Endorsement: Mervine for Aurora, Ward 8
Incumbent Rick Mervine faces challengers Chris Beykirch and Paul Mandrik for alderman in Aurora's 8th Ward. Beykirch previously was elected four times to the city council in Aurora, serving from 1995 until 2008, when he stepped down to become the city's small business coordinator and Mervine was appointed to replace him. Mandrik has served as a precinct committeeman and is a 20-year resident of Aurora.
When asked about the council's priorities as the economy improves, Beykirch, now employed by an Aurora company, expressed concern for creating a plan to address the viability of the Fox Valley Mall. Mervine indicated he sought input last year from economic development personnel at the city to explore solutions to keep the Fox Valley Mall viable. Mandrik expressed concern for foreclosures in the Georgetown subdivision.
Regarding finances, Beykirch expressed concern about "quantifying the success of projects" of the council's choosing. Mervine maintains that a healthy level of accountability is in place. Beykirch also suggested tax rates may be out of line in Aurora when compared to neighboring towns such as Naperville. Mervine said he would like to moderate the sales tax rate as the economy improves. Mandrik says that property and sales taxes "are about right at their current levels"
Mervine has been as active a participant in city council as one might like, but it is his ability to see opportunities for Ward 8 residents in the challenges such as the Route 59 road construction and financial planning that sets him apart. He talks about the positive impact of the Route 59 construction as motorists have been exposed to businesses along Eola Road as they choose that as an alternate route.
Beykirch is very direct in saying that concern for Route 59 travel and the conclusion of construction is not foremost on constituents' minds. Mandrik acknowledges the myriad improvements the conclusion of construction will bring.
Ultimately, Mervine's background in strategic planning meshes well with the gold of implementing the use of public funds wisely as the economy continues its recovery. Mervine is endorsed.