LIMA — Lima Council member Derry Glenn says he will stand on his record as a fighter for the 6th Ward as he seeks his fifth-term in office. He cites as accomplishments a drop in crime in the ward as well as a host of programs he’s initiated to benefit residents.
Challenger Cleven Jones disputes that record, contending Glenn tends to take too much credit for things he has no power over and launches programs with little or no follow-through.
The candidates freely traded barbs as they sat down recently with The Lima News to discuss the issues facing their ward and the city.
“Some of the concerns we’re finding when we talk to residents in the 6th Ward, crime-obviously is one, drugs are an issue. Residents want the neighborhoods to be safe and improve the quality of life,” said Jones, who is a pastor at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Lima.
“Some of the things we look forward to doing is making sure that our police department is adequately staffed. Community policing is a good idea. It works and we want to make sure that those things are working good,” Jones added.
Glenn says he’s been busy working on all those areas.
“First of all, if you look at the stats, the 6th Ward does not have the highest crime rate in the city of Lima, which I’m excited about,” Glenn said. “We haven’t been No. 1 in crime for the last five or six years. Crime is all over the city of Lima, but we are working on it. Spend time, the COP officer doing the walk the beat now. I like what Chief (Kevin) Martin (is) doing, bringing Coffee with the Cops. In going door-to-door, most of them are saying they are concerned with housing issues. They are looking out for the neighborhood and want more houses built.”
Glenn has proposed the 6th Ward Housing Assistance Program, an effort to get donations from local businesses to help residents make home repairs.
“(We’ll be) having the private sector help us out,” said Glenn. “(If you spend) five or more years in your home you will have some kind of assistance there to help with your roofing, windows, heating and plumbing. Those are the problems that when people get to a certain age they can’t afford to fix. Poling Construction Company will be working beside me on this.”
Jones remains concerned about dilapidated homes in Lima.
“When those homes become so dilapidated where they’re uninhabitable where you can’t live in them, one way or the other, the houses are flagged to be torn down by the city,” said Jones. “We can’t have it both ways. We can’t talk about $80,000 homes and dilapidated houses that elected officials own that’s slated to be torn down. To me, that’s just not a good example of trying to revitalize or have a good optic for your properties there. We need affordable home ownership and we need livable wages so people can afford homes and actually buy. I think if we get young people into home ownership they would take more pride in their neighborhoods and our neighborhoods would be better as the result of it.”
With the nation heading for a possible recession, the candidates were asked how they would deal with it to make sure it doesn’t adversely affect city government.
“That’s a tough one,” said Glenn. “We’re looking it over right now. What we’re doing now is we’re making sure we’re cutting back on spending. We don’t want any layoffs. You’ve got to be creative. If we go into a recession we’ll be in top shape. (Lima Finance Director) Steve (Cleaves) is working on making sure that we don’t go over the budget.”
Jones noted, “I work for a corporation that’s probably right in the middle of an economic downturn and you just have to be fiscally responsible in preparing for any downturn as it affects the economy nationally, state or local. We just have to look at all kinds of spending and just have to cut back and make sure everything is done in a more responsible way.”
Both agree safety services shouldn’t be touched.
“Safety is No. 1,” said Glenn. “The fire department, the police department, we want to make sure the financial status is very good. Every city council member would tell you that. Then next in line we always look at our neighborhood associations, but safety comes first.”
Jones countered, “Obviously, if things start to slow down safety services would have to be a big thing that we definitely wouldn’t want to look at scaling back on but if there’s other areas we can look at scaling back on we certainly have to do that, but safety would be a number one concern. we would hope that we wouldn’t have to go down that avenue to affect safety services at all.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.