Ottumwa voters will soon go to the polls for the city council primary. Each of the candidates for city council was asked a set of five questions. Here are the questions and the candidates' responses:
1. Why are you running for office?
2. What do you see happening with local economic development, and how would you advance development?
3. The city has codes to address dilapidated buildings. How would you encourage enforcement of those codes?
4. How would you improve Ottumwa's parks as a community resource? Do you support the Legacy Foundation's proposal to pay for a consultant to examine the parks?
5. What is your top priority if elected.
You can also click on the candidate's name to jump to their comments.
1. Caviness says he still feels he has something to add. A lifelong Ottumwan with almost 50 years in business, he pointed to his prior terms on the council as well.
“I actually enjoyed my first eight years of service,” he said. “I understand the anxiety downtown and I understand the anxiety in the community. I feel like I have some background and history I can work with.”
2. Caviness thinks property tax relief should help boost economic development efforts citywide. Recent developments with rehabilitation are encouraging, Caviness said, but the next challenge is redeveloping living space, particularly in the city's downtown district.
“When I say downtown, I'd like to include the South Side [Church Street district] too. I think people forget they're there.”
3. Balancing enforcement of codes with the rights of property owners is a delicate thing to do, Caviness said. While some codes specifically protect city and public property from damage, there must also be a recognition that a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works.