BY CALEB ALEXANDER
There will be a new mayor in New Baden starting May 1. It will be one of three men seeking the office in the election next Tuesday.
One of those candidates, Rafael Him, has many definite ideas for making it a better community. The other two have been silent when it comes to offering any such substantial, constructive ideas.
It is not that difficult to see the merit in Mr. Him’s suggestions and pledges if he is chosen to be the mayor. They are based on common sense and foresight. Also sound fiscal judgment, like not raising taxes, watching expenses carefully, scrutinizing where every dollar goes.
He says he will not accept a salary for serving as mayor. Instead, he will donate it to charitable causes. Examples are groups which will make New Baden a better community like the Park Boosters, the Jaycees, the American Legion adopt-a-highway program, the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, many more.
Mr. Him has shown how he has given serious thought to improving the village, unlike the others who have not presented any such ideas. He has the experience as a military service veteran, business owner and government official to be able to perceive community needs with his powers of observation and develop solutions by being analytical.
Because he understands, from his duty with the United States Air Force, which included flying many combat missions, that teamwork is essential for success, Mr. Him hopes to initiate that spirit everywhere in New Baden.
He has the knowledge of how government works and how it should work for the benefit of the people who have elected the decision makers. Rafael Him was on the New Baden Village Board for two years then went on to another six years with the Clinton County Board. The other two men running for mayor each have been on the village board since 2017.
There are many pet owners in town. How nice it would be, he believes, if New Baden had a dog park like many other communities. A place where dogs can be taken to roam and run and enjoy the outdoors. It would not cost very much, only for some fencing and a plot of ground, many good lots exist in the village that would be ideal for this purpose.
He favors supporting New Baden businesses, not stifling them. Him said he would Vote Yes for new businesses and promote a business friendly atmosphere. Encouraging them to prosper is good for them, good for the town. But it is good too for the citizens because those businesses pay sales tax that the village gets a share of. If there is more sales tax coming to the village, then the residents won’t have as heavy of a tax burden. Sales tax is not just paid by the people who live here. It is paid by the visitors also. Bring them in off the interstate, attract them to come to New Baden from other nearby communities. Common sense.
People who attended the candidates forum at the American Legion heard other progressive, money-saving ideas from Him. Partner up with a neighboring community or township to do snow removal or street maintenance, cutting the costs for each of them doing it on their own.
There’s streets and roads in New Baden needing repairs. This costs money. The talk of an expensive automated water meter reading system has been going on until just recently when it all of a sudden became quiet. Rafael Him can’t understand why the village would want to invest money into something like that when there are more pressing needs requiring attention.
You plan ahead for the future. Him supports putting together a strategic long range plan for New Baden. Think forward beyond the present. Keep taxes down and look harder for grant money. Cut expenses now so that money will be there in the years ahead for projects without just finding it by increasing taxes.