Craig Hill, Clarinda City Council.jpg

Craig Hill was appointed as the newest member of the Clarinda City Council on January 24, 2018. 

(Clarinda) -- KMA News continues its "Meet the Candidates" series, featuring candidates running in key races for Tuesday's general elections. The latest report features one of the candidates running in the Clarinda Mayoral race, Craig Hill.

A Clarinda native, Hill graduated from Clarinda High School in 1978. After high school, Hill attended Northwest Missouri State University, receiving a bachelor's degree in secondary education and a master's degree in history. Following college, Hill moved to Savannah, MO, briefly to teach before returning to Clarinda, where he and his wife, Teresa, have resided ever since. Hill also has two sons Tyler and Casey, who live in Clarinda. For almost 20 years, Hill has served as the Maintenance Director for the Clarinda Community School District. Currently, Hill is also finishing his fourth year and second term on the Clarinda City Council, replacing the seat left by now Mayor Lisa Hull. The lone candidate on the ballot, Hill says he is running for mayor to take the next step in his community service role.

"It seemed like a natural transition to move into this position, I sat down and talked to my wife and my family, and they all agreed," Hill said. "It takes dedication and some time, and with my career here at the school coming closer and closer to the end, I felt that I had the time and the ability to devote to this."

As Mayor, Hill says his number one priority would be to bring broadband services to the city of Clarinda. Hills says companies are available to do it. Still, there are a few different ways the city can approach funding the project.

"We're going to have to work the companies that provide those services, and get the matching funds or grants that are available from the government to help us do that," Hill said. "If we can't do that, then we as a community will have to sit down and figure out if we can find ways through revenue bonds or something like that to pay for the services. Because, when you have broadband and you bring that to the community, it does increase the value of your home, it'll increase the profitability of your business, and it will also help with the education."

Similar to recent projects the city has undertaken, Hill says the council will look for ways to raise taxes on the community as little as possible to install broadband internet.

In terms of the city's housing stock, Hill says the council has worked in conjunction with the Clarinda Economic Development Corporation, already constructing two houses, and is currently working on a third. However, Hill says other potential investments can come through the city granting Tax Increment Financed Obligation, or TIF, and other tax incentives, to developers willing to build in the community.

"The city has done some with their TIF money for developers if they come into the community," Hill said. "We as a city will not invest in a development, but if we can find a developer that is willing to come in, and we've had that in the past, that will come in and build houses or start a development, once they reach certain goals, we will give tax abatements or tax incentives back to those developers to help promote more construction."

While saying he knows there are some nuisance properties in the community, Hill says it takes time to follow the process set in place by city ordinances to protect the property rights of all parties involved.

Monday on "Meet the Candidates," we'll hear from the write-in candidate for Clarinda Mayor, Geary Kendall.

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