Rockwell candidates share similar concerns
By Jessie Burchette
ROCKWELL ó The six candidates for the five seats on the Rockwell Board of Aldermen share similar concerns about their town.
They want to see a more vibrant downtown with a wider variety of business filling the empty storefronts.
And most would like to see a revitalization effort to give the business section a facelift of sorts ó something to make it more attractive and appealing.
Incumbents and the challengers, Justin Crews and Eric Moore, also expect the new Board of Aldermen will have to do some major penny pinching to keep providing town services without raising taxes.
Rockwell’s 27 cents per $100 valuation is the second lowest in the county ó behind only Cleveland with a 25 cent rate.
“Now is not the time to increase taxes. Government needs to look within itself instead of raising taxes,” Moore said. A member of the Rockwell Planning Board, he is making his first run for the board.
Current aldermen Chuck Bowman, Tim Draper, Bill Ridenhour and Charles “Chuck” Wingerson have just come through a very tough budget process. With state cutbacks on revenue that typically comes to the towns, they fashioned a budget using available revenue. The town’s 10 full-time employees didn’t get a raise, but they still have their jobs.
During a candidates’ forum, most of the candidates said they oppose the quarter-cent sales tax on the Nov. 3 ballot that would pay for a jail addition and emergency radios and radio towers.
While working to deal with the impact of the economy, Crews wants to focus on being ready when things improve.
Crews, making his second bid for a seat on the board, is committed to working on the downtown while focusing on continuing to make the town a good place to live.
Candidates also supported annexation in varying degrees.
Crews called it a “necessary evil,” that has to be used if Rockwell is to grow.
Moore said he does not like involuntary annexation.
Wingerson said while he wouldn’t support a huge annexation, there may be areas where the people want services and the town can provide them at a reasonable price.
Longtime Mayor Beau Taylor is running unopposed.