Name: Dennis Weygandt
Immediate family members: My wife of 40 years, Vickie, our daughters Corrine (Ron) Gritton and Jennifer Cole and four grandchildren
Office seeking: Alderman Ward 7
Previous and current elected offices and terms served: None
Why are you running? I choose to run because I see the optimistic energy surrounding so many areas of Belleville, with growth where shopping centers were considered dead. Now they have new businesses and are doing great. With this said, there is more to do. These businesses are vital to our economic growth, and I see opportunities that can further improve the vitality of our city and Ward 7.
What is the most important issue facing the city of Belleville? How would you approach it? One of the most important issues I’m concerned about is the number of delinquent properties. I would like to work on ways of getting these properties to the marketplace in a more timely manner. It would be nice to see young families move into these properties and improve them to increase home values in these neighborhoods. I would like to see repairs made on infrastructure in our ward, to streets, curbs and sidewalks that need maintenance.
In 2013, the Belleville City Council approved a 0.25 percent sales tax increase that is set to expire this year. Explain whether you support or oppose the continuation of this tax and whether you support either or both of the 1 percent sales tax referendums on the April ballot in St. Clair County. I understand the reason for the .25 percent, the state took away the LGDF program, due to this it was good for the city to add that tax. It does not apply to purchases such as vehicles, medicine and food. This tax only applies to purchases made in stores and is not added onto your property tax. As far as the 1 percent tax referendums, this is a county issue that will go to a vote before the public, which I feel it is fair to let the people decide.
In recent years, the city has granted various tax incentives to businesses. Explain whether you would support or oppose tax incentives for businesses. In regards to the various tax incentives to businesses, I would look at each on an individual basis. I would do my homework to ensure it is the best thing for both the city and the businesses, and make sure the person applying fully meets all the standards for this incentive.
What actions would you take to fight crime in Belleville? Explain whether you think the city can afford to hire more police officers. Actions to fight crime would include community policing, with the police actively getting involved through participating in school programs and speaking to kids when they see them. Children will take a more righteous path not only because they have gotten to know officers but also because of the programs they participated in. Neighborhood Watch programs are also very important. They can be the eyes and ears and call the police when needed.
Why should people vote for you? People should vote for me because the citizens deserve an alderman who will listen to them and vote on the tough issues based on conversations they communicate to him. Living in Ward 7 my entire life motivates me to make sure our ward remains a vital and desired place for people to live. Vote for me and you will have an alderman who returns your calls and emails in a timely manner and gets the answers you need. I will work to make this ward the best it can be.