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Coralville candidate stresses development

BY JULIA DAVIS | OCTOBER 17, 2013 5:00 AM

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Tom Gill said he believes his extensive city government experience will aid him in pulling ahead of the other seven candidates running for Coralville City Council and securing one of three available council seats.

Gill is an incumbent, having served a seven terms thus far, and he believes he should have no problem securing his eighth.

He stressed job creation as a central priority of his campaign to continue his service to the city.  He said job creation is part of the reason Coralville has rebounded well from the recession.

“We have created so many jobs in construction in this region in the last four to five years, and that’s what getting us out of this recession,” he said. “So when you talk about a recession, there is no recession here because we’re spending our way out of it.”

The issue many citizens are concerned about in the upcoming election is the $279 million debt the city faces. Gill said he believes the city has been addressing the debt in a responsible manner by hiring outside consultants to recommend further action to be taken.

Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett expressed similar sentiments regarding the debt.

“I don’t think that the financial concerns should be an issue, as far as the election is concerned,” he said. “To me, I think the city is always very fiscally responsible, and now is no different.”

Tony Roetlin, Coralville’s finance director, said he believes while the city’s debt is “substantial,” the council has devoted the necessary time and energy to the issue thus far.

This past June, Moody’s Investors Service lowered the bond rating for the city, furthering a several-year pattern.

A bond rating portrays the ability a city has to pay its current debts. By lowering the rating, the firm is stating there is a higher risk in Coralville for investors.

“With the Moody’s downgrade and with the amount of debt that there is, there’s obviously always a need to focus on addressing it,” Roetlin said. “I think the existing council has succeeded in focusing on it, and I think that really it’s a part of the whole equation and it’s being discussed, and will continue to be discussed.”

Looking forward to the upcoming city council term, Gill hopes to continue the legacy of development he’s been a part of over the past two decades.

“I’ve been here 20 years, and during that time my platform has remained focused on jobs,” he said. “We’ve put vast amounts of infrastructure in, and everything that has been created in the last 20 years, I have been involved in.”


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