer lines, that badly need replaced.”
However, Turpin does not think this issue is the most pressing problem Albion faces. Turpin believes that Albion’s leadership should be “addressing the reserve funding situation. If we don’t do anything about the state of our reserve funding, we won't have anything in the future, so that may mean some budget restraints in a few areas.”
In addition to the deteriorating state of the water lines, Albion faces the ongoing issue of the creation of a new water treatment facility.
Harper believes that a joint treatment plant is still an option for Albion. “I feel that the matter of a water treatment facility is still being considered and needs to be addressed in the near future rather than being considered more of a long-term issue.”
Turpin, meanwhile, stands by his approach of long-term planning. “I think Albion should certainly keep our options open. It seems Grayville is moving on with their own plans for water treatment.”
Turpin continued, stating, “If we had entered into some sort of intergovernmental agreement, both of us could have benefitted. Albion plans on making money selling water wholesale. We could have saved money on going in on this together. It just wasn’t approached that way.”
Though these candidates have different approaches as to how to best take care of the city, they both expressed their desire to see the city of Albion flourish.
Concerning the condition of Albion, Turpin stated, “I try to be conscientious of and think critically about the issues before the city of Albion and do what's best to allocate funds long-term for our town.”
Harper highlighted the city’s employees as the primary factor in Albion’s ability to prosper. “Albion’s employees, including the Albion Volunteer Fire Department, are a great group of dedicated people who work hard to make Albion a good place in which to live.”