Candidate profile: Mark Riley

Mark Riley
Mark Riley

Name: Mark Riley

Age: 36

Family: His wife, Katie, son, Mark Jr., and daughter, Samantha.

Town: O’Fallon

Office Seeking: Alderman Ward 2

Occupation: High school Social Studies teacher at Elverado High School, located in the city of Elkville in Jackson County, IL.

Previous Offices: None.

Why I am running: I believe our citizens needs to regain trust in its city council that has been damaged in the past couple of years with the council’s proposal to sell/lease the city’s water and sewer services. I think we need flexible, INDEPENDENT minds that will make economic and other decisions with the best interest of the city and its citizens in mind.

What is the most important issues facing the city of O’Fallon? How would you approach it? Accumulation of debt – by scrutinizing every expenditure of the city and only approving those that are sound and support by independent legitimate studies. If we want to reduce our cities $60+ million dollar debt we need to watch how we spend. The development of Southview Plaza and other Tax Increment Finance (TIF) areas. Rebuilding of trust and communication between the council and the people they represent. Spending proposals for Destination O’Fallon.

If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? Seeking an open, honest, flexible candidate with good communication skills who works well with others. Candidate should also understand city issues and be accessible to customers at all times. The No. 1 priority of this position is to be the best interest, short and long-term, of your customers first.

How would you keep costs down or reduce costs in your municipality? By following a thorough process when dealing with proposed spending. Our debt is above $60 million and it is our duty as representatives of the people to scrutinize and prioritize how we spend. If it is not sound, intelligent spending we may have to put it off and focus on paying down that debt. We can always revisit projects at later debts when we have our cities finances in order.

In St. Clair County, there will be votes on two sales tax referendums. Do you support either or both? Why or why not? St. Clair County has one of the highest tax rates in the country and I am aware that many citizens are frustrated by that. I prefer to stay neutral on the issue of these tax referendums and let the people decide. Of the two, the school facilities tax might be appealing. It is a sales tax on certain items that can be avoided by the citizens. It also is contributed to by those outside the country when they come into St. Clair and spend their money. It also is more specific in its focus, so the public can be more comfortable knowing where their tax money is going. But, let me reiterate I prefer to stay neutral on both of these taxes and let the public decided.

Why should people vote for me? I’m relatively young in the world of local politics. My long-term future is in the city and I have vested interest in making sure this city stays financially responsible and responsive to its citizens. I will bring new energy, new trust, a fresh face and a flexible open mind to this cities council.