O'Fallon Progress

O’Fallon Progress letters to the editor

Roach-Vetri would move O’Fallon backward

Beware, O’Fallon. Herb Roach is backing Kristi Vetri as a write-in for treasurer. Vetri is the former mayor of O’Fallon in the early 1990s who was indicted for bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy to defraud the government.

She left the city in shambles after she was mayor and took a plea deal and then skipped town. Now she is back, and Roach is working with her to get himself elected mayor and her elected as the treasurer.

Is this what O’Fallon really wants? Do we really want Vetri and Roach in City Hall making decisions about how our city is going to operate? Electing Roach and Vetri would put O’Fallon backward two decades.

Roach has been spending money and time trying to tell all of us that O’Fallon is not going in the right direction. Well, if he thinks that Kristi Vetri represents the right direction, he is on the wrong train.

We need to keep O’Fallon moving forward and a vote for Roach and Vetri is a vote in the wrong direction.

Mary Thurman, O’Fallon

O’Fallon has used bonding to invest wisely

I recently read Herb Roach’s press release where he announced he was going to take a bulldozer to the city’s debt. I was still left looking for the bulldozer, because the release gives no details.

There is no plan put forth to reduce the debt. He has created a false narrative that the city is going to pass along a “looming debt” to our next generation. If he did his research, he would find that the city does not have looming debt. All of our debt will be retired in the next 20 years, with  1/3 being retired in the next 10.

He makes it out that we are running up a credit card for wants, not needs. This is not true. Just look at where the city has invested:

▪ $9 million for new water towers in north O’Fallon and sewer plant improvements;

▪ $2.2 million for new fire trucks, police cars and to update the public safety consoles in our police cars;

▪ $7.8 million for the new police station and road improvements;

▪ $7.1 million for mine remediation.

The real truth is that, as the city has grown, we have had to upgrade our infrastructure. Instead of raising property taxes, our leadership has issued bonds and then dedicated funding streams, like sales tax, to pay off the debt.

We have always been on time with our payments and have a AA bond rating from Standard and Poors.

Voters beware of Roach’s doomsday predictions. They’re simply not true.

Bob Wells, O’Fallon

O’Fallon deserves better

Well, Herb Roach has finally crossed the line. For two weeks, he spent money on social media ads claiming that Phil Goodwin’s campaign was spreading fake news about how Roach’s campaign sent an email directing union workers to take down Goodwin signs, even though the O’Fallon Police Department confirmed that it happened.

Then Roach changes the photo on a BND editorial published online to put Phil Goodwin’s photo in place of Gary Graham. He alters the story, and then pushes it out to the world. And when people commented that this wasn’t true, Roach deletes the comments.

How can you justify these actions, Mr. Roach? You are trying to deceive the public into making them believe things that are simply not true. You have been running around O’Fallon for a year telling everyone that the sky is falling — but actually the sky couldn’t be brighter.

Just because you say it is so doesn’t mean it’s true. You proved that by altering a real story to advance your failing campaign.

O’Fallon deserves better.

Mike Butler, O’Fallon

McKendree honored by special relationship with O’Fallon

Thank you to Mayor Gary Graham for recognizing the special relationship between the city of O’Fallon and McKendree University by proclaiming McKendree as O’Fallon’s “Hometown University.” We are honored to be so designated and know that the McKendree family enjoys the many positive experiences they have in the city. A large number of faculty and staff live in O’Fallon, our students frequent many businesses and, of course, we have many alums whom call O’Fallon home.

The addition of the McKendree Metro Rec Plex adds yet another chapter in the special relationship that McKendree and O’Fallon have enjoyed.

We thank the city’s leadership for nurturing this special bond and for making our students, faculty and staff feel so welcomed.

Thank you for your friendship to McKendree University.

James M. Dennis, president

McKendree University

Voters can trust Goodwin to do what he says

I first met Phil Goodwin when he showed up unannounced at the front door. He introduced himself and briefly explained to me why he was running for mayor. He wanted my vote.

When our short conversation came to a close he said, “Just contact me if you have questions or need anything.”

Recently, I had some questions in regards to the city’s election process, so I thought I’d try and do just that. I sent him an email. He quickly responded with his cell phone number and recommended a good time to call.

I called him and unfortunately caught him when he was driving. Rather than just tell me to call back later, he immediately pulled over. A candid and informative conversation ensued.

Phil has been the city clerk for 16 years. He knows a whole lot about the who, what, where, and why of O’Fallon government. He’s not only keen on the issues, but he has all the history as well.

Phil stayed on the line until I was out of questions and closed by saying, “Call back anytime.”

I liked the “small town” direct access that he afforded me. That he actually meant what he said when he offered his assistance. It made me feel valued and that I had a trusted ally at city hall.

I proudly display a “Phil Goodwin” election sign on my front lawn. A “win” for Phil on election day would be a “good-win” for O’Fallon.

Bill Malec, O’Fallon

Roach views O’Fallon community as family

I’m writing you to voice my support for Herb Roach for Mayor of O’Fallon. I’ve known Herb and his family for almost 20 years. All the Roaches, whether they like it or not, are now an extension of my own family. Herb always goes the extra mile when supporting both his family and community. He puts everything he has into whatever task he takes on.

Being mayor of O’Fallon will be no different. Herb is extremely capable and will always do what’s best for his community and listen to his constituents. I honestly believe he views the community as an extension of his own family. Being a part of projects and working with different people to either bring folks together or accomplish a shared goal is his passion and it shows. He’s been proving this in worldwide business management for over 40 years. Vote for change for O’Fallon on April 4. Mayor Herb Roach will help O’Fallon grow and thrive while keeping the values of the community at the center of everything he does. Herb’s the choice, now you just have to get out there and vote for the mayor everyone deserves.

Katie Starnes, O’Fallon

Roach’s votes reflect understanding of issues

O’Fallon voters have a critical choice on April 4 — continue to support policies of the current administration or opt for an open and fair government where citizen input is encouraged and welcomed.

Phil Goodwin’s shrink-wrapped van and full-page color ads look nice, but below the surface, there is little substance.

Goodwin says he will put money back in your pocket. He can make this offer because Mayor Graham sought and the council approved a nearly 5 percent increase in property taxes in December. Herb Roach voted no to that tax increase and wants it rescinded.

Goodwin wants to refund some of the city’s water system fund. That surplus took 20 years to accumulate and Goodwin would deplete it in three years. With the city’s aging infrastructure in many parts of town, that money will be needed in the very near future.

The folks in Fairview Heights would love to see Goodwin become mayor because they would benefit more from his “first 1,000 gallons free” motto, since they pay 20 percent more for O’Fallon water than we do.

For the critics of Roach’s voting record, I recommend you take time to attend a City Council meeting or watch them on the city’s website to understand why Herb votes as he does. Herb does his research, one of the very few on council who does. He has constantly voted against tax increases and the half-baked projects that cause them. He votes for things when justified, defensible, and properly budgeted.

Lloyd Soeters, O’Fallon

Petition troubles give insight into how O’Fallon City Hall operates

The O’Fallon Electoral Board met in January to hear a complaint about the petitions David Hursey filed for treasurer. What transpired offers some insight as to how City Hall works.

After 16 years as city clerk, Phil Goodwin accepted petitions that did not have the proper number of signatures required by law. The local board tacitly approved Goodwin’s action by allowing Hursey to stay on the ballot, but the circuit court promptly and correctly overturned the board’s decision.

Why would the board uphold Goodwin’s error? Ponder this. The board consisted of the mayor and the two senior-most aldermen.

All three members of the board contributed to Goodwin’s campaign. Hursey, the city’s attorney who acts on behalf of the board, the law firm representing Hursey, and Goodwin all contributed, too. Among this small enclave of individuals a total of $11,300 was contributed, according to financial reports submitted to the Illinois Board of Elections.

Whoever said you can’t fight City Hall must have lived in O’Fallon. But there is one way to fight City Hall, and that is to take 10 minutes out of your day on April 4 and vote for the candidates of your choice. Don’t let apathy win the day. Vote.

In my opinion, City Hall needs a thorough cleaning, so I’ll be voting for Herb Roach for mayor. He will not be beholden to a small group of individuals who think that money can make a mayor.

Ron Zelms, O’Fallon

Say no to new sales taxes

This year has been the biggest battle I have witnessed between the schools and citizens of St. Clair County for the sales tax increase. The schools and police have fought ferociously. I’ve seen many sides presented. They formed a committee to plan their methods of wooing us. Superintendents talk about how they are running out of money. Students walk out of class for them, and administration is mingling with the student protestors with clip boards to catch every word of their suffering.

In 2015, St. Clair County paid $343 million in property taxes. Of this, 62 percent went the schools. My personal tax bill in 2015 was $5,400 and 71.4 percent went to the schools, District 90, District 203 and SWIC. Our tax bills will never go down. At least our sales tax is still within our control. We can say no to the lucrative schools that currently receive $210 million from our property taxes yearly. Why would the schools beg for the $22 million extra annually for 12 years? Because all the millions are not enough and will never be enough. All your money feeds the same old fat cow, a.k.a., schools. They know we will never allow another increase in property taxes. But, this need of theirs will never end. Every time you shop at our mall, you will pay dearly. Out of 1540 zip codes in Illinois, Fairview Heights will become the second-highest sales tax rate. Say no to raising sales taxes 2 cents.

Nikki Edwards, O’Fallon

Roach has a great plan for O’Fallon

I want to correct some misguided information.

O’Fallon will not go backward if Herb Roach is elected mayor. Voting no on the additional artificial turf soccer fields and for the Downtown Plaza project is the correct vote. Herb voted to spend $17,500 for a feasibility study which was not completed. Aldermen do not have the information to make an intelligent decision to obligate the citizens for $10 million of new debt. Citizens appreciate aldermen who don’t vote with the “herd.”

It is false that Herb has any connection with either political party. He takes pride in being an independent. As treasurer for Herb’s campaign fund, I can guarantee there is no preponderance of money contributed from any one source, especially from the “St. Clair County Democratic machine.” Only our citizens will influence the future of our city.

Herb has no tax plan? How about rolling back the recent 4.9 percent increase in our property tax rate and allowing the people to vote on future increases? He has voted numerous times to freeze or reduce this tax rate. How about freezing water and sewer fees and fees for other city services? This sounds like a plan to me.

He has not made capricious political promises to voters. Budget meetings disclosed millions of dollars in needed spending for water and sewer lines, the sewage treatment plant, streets and police. Wouldn’t excess reserves be better used for those needs? This could mitigate the need to increase debt, property taxes and fees.

Bob Kueker, O’Fallon

O’Fallon needs more people like Matt Gilreath

Matt “Gilly” Gilreath represents everyone. I have had the privilege of working with Matt on numerous business projects, community events, and charitable causes. Every time, Matt has been about helping people. Matt has a keen ability to get things done in both a timely and quality manner.

But the best thing about working with Mr. Gilreath is always his passion for helping people. Matt always builds people up and looks for ways to help everyone advance. He communicates well with people of all ages, religions, races, and ethnicities. Don’t let his humor fool you, he is serious. He is most serious about his faith and reaching people. Matt is never afraid to stop and pray with someone.

The city of O’Fallon needs Matt Gilreath and many more like him. He will tell you he isn’t perfect, and he strives hard to overcome mistakes. His dedication helping others has grown in the 25 years I have known him. Please, vote Matt Gilreath on April 4.

Rev. Jesus’ T. Kimbrow

Gilreath will keep O’Fallon in safe hands

I have known Vern Malare my entire life. Matthew Gilreath is the best choice for Ward 3. On April 4, a vote for Matthew Gilreath keeps O’Fallon in safe hands.

Tanya Malare, Bloomington, Ill.

Editor’s Note: No letters to the editor having to do with candidates/issues on the April 4 ballot will printed in next week’s Progress, March 30. However, readers can still submit their political letters to the Progress for online publication. Letters should be submitted via email at ofprogress@bnd.com. The deadline for online submission will be 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 30. Those letter will be published online on Friday, March 31. No further political letters will be published then until after the election.