Joe Rogers is the owner of Rogers Mens Wear. He served as mayor of Monticello from 2007 until 2010.
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of candidate profiles of the five candidates for Monticello mayor. Each candidate is running in a special election in June to complete the term of the late mayor Allen Maxwell which ends on December 31. They are also running in the November General Election for the upcoming 4-year term which begins January 1, 2015. In this series of unedited interviews, candidates were asked to respond in writing to 12 questions. The series will run through Saturday.
SEARK TODAY: Do you think there are budget areas in which the city is spending too much and/or not enough money? Explain.
JOE ROGERS: I believe the city council is doing a good job with the funds they have to use. There are always areas that need more but our resources are limited.
SEARK TODAY: Do you anticipate a need to increase city water, garbage and/or sewer rates during the next four years?
ROGERS: Water, garbage and sewer rates should be adjusted based on cost and inflation rates, and this should be done on a regular basis, not after five or ten years of not being responsible.
SEARK TODAY: Would you support or oppose an initiative to get the wet/dry issue on the ballot in Marion Township? Why?
ROGERS: Neither one. The voters in our township have voted to ban sales of alcohol. If the voters change the law I will do all I can to make it safe for all.
SEARK TODAY: How would you build consensus in a community with a broad range of competing interests and demands?
ROGERS: Listen to every citizen with respect; maintain an open door policy at city hall. Use committees made up of a broad sampling of the community to air issues to get the best options to address those issues.
SEARK TODAY: Do you have a four-year plan, illustrating your vision for the city, in the event you are elected? If so, what are the primary points in that plan? Be as concise as possible.
ROGERS: We need to continue to support our existing business and industry, medical facilities, schools and university. We need to continue to support the effort to bring in new industry with the MEDC and the Drew County Chamber of Commerce. We need to continue to support our law enforcement agencies to lower crime and we need to work to lower our ISO rating to save our homeowners money. We need to continue efforts to clean up our city. I think we need to reinstate a city festival of some sort to promote the city.
SEARK TODAY: Explain why you chose to run as a Democrat, Republican or independent (whichever applies to you).
ROGERS: I ran as an Independent to make it clear that I will work for all citizens without regard for party affiliation.
SEARK TODAY: Describe the ideal mayor.
ROGERS: Fair, honest, loves the city, approachable, with a vision, willing to work hard and someone that will listen to the people’s opinions before making a decision.
SEARK TODAY: What can you bring to this position that your opponents cannot?
ROGERS: Experience, contacts at the city, county and state level. I have knowledge of all aspects of city operations and departments and their operations and responsibilities. Thirty years of successful business experience.
SEARK TODAY: If your name was not on the ballot, which one of your opponents would you vote for and why?
ROGERS: At this time I don’t know enough about each of the other candidates to make an informed choice.
- Situational (Hypothetical) Questions:
SEARK TODAY: You have $1 million. You can (hypothetically) appropriate it to any one or all of the following areas: Economic Development, Recreation, Capital Improvements, and/or Infrastructure. How would you appropriate it and why?
ROGERS: The first $300,000 would go to upgrade the west lagoon of our sewer system. This area is in need of additional capacity for the Intermodal project on 278 West. I would spend $100,000 on youth programs and retain the balance to create an incentive fund to help bring in new industry to Monticello.
SEARK TODAY: A heated city council meeting begins to get out of control. How do you address it?
ROGERS: As mayor, I would not allow a meeting to get out of control.
SEARK TODAY: Two of your strongest supporters come to you, with competing interests, asking for your support. How do you respond?
ROGERS: Give their request the same consideration that all requests are given, and make the best choice for the city. Personalities, support or lack of support should not be a consideration in decisions by the mayor.