BLOOMINGTON — Guadalupe “Lupe” Diaz III says the first thing he will do as Ward 5 alderman is hold a public forum about the new lower speed limit on Hershey Road.
“Right now the top problem in Ward 5 is a lot of neighbors are talking about the speed limit change on Hershey Road; that's the biggest issue in Ward 5,” said Diaz.
The April 4 election for the Bloomington City Council seat will be the second contest between Diaz and incumbent Joni Painter, who was appointed by Mayor Tari Renner in 2014 to fill a vacancy created by Jennifer McDade's resignation.
Diaz noted an online petition has about 750 supporters who want the 30 mph speed limit returned to 35 mph or 40 mph.
Painter, 61, of 1903 Hedgewood Drive, is retired. Diaz, 40, of 1218 Orchard Road, is employed as a manager. Last year, Painter beat Diaz to fill out the remainder of McDade's term, which expires in April.
Diaz said he is running again because he thinks Painter isn't listening to ward residents.
“I would say I gave this a great deal of thought and did what my constituents wanted,” Painter said March 14 after the speed limit issue was raised at a candidates forum.
Since 2014, residents in several Ward 5 subdivisions have raised concerns about speeding motorists on Hershey Road, Painter said. After 166 people, primarily from Spring Ridge, signed a petition to reduce the speed limit, Painter brought the matter to the council. By a unanimous vote on Dec. 19, the council reduced the speed limits on Hershey Road between Rainbow Avenue and Fort Jesse Road to 30 mph.
Painter disputed Diaz's claim that there were no public meetings on the matter, saying she had three meetings with homeowners' associations.
For her, the top issue in the ward is the sewer system, Painter said.
“We have water and storm water that are on the same line and when it rains it backs up in people's basements,” she said. "There are some people in my ward who are not on sewer, but on a septic system. We are planning to budget $24 million for infrastructure for next year, and I would hope a portion of that could start all of this work."
Diaz disagrees with Painter's vote to end the Metro Zone agreement with Normal. While Painter does not support sharing all sales tax proceeds with Normal, Diaz said he would be open to the two communities discussing the idea.