HENDERSON, Ky (WEHT) – The elections for Evansville’s City Council are fast approaching, and in the 2nd Ward, Maytes Rivera is looking to unseat Missy Mosby, who is seeking a fifth term on the council.
Both candidates feel repairs are needed to the Ford Center, but both said there were other ways to pay for the repairs.
“I do believe we need to do the necessary renovations, so we can keep it up to date. It’s also part of quality of life. We want to bring great entertainment, and for that we need to make sure we’re up to date,” Rivera said. “I do believe we can find other ways in our budget to fix certain things at the Ford Center without having to lease the streets. If we decide leasing the streets are important, I would love to see more communication with the residents.”
“I absolutely did support the upgrades, but I felt this should have been maintained and brought up to us before it was an urgent need where it has to be done,” Mosby said. “I voted no for leasing the streets because I feel that another $500,000 a year payment for the next ten years is fair to our taxpayers.”
Rivera says the city can do better when addressing the concerns of the 2nd Ward’s public parks. Mosby said the parks are in “desperate need of repair and maintenance” and explained what steps she has taken to address this.
“One thing we did do is added another crew for our park’s department,” she said. “I also feel like we need to make sure we have money for repair maintenance, taking care of any issues that come up in our parks. I get calls all the time about the situations in our parks. One thing I have been implementing is I work with my neighborhood associations, and we do clean ups in the parks and walkthroughs.”
Roberts Park was one of Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s main areas of focus since taking office, and both candidates agreed taking care of what the city already has before setting money on something else comes first.
“I support any quality-of-life areas that can provide our citizens of Evansville with recreational and family time. I do believe before we set any money on anything else, we need to take care of the parks that we already have, maintain them and make sure they are up to date before we go and start new projects,” Rivera said.
“I was one of those council members that questioned Roberts Park for the 12 years our mayor has been mayor, and although I think that is a wonderful and beautiful project, I don’t feel that we should be doing anything with that until we maintain, upgrade and repair our current parks as several of our parks, especially in the 2nd Ward, have been in much need of repair and maintenance,” Mosby said. “No, I don’t support doing anything to Roberts Park right now until we can take care maintain what we currently have.”
Mosby also said another area of focus for her has been making sure Lorraine Pool is kept open.
Both candidates also commented they feel the strain of rising utility bills, and Rivera said money in the budget needs to be found and partnering with utility companies would be a way to lower costs of bills.
Mosby said she is open to setting up a task force, and seeing what is available or seeking out new grants.
“I know just from going and talking to people that it is a struggle with everything that is increasing,” she said. “I would be open to working with the next administration to see what we can do and see what funds are available so we could help people. It’s very sad when you go and talk to people what current struggles people are having right now just to be able to keep a roof over their head and their utilities on.”
With the recent challenges for public safety, Rivera states it is not something that can be put to the side.
“I know lately we have heard all about AEDs and the need for more equipment, and it’s not a choice. It’s not something we can continue to put aside,” she said. “We need to find the money in the budget to make sure we are equipping the most important part of our city, which is public safety. The money needs to be found. We need to make sure we are looking at that budget, working with our budget all year long, not only when it is time to review it whether that is through fundraising, looking at the budget, whichever way we can try to get this money. It’s sad what they are going through. EPD has not only not the right equipment, but they don’t have the right training and payrolls.
Mosby also pointed to the payroll issues for the Evansville Police and Fire Departments and said what other things she fought for.
“I think they rank 67th in pay, which is ridiculous for the size of city we are,” she said. “I voted against the mayor and city clerk’s increase in salaries because I felt that absolutely was not fair to do those types of increases when our city police and fire department aren’t paid what they need to be paid. I also fought to make sure we had cancer screenings in the budget for our fire department along with physicals for our police department. I also was fighting for our police officers to have AEDs that work, and some of our cars don’t have AEDs. I feel there is so much more we need to be doing for our police and fire departments to make sure they can keep us safe, but we keep them safe during their jobs. For the last 15 years, public safety has always been my number one concern and priority.”
Every city council representative has to make zoning votes, and Rivera thinks each instance is a case-by-case basis.
“I think we need to look at each case individually, and we need to make sure we are taking business into consideration,” she said. “I am all for economic development and growth. I would love to see more business in our area, especially in the 2nd Ward, but each case is different. Depending on the case, I would love to make sure that every time we get a case in front of the city council, we are talking to the residents and making sure we are not disturbing their peace and their safety and finding solutions so we can bring more businesses.”
Mosby says when zoning votes come up, she reaches out to people that live in the 2nd Ward about what would be best for the area and gave an example of a proposed gas station at a busy intersection.
“We had a piece of property at Washington and Vann that they were trying to rezone for a gas station and convenience store at a very busy intersection, which the residents were up in arms,” she explained. “That location is one of the busiest intersections where we have a lot of accidents already. We felt like this was not a good fit. It was going to add more accidents to that intersection. When I found out this was going on, I immediately contacted the neighborhood association. We worked with that developer, and they did not even come in front of the council for that rezoning because they knew everyone was against it. I take a very proactive response in the 2nd Ward, trying to find out what developers want to do. If it’s going to be an issue with my constituents, we try to get it resolved.”
She commented that the same space is going to be a duplex and explains Evansville needs more housing that is affordable.
“We need to search out grants and see what is available,” she said. “We need to make sure we have money in our Affordable Housing Trust Fund, so we can work with developers that meet those guidelines so more homes like Habitat can be built.”
When it comes to possible budget cuts, Rivera said adequate funding needs to be available and making sure the right amount gets allocated.
Mosby again pointed to the raises the mayor and city clerk got and said it shouldn’t have been that high when police and fire need to be paid more along with every city employee only receiving a 1% raise next year.
Both candidates closed by making their stance for why they deserve to be on the council. Rivera pointed to the need for infrastructure, public safety and economic development.
“In the 2nd Ward, infrastructure is one that’s big. I have done lots of door knocking and talking to our residents, and the importance of speed bumps is something we need. We have a lot of kids that play in our area and a lot of drivers that are not paying attention. We need to make sure speed bumps are there, but public safety being adequately funded for training and for equipment, so we can continue to sleep safely in our homes. Economic development, the 2nd Ward has a lot of opportunity for new businesses. I want to make sure we can bring new businesses and new traffic to the area and grow the economic development, but making sure the businesses here continue to thrive. I want to make it as easy for residents of the 2nd Ward to not have to go anywhere else if they didn’t have to. I want to make it accessible for them. For that, we need to partner up with the city, with different business owners to make sure we are thriving.”
Mosby pointed back to public parks, making sure Lorraine Pool stays open and issues with roads.
“I can’t add money to the budget, but I can make suggestions to the next administration of what I want to see,” she started. I want to make sure our parks are maintained, and we upgrade and do what needs to be done. That is a huge quality of life issue for people living in the 2nd Ward and surrounding wards as well. I want to make sure Lorraine Pool stays open because it is a huge asset to the 2nd Ward, and it is a great opportunity for kids to go swimming. If kids are doing that, then they’re less apt to do something that’ll get them into trouble. Plus, our roads, we drive around and there’s a lot of potholes and a lot of issues, so we need to see what we can do to start improving our roads and the sidewalks in the area.”