Come April, Belleville voters will have to decide if they are pleased with how the city has been operating or if they would like new leadership as most political incumbents are facing opposition including Mayor Mark Eckert.
Two current aldermen hope to unseat Eckert -- Joe Hayden and Phil Elmore.
Wednesday was the deadline for candidates to file for municipal, township and school board offices for the April 9 election.
Eckert filed to run for re-election along with a full slate of candidates as the Belleville Good Government party with City Clerk Linda Fields seeking re-election; City Treasurer Jerry Turner seeking re-election; Ward 1 Alderman Ken Kinsella seeking re-election; Ward 2 Alderwoman Dorothy Meyer seeking re-election; Ward 3 Alderman Rob Anderson seeking re-election; Johnnie Anthony for Ward 4 alderman; Ward 5 Alderman Phillip Silsby seeking re-election; Ward 6 Alderman Dave Martinson seeking re-election; Victoria Weygandt for Ward 7 alderwoman; and Ward 8 Alderman James Musgrove seeking re-election. Musgrove is the only candidate who doesn't have opposition.
"The Belleville Good Government Party is going to work hard and remind everybody of all the things we have accomplished in the last eight years," Eckert said, including the remodeling of downtown and Lindenwood University's growth.
Eckert said the party has a lot of plans for the next four years including improvements to Illinois Street, adopting a crime-free housing ordinance and major improvements to the police department's building at 101 South Illinois St.
Economic development is also a priority for the party, according to Eckert, with plans for a hotel in the works as well as several new businesses coming to the city.
Hayden, a Ward 5 alderman, filed a petition to run for mayor as part of the Unified Independent Coalition for All of Belleville.
The Unified Independent Coalition also includes the following candidates: Dallas Cook for city clerk, Kent McCoy for city treasurer, Garrett Peek for Ward 1 alderman, Janet Kay Schmidt for Ward 2 alderman, Kent Randle for Ward 3 alderman, Ward 4 alderman Timothy Carpenter seeking re-election, Michael Hagberg for Ward 5 alderman, Robert White for Ward 6 and Trenton "Trent" Galetti for Ward 7 alderman.
Hayden said he's concerned about the rising crime rate and reforming tax increment financing as well as treatment of city staff.
"We'd like to put an end to the 'us versus them' attitudes and work to get our citizens, employees and business community working with each other to create an environment that can benefit all, not just a few," he said.
In addition, Hayden said budget reform and government transparency are top priorities.
Elmore is running as an independent, but he has aligned himself with Dean Hardt, who is running for treasurer, and Mona Monken-Gehrs, who's running for Ward 4 alderwoman.
Elmore said his main concern is crime and neighborhood safety. "I am committed to getting the police department the proper tools to do their jobs," he said.
Elmore said he's committed to "working together as a team without political bias. With a vision of cooperation, we can build a stronger Belleville," he said.
Filing a nomination petition doesn't necessarily guarantee a spot on the April ballot as a candidate's nomination papers may be challenged by the filing of an objection.
An objection must be filed five business days after the last day of the filing period, which would make the deadline Jan. 3.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.