The 12-member Aurora City Council will have at least four new faces come May, and one of them will represent Ward 10 on the city's far east side.
The race to become the next Ward 10 alderman features a substitute teacher and a lawyer competing for the seat to be vacated by Alderman Lynda Elmore, who is not seeking re-election.
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Lynne Johnson, 48, a substitute teacher, said she's running as an informed citizen who wants to be more involved. When she became a voice for residents in the Plaza on New York subdivision concerned about a lack of enclosed parking planned for a nearby development, Johnson said neighbors suggested she run for alderman because she represented them well.
"I would love to be able to do that for the other neighborhoods" in the ward, Johnson said. "I want to get to know them and network with them and really be able to be their voice and maintain that quality that we really look for in our neighborhoods."
Judd Lofchie, 54, is a lawyer and also a commercial real estate broker/developer who ran unsuccessfully for alderman-at-large in 2011. He said he has accomplished positive change through work with the Rotary Club, Aurora Downtown and Aurora Business United, and he is running because he is committed to creating jobs and developing downtown.
"I have some great working relationships with a lot of people in Aurora already and I am, I think, respected," Lofchie said.
Johnson and Lofchie have different views about an alderman's role in the budgeting process, with Johnson saying an alderman should work with representatives in Springfield to decrease unfunded mandates, and Lofchie saying an alderman should develop a full understanding of the budget and ask tough questions.
Johnson said she would remember to serve her ward and look at the big picture when developing a budget such as the $396 million document outlining spending for this year. She said the city should continue to look for grants to balance out debt, such as the $10.8 million state grant helping fund $30 million in library improvements.
She also called state and federal mandates like a requirement to decrease overflows from the city's combined sewer system, "unfair" and said aldermen need to build relationships with officials in Springfield, such as former Ward 3 Alderman Stephanie Kifowit, who now is a state representative for the 84th District.
As far as setting city spending, Lofchie said it's an alderman's job to sort through hundreds of pages of financial documents and come to a complete understanding to make the best decisions for residents.
"The job is to really read it carefully," he said about the budget. "If you have questions, ask."
Requesting information or clarifications from Finance Director Brian Caputo or Alderman-at-Large Bob O'Connor, who leads the city council's finance committee, is something Lofchie said he has done in the past and is comfortable doing.
He praised the city council's recent decision to eliminate parking meters downtown as a business-friendly move that will help generate more sales tax revenue, despite initial concerns about the loss of income from meters.
Lofchie and Johnson are seeking a 4-year term in the April 9 election.
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