Coralville candidates share views on city's issues - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Coralville candidates share views on city's issues

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CORALVILLE (KWWL) - The League of Women Voters had a candidate forum for Coralville mayor and city council candidates Tuesday night. Around 100 people showed up to the forum. It was standing room only inside the city council chambers and some people were sitting in the hallway watching on a monitor.

A big issue for many voters is the city's debt. Each candidate for mayor and city council had to answer what they would do to fix the city's debt. Candidates also shared their views on Tax Increment Financing (TIF), a tax incentive the city used that helped lead to the debt.

The Coralville race is getting a lot of attention from groups who are not based in Coralville, largely due to the way the city used TIF to draw retailers to the Iowa River Landing. Moody's downgraded several of the city's bond ratings to due the use of TIF and the city's debt.

There are four candidates running for mayor. Jim Fausett, who has served as mayor since 1996, has said he's not seeking re-election due to health reasons.

Matt Adam is concerned about the Moody's downgrade. He says if the city truly has a plan to pay it back, the city needs to explain that to Moody's. He told KWWL in a recent interview that he feels TIF was not used properly when it comes to Iowa River Landing.

David Fesler told KWWL in the past that he's upset TIF has received so much attention this election. He says he's running because he loves his town.

John Lundell approves of the city's use of TIF. He says the city's debt was planned and there's a plan to pay it back. He currently serves as a councilman.

Logan Strabala says to fix the city's debt the city needs to stop spending money. He's against the way TIF has been used. Strabala is just 18 years old and is a senior at Iowa City West High School. 

There are eight candidates running for three seats on the Coralville council. Two are incumbents.

Thomas Gill is concerned about the Moody's downgrades, but says the council built an entire community in the past 5-10 years. He says TIF is what made Coralville what it is. He is one of the incumbents in the race.

Laurie Goodrich says the council needs to listen to the experts it has hired to study the debt and do what they say.

Bill Hoeft says to pay the city's debt back, the city needs to make the Iowa River Landing successful as quickly as possible. He approves of using TIF. He is the other incumbent.

David Petsel says the debt is not sustainable and believes TIF was used improperly.

Jean Schnake says the flooding hurt Iowa River Landing and believes the city's plan to pay back debt is commendable. She thinks TIF should be used, but each situation needs to be looked at individually to make sure TIF makes sense.

Chris Turner believes the city needs to reduce leverage and sell assets if necessary. He also thinks the city relied on TIF too much.

John Weber says the city's debt was an investment and believes in the city's plan to pay it back. He did, however, say that the city may not to continue relying on TIF.

Mark Winkler believes the city's needs to listen to the experts that have been hired and do what they say when it comes to fixing the debt. He says government should not be involved in non-essential services, like owning businesses.
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