TILTON — Longtime Tilton Mayor David Phillips is proud of the sewer and other projects seen in the village in his 20 years as mayor.
His opponent, Tilton Police Chief David Cornett would like a chance to lead the village into the future.
The Commercial-News sent election questionnaires to candidates in the April 6 consolidated election.
1. Why are you running/seeking re-election for mayor? What qualities make you a good mayor?
Phillips: Because I want to continue to make Tilton grow and develop. I have been the mayor of Tilton for 20 years. During that time, I have worked with many businesses who have come to Tilton including Ameren Service Center, True Grit, County Market, Mach 1, Little Caesar’s, Danville Institute of Gymnastics, Autumn Fields, Better Days Bar, Cabinet City, Dollar Tree, Anytime Fitness, etc. I have supported and have had completed two bridge projects, a new park (Thomas Park), new fitness equipment and dock work at Lake Herschel as well as major road improvements all over town.
Cornett: l am a lifelong resident of Tilton. I graduated from the University of Illinois Police Institute. I have worked for Tilton 24 years as a police officer, and have been the current police chief for nearly four years. I know Tilton and I know the people that live here. I’m very confident I can lead our great town into the future, and make our residents happy to live and stay in Tilton.
2. What should be focused on in the village/city’s budget? Why? Do you support additional revenues?
Cornett: As mayor I will focus on keeping our village in the black, and establish a budget that works for every department. I support additional revenues by continued economical growth of Tilton.
Phillips: The village has always had a balanced budget since I have been the mayor. We try to focus on what is most needed and try to accommodate needs when possible. The village has a good revenue stream and the village does not charge citizens real estate taxes. All of the taxes that residents pay go to the township, airport, library, etc. We have good revenues and are able to do that because of the sales taxes we receive from the many businesses we have in town.
3. How do you continue to push economic development?
Phillips: The Village of Tilton currently has four Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts which allow us to help new businesses that come to town. Several of the above businesses came here due to TIF help. We have helped several businesses during COVID, giving out more than $70,000 in grants to struggling businesses.
Cornett: I will push very hard for economic development. I will personally go out to all interested businesses, and present them with what our town has to offer. I will do whatever it takes to encourage them to choose Tilton to build their businesses here. It is very clear to me that economic growth is the key to the future of Tilton.
4. How do/would you work with others in the area/county to tackle issues, such as crime, blight, housing needs, transportation needs, etc.? Give examples.
Cornett: I will work well with others in town and out in the county to continue and maintain our great fire department and ambulance service. I will increase the police department as needed to tackle crime and try to reduce it to a minimum. I will take a stand on trying to keep our town cleaned up and reduce the eyesores. Example: Run-down vacant houses and buildings. My goal is to establish free transportation service for our seniors that live in Tilton and who are not able to drive themselves, and make it possible for them to make it to their doctor appointment and etc.
Phillips: We have been working with the Land Bank to try to get rid of older vacant houses that are not up to code. We have been able to tear down approximately seven houses and the Land Bank has helped us to sell the vacant properties to people who will build here. We have a 24-hour per day police department and we also pay Danville Mass Transit to assure that they come to Tilton to pick up citizens in need. We have also received grant money from the state to have easier access to I-74. We are currently working on a brand new sewer system and plant which should be completed in 2024. We are receiving Illinois Environmental Protection Agency funds for the project and they will forgive 45 percent of the loan. This will help all sewer users in the future by having better service and lower bills than most communities in Illinois.
5. Other issues/additional comments.
Phillips: I have worked in most capacities here at the village in my lifetime and I think I am the most qualified to continue to serve as mayor.