The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

November 8, 2013

LEVINE: Work just beginning for new council members

Another election is in the books, and while much has changed on the seats of the Camanche and Clinton city councils, not much has changed in citizens’ interest in municipal elections.

The turnout was 20 percent, lower than the municipal election two years ago and higher than the at-large contest four years ago in Clinton. In Camanche, 33 percent came to vote. That’s a good number for municipal elections, but still disappointing when considering 72 percent of people in Clinton County voted last year in the general election.

Unfortunately I’m preaching to the choir. Many readers vote and let their voices be heard on Tuesday.

However, many citizens didn’t.

The people that are now in charge on the Camanche and Clinton city councils will make decisions that will affect your way of life. Roads are a major topic in both towns, and I’m sure many voters walk, bike and drive those roads every day.

The men and women serving on the city councils will decide what roads get repaired and whether they should fund those or not with the depleting funds in each cites’ budget.

But 80 percent of people in Clinton didn’t see the merit in voicing their opinion about whether those roads should be fixed or not. Roads are just one of many examples, including the two ballot measures that were considered by the city of Clinton.

Those measures dealt specifically with your pocketbook. Increasing taxes or finding ways to fund sewer and street improvements isn’t important enough for 80 percent of citizens to spend five minutes filling in a few circles.

I’ve never understood why local elections get so little fanfare.

Regardless of the turnout, the elections still sent a message of people’s strong urge to replace current council members with new ones. It happened in the previous two city elections I’ve covered, and this one was no different.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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