New aldermen heard voters' concerns
Newly elected aldermen Paul Radermacher and Roger Riedel have a pretty good idea of what their constituents expect from them.
Both men went door to door, talking to their neighbors, in the days leading up to the April 6 election. And both came away with a clear understanding that Hudson residents want them to keep city property taxes in check.
Radermacher knocked on doors in District 3, bounded roughly by 13th Street on the west, Vine Street on the north, Carmichael Road on the east and I-94 on the south. Riedel will represent District 4, lying just to the west of District 3 in the heart of the city.
Radermacher, a write-in candidate, defeated former District 4 Alderman Ronald Troyer and John Wohlers, another write-in candidate in the election. He collected 163 votes to Troyer's 134 and Wohlers' 45.
Troyer finished a close second despite announcing before the election that he was withdrawing from the race. He made the announcement too late to have his name taken off the ballot, however.
Riedel defeated Joanne "Jo" Richie 194-140 in the contest for the District 4 aldermanic seat, which James Mayer gave up to run for mayor.
"For the most part, everybody is generally happy with the city government. But there are some things we need to keep an eye on, like taxes," Radermacher said.
He said he shares his constituents' desire to maintain the tax rate at the present level or, better yet, reduce it.
Radermacher said he also would look into the change in water and sewer billing the city implemented last year that caused drastic increases in some homeowners' bills.
In the days leading up to the election, Radermacher also mentioned concerns about crime, the condition of streets and speeding vehicles.
"I think we can do some of that without increasing taxes, probably by shifting some resources," he said following the election. "It's really hard to say exactly what we're going to do until you get into office and see exactly where everything is going. But it's my belief that we should look to invest in our public works."
Riedel said he checked his property tax bills over the past 10 years, after mayoral candidate James Mayer challenged voters to do so, and found that city taxes rose just 9 percent in that time.
"So I think they've done a good job with taxes," Riedel said. "I hope people will understand that there are five entities going after their property taxes."
He said the state portion of the tax bill increased 101 percent over the same 10-year period.
Riedel sees managing the population of the Hudson area as a major challenge for the next City Council.
"If you drive out to the townships you'll see fields that have billboards on them that show how the land is already divided up into lots for houses," he said. "If the city of Hudson doesn't build one more house, we're still going to feel the impact from the population growth out in the townships."
Developers of the old Hudson Hospital site won't find much sympathy from either Riedel or Radermacher for their initial proposal for a 66-unit, multi-floor condominium building.
"That property, I believe, should go back to being single-family dwellings," said Riedel. "That's what the zoning is for it. That's what the neighbors want." The old hospital site is in Riedel's district.
"If the zoning is going to change, the residents around it are going to have to have a big say in what goes on," Radermacher said. "My belief is that whatever is built there should enhance the character of the neighborhood and not deter from it.... To propose a five-story high-rise I think is not in character with Hudson, the neighborhood."
Randy Hanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.