ISHPEMING - The newest member of the Ishpeming City Council said the No. 1 challenge facing the city is maintaining its aging infrastructure.
Joe Juidici was appointed Friday by the council vote to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of former council member Dave Williams.
"Every year (the infrastructure) is deteriorating more and more. There's been a lot of leakings, flooding problems, sewer problems and you can't build a city without an infrastructure. To me that's your top priority," Juidici said. "You're not going to get businesses or anything in here if they don't have suitable water and sewer. It's just something that needs to be addressed.
"Every year it gets pushed on the back burner, but something has to get done about it."
Juidici worked for the city for 25 years and at the fire department for about 35 years before retiring about three years ago. He also worked for the Department of Public Works and for ambulances, when it was located in Ishpeming.
He said he has ideas on how to fix the water and sewer issues in the city but as always, having the money to do so is an issue.
"Hopefully we can start looking into some grants and doing whatever it takes to (fix it)," he said.
Mayor Mike Tall said Juidici's experience from working for the city will be an asset to the council.
"I think (Juidici) is going to do great. We need somebody that knows the infrastructures," Tall said. "Our sewer system and water system all need work and he worked in that department for a long time, so he knows it really well."
According to Tall, the DPW had some issues with a leak that occurred last weekend and Juidici went to the location and assisted workers, which carried a lot of weight with him.
"Both candidates were very qualified people to do city business," Tall said. "But with Joe, knowing the city operations carried some weight."
Crystal Barr-Berglund had also applied for the position.
Williams announced in March he was stepping down due to health issues. Williams was elected in November and took his seat in December.
Juidici was sworn in after Friday's meeting and will take his seat at Wednesday's meeting.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.