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Local Government

Non-incumbents talk money, ethics in St. Charles

ST. CHARLES – Better communication, fiscal responsibility and an ethics ordinance are among the issues the non-incumbent aldermanic candidates would address if elected to the St. Charles City Council.

The five candidates – Ronald Silkaitis and Justin Osborne for the 1st Ward; Arthur Lemke for the 2nd Ward; Mario VanDerHeyden for the 3rd Ward; and Kim Malay for the 5th Ward – met with a small group of residents Thursday at the Third Street VFW post.

The gathering was sponsored by community group 2R2R.

The incumbents – Jon Monken, Cliff Carrignan, Bill Turner, Jo Krieger and Maureen Lewis – were not invited.

2R2R member Craig Bobowiec told the candidates he is tired of aldermen not having the guts to say what they really think and vote how they really feel.

The candidates said it’s important to keep an open mind during discussions and ask others why they might disagree on an issue. Silkaitis, who was an alderman for 12 years before losing his seat in 2009, said his voting record shows he isn’t afraid to vote no. Lemke, another former alderman, said he appreciates frank discussions because others might raise issues he hasn’t thought about.

Osborne, a 2007 St. Charles East High School graduate, said he looks forward to give his youth, energy and service to the city. He gets the impression that citizens don’t feel that they’re being heard, he said. He wants to encourage people to communicate with the City Council and have aldermen to explain their decisions.

Silkaitis said better communication is needed among the aldermen and other city leaders. Residents also should be allowed to speak at meetings, he said, referencing a recent incident.

Malay, who outlined her position on numerous topics, said creating an ethics ordinance and focusing on economic development are her top priorities.

VanDerHeyden supports managed growth and would take a sampling of residents’ opinions before votes, he said. Charlestowne Mall, the police and traffic are top issues among the residents of his ward, and he named fiscal responsibility as one of his.

Lemke said the city has a lot of debt and needs to live within its budget. He criticized the city’s allowance of tax increment financing districts, especially when they pertain to residential developments.

2R2R will sponsor a mayoral forum at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Baker Community Center auditorium, 101 S. 2nd St.

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