October 10, 2017

Both candidates vying for Carroll’s 3rd Ward City Council seat, the only contested election on November’s ballot, voiced support for the city’s upcoming library and City Hall renovations.

Incumbent Clay Haley and challenger Jean Ludwig spoke with members of the Carroll Rotary Club Monday.

They fielded several questions about the upcoming library/City Hall improvements and both agreed that they support the project, which will update both City Hall and the Carroll Public Library in the next few years, as it stands.

“The vote has been held and the project is in progress and I have every expectation it will be fine,” Ludwig said, adding that the commitment of the Carroll Library Foundation to raise $2.5 million for the project is a vital piece of the project’s success.

During his first term on council, Haley has voted multiple times to move forward the project, which will shift City Hall to the Commercial Savings Bank building donated to the city and expand the library within the Farner Government Building — a final proposal after more than a decade of debate and failed plans to renovate the library.

“We voted on the library and watched this be a source of division in our community for 12 years,” Haley said.

“What an opportunity we have to move forward. The people have spoken, we’re moving forward, we have a plan.

We’ll do everything we can to keep costs down.

“I feel I can help bring us together, heal up some of the division that has come from the library (vote) and keep Carroll moving forward.”

Ludwig has lived in Carroll for 51 years.

She was one of the first women admitted to the Carroll Rotary Club in the 1980s and has served as the club’s president. She also serves on the Carroll Chamber of Commerce’s legislative committee, was on the Chamber’s board in the 1990s and serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

She studied nursing and eventually transitioned to business, retiring several years ago from her work as a financial adviser at Bank of the West.

“As a 51-year resident of Carroll, I’ve seen a lot of progress, and I look forward to being a part of that progress,” Ludwig said.

Haley was born in Carroll and raised in Wall Lake. He’s been back in Carroll since 2009 and was first elected to council in 2013. He owns Haley Equipment in Carroll.

“This is where I want my family to be for generations,” he said. “Carroll is very near and dear to me.”

Being a member of council doesn’t involve just rubber-stamping agenda items but applying the views, beliefs and requests of Carroll residents, Haley said.

“We’re trying to develop a better Carroll for all of us and do it in a responsible way,” he said.

It’s the job of council members to address the less “sexy” items as well, Haley said — water-quality improvements, staff hiring and more.

“I want to keep building Carroll,” he said. “I want to keep making it a place where we can draw people in. We’ve done a good job of building this town on generations of people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.”

Haley also pointed out wastewater discharge, workforce development and housing and budget planning as items that will need to be addressed in the coming years.

Both Ludwig and Haley vowed to address workforce development and housing, which Haley said are impossible to separate — even the most attractive jobs won’t bring in new residents if they don’t have a place to live.

For Ludwig, that means drawing alumni back to the Carroll area to work and live.

“Our alumni from our high schools are successful in their work and may be amenable to bring their families back where they were raised,” she said.

She noted the city’s compact nature is a draw when compared to half-hour commutes in larger cities.

“Time is an asset we need to sell in this town,” she said.

Ludwig also said she wants to look into improvements to the city’s street maintenance building and the Carroll Recreation Center in the coming years.

Both candidates said they were open to further exploring the possibility of mitigating train-horn noise in Carroll, a topic that has reached the City Council table for years.

One of the tasks of council members is to market the city, the candidates told Rotary members Monday — and it has a lot to offer, they said.

“This community has always been progressive,” Haley said. “It’s always welcomed people. It’s a jewel in western Iowa.

“This is a wonderful community. It’s a place where people want to be.”