Editor's Note: This is one of two stories profiling the candidates for City Council, the second story will publish on Monday. The stories are part of a series of profiles for city contested races and referendum that are on the April 9 Consolidated Election ballot.
MT. VERNON — Four candidates and one write-in candidate are on Tuesday's ballot for two city council seats.
In order as they appear on the ballot, the candidates are incumbent Dennis McEnaney, Donte Moore, David Morgan, incumbent Todd Piper and write-in candidate Steven Casper.
McEnaney and his wife Phyllis, have lived in Mt. Vernon a total of 22 years, first living in the King City for 10 years, then 12 years after the couple decided to retire in Mt. Vernon.
"I am a degreed electrical engineer and a Vietnam era Air Force veteran," McEnaney said. "I retired from Illinois Power as a senior director after 29 years of service."
McEnaney has served on the Rend Lake College Board of Trustees and was a county appointee to the Mt. Vernon Airport Board. Some of his previous city appointments include the Minority Affairs & Human Relations Council, the Planning Commission, the Vision 2008 Team and the Jefferson County Development Corporation.
"Currently, I serve with the Downtown Development Corporation, a member of the noon Rotary, Project co-chairman of the Rotary STRIVE program at thehigh school, trustee at Cedarhurst Center for the Arts, a member of the Chamber of Commerce Past President's Council and as city councilman," McEnaney said.
McEnaney said he would like to "reverse the city's trend of a declining population for the past 30 years and move to a future that is strong, vibrant and growing."
"In the last four years as your city councilman, I have been very active in supporting and implementing processes to help improve and grow our city," McEnaney said. "By serving with the council, we have been aggressive in successfully bringing in new businesses and helping our existing businesses expand. We have done this by establishing new TIF districts, ramped up our Revolving Loan and Enterprise Zone programs, utilized our Home Rule abilities, improved our permitting process and brought millions of dollars in federal and state grants. In these four years, the city has realized over $688 million of investment in new and expanded facilities in addition of approximately 1,200 jobs."
McEnaney continued that the Downtown TIF has seen more than 40 projects started in the last four years, resulting in more than $7.3 million of new investment, including one-third coming from the TIF.
"I have also played a role with the council in expanding the city's road system through an aggressive capital development program," McEnaney said.
McEnaney reported during the last four years the city has annexed more than 850 acres and created the east and west side TIF districts, with the east side TIF supporting the new $22 million Drury Inn project.
"We have committed to, and maintained, a balanced operating budget for the last five years; we have kept spending under control!" McEnaney said. "We improved the city by removing old dilapidated buildings, passing a lower noise ordinance, proactively replacing old cast iron water mains, improving handling of storm water drainage, an aggressive sidewalk repair program, we even had the 'no right turn on red' signs removed downtown. ... There is still much more to be done," McEnaney said. "If re-elected, I will work to continue to improve and grow Mt. Vernon, add more jobs and create a better place to live. "
Moore said he is running for city council because he believes the current council has lost touch with the needs of the city.
"Many of the existing ordinances are outdated, out of touch, and not functional to the wants and needs of our citizens," Moore said. "To successfully build a future for Mt. Vernon, we need to address existing issues instead of building away from them."
Moore said as a blue collar worker and a tax paying citizen who works have for a living, he wants to use his strong work ethic, the communication skills that are imperative to his job at the Illinois Department of Corrections and the leadership traits that the USMC instilled in him and use the qualifications to represent the voters of Mt. Venron.
"We need to continue to be aggressive in bringing new jobs to Mt. Vernon," Moore said. "We also need to focus on revitalizing our existing neighborhoods and not just focus on new development housing. Most importantly, we need to continue to improve infrastructure through the entire city, not just those areas seeing new growth."
Moore said he wants to bring a fresh perspective to city policy.
"It is important to maintain professionalism and integrity in our city representation," Moore said. "I believe this starts with being more transparent and holding ourselves accountable to all of the citizens of Mt. Vernon. We are on a great path towards growth already. What we need is the entire community to engage int hat vision and support it wholeheartedly. Only then will Mt. Vernon regain its crown as 'the King City.'"
Moore is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who has teamed up with the parks and recreation department for the Movie in the Park at Fairmonth Park in 2010, the Fall Family Fun Day, is a member of the Parks and Recreation Board, co-founder developing New Attitude (DNA); sponsor of Summer Splash; the Ride to Remember all-boys trip to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; the Young Ladies Leadership Lunch, parntering with Crossroads Community Hospital Health Woman program; a member of the Mt. Vernon Hall of Fame Committee, and co-chair of the Keep Home Rule campaign.
"I promise that I will serve Mt. Vernon with dignity, honor and respect," Moore said. "I am asking you to let me represent you on City Council."