There are two candidates for the Cherokee City Council's Ward 1 seat up for election in the Nov. 8 City Elections, including incumbent Jim Peck, and challenger Mark Miller, both Cherokee natives.
Retired in 1994 after serving as Deli Manager at the former IBP, Continental Deli, and Food Brands Inc. (now Tyson Deli) in Cherokee, Peck likens his public service to "giving me something to do and contributing to my community." He served on the County Board of Supervisors for a 4-year term in 2000-2004.
Peck also said the City needs to "keep pecking away" at the infrastructure needs in Cherokee such as the former Main Street and alley renovation project a few years ago, and the nearly completed West Cherry Street and North 11th Street renovation projects, all of which were costly and extensive, but a positive necessity paid for by General Obligation Bonds revenue.
The widowed father of three adult children, Peck said the Council's and City's focus on nuisance abatement also is a positive process for the community and "is really working to help beautify and clean up the City."
Peck's children include Jason, a police officer in Minnesota; Melaney, a homemaker in Adair; and Cindy, a Day Care operator in Boone.
He added that as the City's debt load decreases through the years, Cherokee has established a good credit rating and bonding ability to keep forging ahead with projects to make the necessary improvements to enhance the community and cater to the lifestyles desired by residents.
"I've pushed for more public meetings on those buildings to get more input from the public, area contractors, plumbers, electricians, and everybody who might be involved," said Peck. "There are a lot more options out there. Let's explore them."
Miller said he is running for the Ward 1 Council seat to get rid of some of the City's debt load, and to try to lower taxes in town.
"We need to pay off the existing bond debt and then find the money to do the things we need to do without bonding for them," explained Miller, the co-owner of Cherokee Builders in Cherokee.
Miller said the City is always talking about building "this and that" and those words got him interested in serving on the Council because he is a builder with turn-key experience and skills that would benefit the City on all fronts.
Miller said he can see the Council from the business end and Cherokee can't recruit new businesses and employees in its high tax area.
"I think we should spend money wisely when we have it, and make do without some things until we can afford it," said the father of three adult children. Mark and wife Tamra are the parents of Cory 25 of Cherokee, Courtney 24 of Hartley, and Ashley 21 of Cherokee.
In regards to the proposed $450,000 the City is proposing to finance through a G.O. Bond for a new Yacht Club and Maintenance Shop at Koser Spring Lake Park, Miller said the City needs to "go more modest" in the design and cost of the facilities.
He also said the City owns a storage building off site that could serve as a Maintenance Building for the Park. He agreed the Park needs a Yacht Club for meetings, parties, and rentals, and as an amenity to the Park, but doen't need "some elite thing.
"I just want to try to make a difference," added Miller.
( A preview of Ward 3 candidates - incumbent Wayne Pingel, and challengers Matthew Royster and Jason 'Duma' Johnson will appear in Wednesday's Chronicle Times).