December 20, 2014

Elyria
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Mayor vs. ex-mayor in Vermilion

VERMILION — The mayor’s race this November will feature two familiar faces — both have held the position before.

Former Mayor Jean Anderson will challenge incumbent Mayor Eileen Bulan, according to an uncertified list of candidates who filed by Wednesday’s deadline.

Anderson and Bulan are the only two candidates vying for the spot, so the election will be in November.

Bulan said she was surprised to hear Anderson was running.

After four years in office, Anderson was defeated by Bulan in 2009 by about 400 votes.

Bulan, the former president of Main Street Vermilion, began working for the city in 1980 as a clerk of Council and served as recycling coordinator and affirmative action coordinator. From 1996 to the end of 2005, she served as director of public service.

Bulan said in her four years as mayor, the city has “come a long way.” Her biggest accomplishments are securing grants for the city’s projects, improving parks and addressing Environmental Protection Agency mandates to eliminate sewer overflow, she said.

Bulan said she hopes to secure enough funding from fundraisers and private donors to purchase the site of the former Inland Seas Maritime Museum, a property Bulan has said would be designated as a waterfront park or other public facility.

“We think we’re working hard. We’re moving forward,” she said.

Anderson said there is a difference in philosophies between herself and the current mayor. What pushed Anderson to run again was a desire to address financial issues she said the city faces.

“I think the primary issue or question is ‘How do they want their money spent in the city?’ ” she said.

Anderson said as mayor, she would focus on the fundamentals and not the beautification of the city. She said the city’s roads are problematic.

“Some of them are hardly passable anymore,” she said.

Last November, residents voted down an income tax increase, half of which would have been designated for road repairs. In an earlier interview, Vermilion’s Finance Director Keri Agney said without the extra money, the city would have to forego repairs to the roads.

Despite her loss to Bulan in 2009, Anderson said she believes she has the support of residents now.

“I would not have filed my petition if there’s not support from the community,” she said. “I’ve been encouraged by many people in the community to file.”

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.