Costello: A second term
Chris Costello, 65, is a lifelong Marion resident, a banker and lawyer, and served as a school board member for two terms before being elected to Marion city council four years ago.
He’s running for a second term on the council because he enjoys the work and likes to give back to the community.
His experience as an attorney helps, he said.
“I think I can help the city better than others can,” Costello said.
The biggest issue he sees with the city right now is infrastructure.
“To me, getting our city in the best possible condition we can with the money we have,” Costello said. “That to me is the most important thing.”
He said he supported taking on debt in order to get things on track.
Asked how he would pay off debts for electric and water system upgrades, Costello said he supports rate increases, which he considers fair.
“We’ve got to use some taxes, and we’ve got to have the people who use it help pay for it,” Costello said.
Costello said he thinks city administrator Roger Holter has done a good job of finding grants and low-interest loans to pay for infrastructure work.
One thing he’d have done differently if he had the chance was to put out more information on the city’s plan to sell a drainage area in the industrial park to a dollar store.
He thinks the drainage area was not as important for drainage as the public believed.
“We should have put out more information in the paper,” he said. “Maybe we should have had a special meeting.”
If he gave grade cards to city staff, he’d give them A- to B+, he said.
“With the resources they have, we really don’t have enough resources to do everything,” he said. “I think we’re getting a good product for what we have to work with.”
Costello noted that Marion had a hard time getting people to move to the city before the pandemic.
A sales tax begun 20 years ago and near the end of its reason should be discontinued, he said.
“I don’t like sales tax,” Costello said. “It’s kind of the least fair tax because it hits the people with the least money the hardest.”
Costello said he is in favor of hiring a new economic development director, but wants some specific traits in the person hired.
“They need to be able to work with the people,” he said. “They’ve got to not just bring in the business, but they’ve got to keep it.”
The economic development director should go door-to-door and talk to businesses face-to-face, with an attitude of, “what can we do for you,” he said.
Costello said he hoped Marion can look at Hillsboro as an ally instead of a competitor. Cooperation could reduce spending, he said.
Rising drug use in the community and elsewhere is a huge problem, Costello said.
He’d like to see Marion police spend less time checking speeds and more time being a presence where there are problems.
“I would like to see a little more law enforcement involvement,” he said. “Maybe a little more presence.”
Costello said in working as a public defender he noticed the same suspects in court again and again.
“It’s like a homecoming,” he said.
Costello would be in favor of incorporating the county lake into the city, and find ways to better draw tourists to the lake, Marion Reservoir, and Pilsen’s Father Emil Kapaun museum.
He supports having accessible parking downtown and if the city needs to make changes to improve parking accessibility, that’s what they need to do, Costello said.
“We need to make it so everyone can come downtown without feeling like a second-class citizen,” Costello said.
Quality of life is important and Marion has a great way of life, he said.
Nevertheless, Costello said he is satisfied with the services of EBH engineering on the streetscape project.
He hopes a hike and bike trail gets developed.
“I think it’s a great plan and I hope we can do it,” Costello said.
Last modified Oct. 21, 2021