A retired veteran is challenging the incumbent mayor of Altamont in Tuesday’s election.
Jason Rippetoe, the incumbent, is 39 and a graduate of Altamont High School. He owns two businesses: J.H. Moore Inc., an electrical construction company and Castle Services LLC, an excavating and trucking company. Rippetoe is married to Amy and has two sons, Dakota, 18, and Ezekiel, 14, and one daughter, Riley, 10. He is a member of St. Clare Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus and Altamont Sports Boosters.
Clarence J. Pagel, 65, is retired, a graduate of Altamont High School and a United States Marine Corps veteran from 1972-74. He is married to Opal. He has a son, Jason, who is in his 28th year serving in the United States Marine Corps and holds the rank of Master Sergeant; and two daughters, Carey Timerman of Peoria, a United States Army veteran, and Valerie Pagel of Peoria. He has a stepson, Richard Purdy, and a stepdaughter, Angel Barnes. Pagel is a member of Grobengieser-Fischer American Legion Post 512.
Each answered questions submitted by the Effingham Daily News:
What motivated you to run for office?
Rippetoe: I decided to run to contribute back to my community and with my experience I thought it would be an advantage to the city.
Pagel: An attempt to integrate the everyday man into local government.
What do you feel qualifies you for the position?
Rippetoe: I believe my business background qualifies me for the position. When operating a business, you must know how to manage people, resources and budgets to the maximum efficiency to be successful. I believe that is what we need in local government where all these things are limited. Also having four years of experience as mayor, knowing what the position takes now will make me more efficient in the future.
Pagel: I can speak for the common man.
What sets you apart from your opponent?
Rippetoe: My business and construction experience sets me apart from my opponent. Having the experience of managing multiple businesses, knowing how liability, workers comp insurance works and how it affects the bottom line, and knowing the issues that you can have with human resources. My construction experience, which is mainly with IDOT, definitely sets me apart and gives me an advantage when planning and managing the construction project that the city undertakes to expand and grow. I am young and raising a family in this town and want to see it expand, grow, and flourish to its best ability.
Pagel: No Response
What are the most important issues specific to your race?
Rippetoe: I think one of the most important issues that Altamont faces is the aging infrastructure and how we can improve it without raising rates on the customers. With parts of our infrastructure that were installed as late as the 1920s and are still in use, we have to be proactive in the replacement and upgrades to the systems we have. We need to balance our spending so that we can make quality long-term improvements within the current budget constraints. We can do this with finding more efficient ways of operating and working hard on receiving grants. Another important issue that we need to address in Altamont is economic growth both commercial and residential. We started a TIF in my first year in office and this has spurred growth in Altamont, but we can do more. Growth in Altamont will increase revenues to the city and to the utility departments.
Pagel: I am in favor of implementing a solar farm and I am in favor of an enterprise zone.
What are some of the things you hope to get accomplished if elected?
Rippetoe: I want to continue to work on the growth of Altamont. We are currently working on an annexation of 40 acres into the city limits. This will open a lot of opportunity for commercial and industrial development in this area. I would also like to work on an annexation for a residential development as well in the next term. I believe that I have been very successful in working with landowners and developers to bring projects to Altamont and I will continue this work.
Drainage has always been an issue in Altamont. We have worked on this in my current term and I would continue this work going into the next. We have opened the larger water ways in town to move water faster out of the community. Now we need to expand in the residential areas and improve water flow to these waterways. I would also like to see some storm water retention areas constructed to help with the excess water in heavy rain that our current storm system can’t handle.
Pagel: Better communications between local people.
The Altamont mayor and commissioner candidates were scheduled to participate in a forum on Wednesday evening. Watch for a video of that forum Thursday at effinghamdailynews.com