The five candidates seeking four open seats on the Altamont city council answered questions from the Effingham Daily News.
Is there any reason that motivated you to run for office?
Terry D. White: The need for a member of the community to serve the citizens of Altamont with a progressive, positive attitude and I currently have the time necessary to be an effective member of the City of Altamont government.
Todd V. Slingerland: I feel that a member of a society should contribute how ever they can to make the place they live in better. I felt that I could do this by running for a position on the City Council and feel that, with the help of those departments I am in charge of, I have been working to do just that.
Michael R. Walker: I have always wanted to be more involved in my community ….I started by joining the Altamont Lions Club 13 years ago and since then have volunteered my time for several community events such as fundraisers, food drives and coaching. The more involved I have become the more I wanted to share my experience both in work and in life to add to Altamont. I would like to collaborate with others who have the same passion as I do for our community.
Dan Milleville: I was appointed to city council Sept. 25, 2017, and was sworn in as Commissioner of Parks and Cemeteries on Oct. 9, 2017. I want to continue serving and carrying forward efforts started while serving as Parks and Cemeteries Commissioner.
Tayler Polk: My family. I grew up in Altamont and want to make sure that the city remains a great place for my children to grow up in.
What do you feel qualifies you for the position?
Terry D. White: Have been a "Main Street" business in Altamont since 1976, previous grant administration with the National Road Association of Illinois and extensive background in budget administration, HR and policy administration. Previous affiliation with the city through an extensive contract with the electrical department.
Todd V. Slingerland: The willingness to make a better place.
Michael R. Walker: I have lived in the community since 2005 and have a strong understanding of what makes Altamont great. I have worked for several large organizations in my career and during that time have learned how to work with others to achieve goals. I have been able to develop strong relationships with not only those I work with but with others outside of the organization.
Dan Milleville: I have lived in Altamont in East Meadows Subdivision for 24 years. I have had a very diverse career having worked in Agribusiness in various positions in finance, sales and marketing. After returning to Altamont in 1995, I assisted on my family farm while working as bookkeeper.
Tayler Polk: Owning a small business gives me the advantage of knowing how to set a budget. With a small community like Altamont, you must stretch every dollar and I know how to do just that.
What sets you apart from your opponents?
Terry D. White: My upbringing taught me two things: work hard and help others and to maintain a high ethical standard. A city commissioner should do just that. I have lived in Altamont since 1994 and maintained a business interest in the community since 1976. The citizens of Altamont deserve fairness and equity and I would work toward that goal. With that said, my "Main Street" business background, my previous knowledge of the infrastructure of Altamont, knowledge and previous administration of grants and my accessibility to the public I believe I would be a good fit for the position of commissioner.
Todd V. Slingerland: Besides running for re-election, the ability to offer the time and effort to the council, the city, and those who work in those departments.
Michael R. Walker: I honestly feel the other candidates share the same passion I do for the city of Altamont but I believe that my experience and work history allows me to bring a different perspective to the position.
Dan Milleville: I am retired and have been able to be available to address concerns in a timely manner and attend meetings as required.
Tayler Polk: I’m a small business owner and have a young, growing family. I believe that my views and goals for the city will be parallel with a large amount of my fellow Altamont residents.
What are the most important issues specific to your race?
Terry D. White: To vote responsibly for the utilization of city funds, to promote the economic development of the city, to maintain transparency within city government, to insist that short and long-term goals of the city are made public to the community members on a regular basis.
Todd V. Slingerland: Getting four members of a community to work together to keep the community solvent in this time of uncertainty for those in Springfield.
Michael R. Walker: In my opinion, I feel we need to look at Altamont’s future, as well as what issues need our current attention. We cannot continue to look back at mistakes made. We need to learn from them but look ahead to what we can do better. A few items that I feel are important is to continue to invite commercial growth, improve property value through compliance with city standards, and develop long-term plans to improve infrastructure.
Dan Milleville: Keeping an open mind and be the best listener to the citizens we serve.
Tayler Polk: Growing the community and getting young families/individuals to choose Altamont to start their family and business. It’s about setting up the future generation with a community to prosper in.
What are some of the things you hope to get accomplished if elected?
Terry D. White: That specifically would depend on the area that I would be assigned to but would diligently work to benefit the citizens of Altamont to the best of my ability and to promote business and residential projects within the community.
Todd V. Slingerland: If re-elected and still placed in charge of the Water and Waste Water departments, finding ways to make upgrades and improvements to both systems while keeping from raising the cost of doing just that.
Michael R. Walker: I would like be able to improve the park facilities of the city. These areas of the city are highly used by several different groups and require a lot of upkeep and repair. We have many people willing to support the city and volunteer their time to maintain the playgrounds, ball diamonds, basketball courts, etc. and it will be one of my goals to tap into this support to make our city parks even more enjoyable for everyone.
Dan Milleville: Altamont has some very beautiful parks. It is my goal to continue to address concerns and work to improve them and ensure they are maintained in a way that will suit the citizens and visitors that utilize them.
Tayler Polk: The number one priority is to make the right decisions for the city to make it a desirable place for more businesses to start up and more families to settle down all while keeping the great people we already have. Together we can make a difference!
Terry D. White, 61, is a graduate of Altamont High School, a licensed paramedic, attended Devry Institute of Technology where he received a degree in Electronic Technology, certified CAGA appraiser and graduate of Missouri School of Auction. White is an appraiser for White Auctions and Appraisal Service, an electrician for ATVA Electrical Contractors and owner of Main Street Antiques and Collectibles. He is divorced and has two children, Aaron, married, who has one daughter and Amber, married, who has twin daughters and a son. His past memberships include 911 board member, past board member and secretary/treasurer of National Road Association of Illinois, Executive Director of the Altamont Living Museum, former Altamont Fire Department firefighter holding offices as assistant fire chief and secretary/treasurer, past member of the Altamont Jaycees and past director and vice president of the Illinois Ambulance Association. He is currently a member of the Altamont Living Museum, Immanuel Lutheran Church and a CAGA-affiliated personal property appraiser.
Todd V. Slingerland, 57, is incumbent City of Altamont Commissioner of Water and Waste Water, graduate of the Altamont School System and Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. He is a semi and charter bus CDL driver, has been married 28 years to Carrie Jo Slingerland and has two children, Zoey and Toby. Slingerland is a member of Grobengieser-Fischer American Legion Post 512, Altamont Schuetzenfest Inc. Board of Directors, member of the Edgewood Masonic Lodge 484 and member of the St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church.
Michael Walker, 51, has a bachelor degree from Eastern Illinois University. He is married to Kendra Walker and has a daughter, Lauren Walker, and a son, Alex Walker. Walker is business development representative at Heartland Dental. He is a member of the Altamont Lions Club, Altamont Educational Foundation, Elder at Immanuel Lutheran Church of Altamont and a veteran of the United States Air Force.
Dan Milleville, 66, is incumbent City of Altamont Commissioner of Parks and Cemeteries, a 1970 graduate of Altamont High School, attended Lake Land College and transferred through the Ag program in 1972 to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Business and Economics in 1974. He is retired and lives with his wife, Brenda. He has two sons and two grandchildren living in Decatur. Milleville is a member of St. Paul ELCA Lutheran Church of Altamont, where he serves as trustee for the St. Paul Cemetery Association and member of the Pastoral Call Committee.
Tayler Polk, 28, is a graduate of Altamont High School and owns TaylerMade Construction. Polk is married to Jessica Polk and has two children, Kinze, 7, and Dax, 2. He is a member of the Altamont Chamber of Commerce, YBNext and is a St. Clare Catholic Church parishioner.