By Jeanne Starmack
The city will decide Tuesday which two of three mayoral candidates will advance to the November general election.
A runoff election will pit incumbent mayor Bill VanSuch against challengers Lew Jackson, a former city administrator who’s now 4th Ward councilman, and Nick Opencar, who has been the city’s treasurer, council vice president and council president.
Polling places are at Sycamore Place, 31 Tremble Ave.; St. Joseph the Provider Church, 5633 Porter Ave.; and the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church parish hall, 401 12th St. Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
VanSuch, 70, retired from the city as director of administration in 2003.
He was council president from 1990 to 2000 and then again from 2004 until January, when he became mayor after George Krinos resigned. His priorities include improving the city’s ISO firefighting rating, which affects insurance rates for businesses and homeowners; and getting the city out of state financial receivership.
He believes attracting businesses to the city is crucial.
“My main concern is getting jobs and enticing some industry,” he said.
Jackson, 67, retired as a supervisor at Cold Metal Products. He was city administrator under former mayors Jack Dill and Krinos and became 4th Ward councilman after Juanita Rich, who had represented the 4th Ward, was appointed council president in January to replace VanSuch. He was also a 4th Ward councilman from 1999 to 2004.
Jackson said he is in the mayoral race because he likes running the city on the administrative side.
He said bringing jobs to the city and road resurfacing are priorities.
“I want to sit down with all property owners and start getting these buildings filled up,” he said. He said he is particularly interested in helping a dentist who wants to open offices on McCartney Road.
Opencar, 72, is retired from the banking industry. The city’s treasurer from 1966 to 1972, Opencar said the city’s financial problems are a priority. He said he would do whatever is necessary to help the city out of fiscal-emergency status.
He also said road resurfacing and the ISO rating are priorities.
He said that while he’s been campaigning, he’s heard ideas for attracting businesses to the city.
Green jobs, he said, could be the way to go — “solar energy and windmills,” he said.