Name: Mark Morton
Family: His wife, Lauren Morton.
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Office Seeking: Alderman Ward 4
Occupation: Corporate banking
Previous Offices: None
Why I am running: Being born and raised in O’Fallon, I know first-hand how amazing our city truly is and how great of a community it is to raise a family in. Due to that and all the opportunities I’ve been given from my upbringing in this town, I’ve always had a strong desire to serve and give back to the community. As a result of that desire, I’ve decided to run for alderman to ensure the city pursues responsible policies and actions that will guarantee those opportunities remain available for generations to come. I also want to bring an educated, fiscally responsible and independent voice to the city council.
What is the most important issues facing the city of O’Fallon? How would you approach it? O’Fallon is reaching a crucial point in the growth we’ve seen over the past 20 years. The city needs leaders to guide our growth in a responsible way and ensure the needs of all our citizens are met. Every decision I’m confronted with will be approached with an open and independent view and will be subject to two guiding principles. Is it an efficient use of taxpayer funds? Is it in the best interests for both residents and businesses in O’Fallon?
If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? The basic responsibilities for serving as alderman/alderwoman for the City of O’Fallon include approving the appointment of city administrators, passing ordinances and authorizing budgets. On a more granular level, city council members are responsible for approving policies that are in the best interests of all residents and the city’s future. Council members are also accountable for ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently and resources are allocated appropriately. Above all else, O’Fallon city council members report to the thousands of “bosses” in their ward and are responsible for assuring their needs are being met.
How would you keep costs down or reduce costs in your municipality? I will use my background to carefully consider the impact every decision will have on the city’s income, expenditures, or balance sheet in the short-term as well as in the long-term. I will not vote to approve contracts without making sure the city has requested multiple bids, including those of local businesses, where the multiplier on spending is greater. I will not vote to approve additional bond issuances without reasonable projections detailing a reduction in debt. I will not vote to approve Tax Increment Finances (TIFs) for the maximum allowable terms without a demonstrable effort of negotiation, which results in residents shouldering more than their fair share of public education costs. Ninety percent of voters in O’Fallon voiced their opinion in the Nov. 2016 election that voter approval should be required when taxing bodies are proposing increased tax levies. While the vote was non-binding, I will be a true representative of our residents’ voices and push to have any proposed tax levy increase put on the ballot.
In St. Clair County, there will be votes on two sales tax referendums. Do you support either or both? Why or why not? I support both the 1 percent Public Safety Sales Tax and the $0.01 School Infrastructure and Building Sales Tax. Any tax increase is not popular out of the gate because it is additional money out of our pockets. However, the tax increases are being requested due to the current status of our state, which is consistently cutting funds provided to local counties and municipalities. As a result, cities and counties are forced to shoulder those costs or do more with less. In the case of the Public Safety Sales tax, the county has done more with less for years to the extent that public safety becomes at risk. In both of these instances, the sales taxes are being requested so that the level of services provided are not put at jeopardy. In my view, the incremental funding needed could be achieved in one of two ways: 1.) an increase in the property tax levy; or, 2.) through sales taxes. I prefer the latter as the costs are spread over a larger base, including visitors to the metro-east that patronage our businesses. It is important to note the sales tax increase would not be applicable to groceries, medications and vehicle title registrations.
Why should people vote for me? The city of O’Fallon has reached a critical point in its growth and it is now crucial we pursue responsible policies that ensure the city continues to grow while also appropriately prioritizing the best use of the city’s capital and ensuring the needs of all our citizens are met. Through my educational and professional background, I believe I am the best candidate to bring an educated, fiscally responsible and independent voice to the city council as alderman for ward 4.