I was born and raised in Carterville and as most kids do, I left for a few years. My husband and I chose to move back to the area to be near family. Shortly after we moved back to the Webb City, my parents offered to sell their home to us. I am a bit sentimental about houses and my husband knew then he should start packing. Our home has been in our family for over 50 years and my husband and I continue to remodel and add on for our growing family and our work family. After living in St. Louis, Oklahoma and on the Mexican border in Texas, I am appreciative of the small town spirit of Carterville. Generations of families still choose to make their homes here and I’m so excited for the future as we continue to grow and improve!
As Mayor Pro-tem, I fill in when the Mayor is absent. I am also a member of the Finance committee and have actively participated in almost every work and planning session. I research, come prepared with questions and ideas and work with other Council members. We must address not only existing problems but also opportunities and challenges in the future. Here's just a few of the opportunities I've had since I joined Council in 2018.
PUBLIC SAFETY / NUISANCE
In the beginning of my term, citizens asked for cleanup of dangerous nuisance properties. Councilperson Warren Myers and I championed earmarking a portion of the City Use Tax for acquisition or remediation of dangerous properties. The Police continued to actively issue nuisance violations, worked with property owners to find solutions including enforcement through the Courts, and the City stepped up to acquire several properties from delinquent tax sales with the Use Tax funds. Since 2018, almost 20 properties have been remediated.
Another challenge early in my tenure, was poor radio signal to our police patrol cars. I worked with the Police Chief, JASCO and radio manufacturers to find solutions to make our officer's safer and more effective.
In 2018, I began to research a stalled water well project in Johnstown. Working with the DNR and the EPA, I was able to remedy misconceptions that it was not a viable project. It is now scheduled for completion in Spring 2022. This well will provide increased water pressure for Johnstown, provide a secondary source of water for the entire community and allow growth on the East side of Highway 171.
In February 2021, our local weather broke records for both the intensity and longevity of extreme cold temperatures. When the cold hit, a contractor was cleaning the inside of the water tower. Throughout the region, homeowners let faucets drip and water supply lines fractured reducing pressure in the system. This unprecedented demand for water and the lack of a buffer from the tower put unusual strain on our well pump and caused a system failure. At the same time, neighboring communities were unable to provide water due to diminished water pressure in their own systems. While the Mayor was out of town on business, I worked with the City Manager and our Public Works to look for solutions. I reached out to elected officials and various State agencies for emergency funding. I was able to locate an emergency CDBG grant that funded the costs not covered by our City insurance plan. The City was able to hire a well driller, purchase needed equipment, acquire State permits and install a better, higher capacity well in record time. Simultaneously, I helped Councilperson Larry Wald unload palletize water and then worked curbside to distribute it to citizens for emergency drinking water. My husband and I also worked with Wasche Laundromat and personally paid for a free laundry day for Carterville citizens.
When I joined Council, our City accounting software was difficult to maintain and lacked clear financial reporting. I worked with City employees and our auditor to identify a new accounting system and transition the records. Starting with the 2021-2022 budget, the new system is more user friendly for staff and produces clearer, easier to understand financial statements.
Every time I volunteer, it reminds me why I work for Carterville. I've worked with the Great Day of Service to clean up storm damage at the Cemetery. I've distributed water during disasters and I've served citizens pasta during the Park Committee fundraiser. Most recently, I helped kids craft the perfect letter to Santa at the City Cookies with Santa event. During each event, we've been honored to meet both citizens and those that just care about this community.
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