Before the April 4 election, my opponents said I “didn’t listen to my constituents” and that I am a “big spender.” This letter is to set the record straight.

Before the April 4 election, my opponents said I “didn’t listen to my constituents” and that I am a “big spender.” This letter is to set the record straight.

On July 5, 2016, I voted to approve the riverfront redevelopment plan that did not include a marina (Plan C). On that day, there were 23 boat slips rented in the marina. The redevelopment plan that included a marina (Plan B) would have cost $855,000 more than Plan C or $37,173.91 for each boat slip occupied. My wife and I bought a 2-bedroom house in Oakwood for less than that.

Even if a new marina attracted twice as many boaters, it would still cost $18,586.96 per boater. This is your tax money. I did not think it would be fair for the taxpayers of Hannibal to spend that huge amount of money to benefit just a few boaters. After the meeting, several citizens made it a point to tell me I wasn’t listening to them. However, I did talk to a number of constituents. Once I explained my reason for voting the way I did, over 60 percent of them agreed with the vote.

Just because I did not support Plan B does not mean that I do not support a marina. In fact, I supported building a new marina south of Bear Creek during a Phase 2 of the redevelopment plan. I even pledged $1,000 of my own money toward development of that idea with an additional pledge in 2017 if it was matched by private-sector funds. No one has come forward offering to match my pledge. I made two payments toward that pledge totaling $650 before the Parks & Recreation Department and our consulting engineers came up with a revision to Plan C (Plan D) that would include a marina, but at no additional cost over Plan C. I then voted to approve Plan D. Thus, we taxpayers got a riverfront with a marina, but saved $855,000.

Starting in January, I started monthly “Coffee With Your Councilman” meetings at Logue’s restaurant on a Saturday morning so anyone wanting to talk with me about anything could do so in an informal setting. During the January and March meetings, NO ONE showed up. However, at the Feb. 18 event, six citizens came to talk. I listened to everyone and was able to help some. However, I was not able to satisfy everyone’s requests for various reasons. If I am re-elected, I will continue these monthly meetings.

More recently, the Council was asked to approve a contract for electricity that would come from wind energy. Because this contract would supply electricity at a substantial savings over our current supplier, thus saving Hannibal ratepayers a lot of money, I had to vote to approve the contract.

It would be fair to ask my opponent how he would have voted on these issues.

Do I listen to constituents? Am I a big spender? Judge for yourself.

I would appreciate your vote on April 18.

— Gordon Ipson, 5th Ward, Hannibal City Council