Seventh Ward Alderman Mark Mulliner says changes need to be made in Elmhurst's leadership to get the city back on track.
He's got some ideas on how the city can spur economic development without adding any more more tax increment financing districts, share resources with other local entities and better perform its "core and fundamental functions" to keep property values up.
The time is right, he said Thursday, to throw his hat into the ring in the race for mayor. The Consolidated Election is April 9, 2013.
Mulliner said it's time to capitalize on opportunities facing Elmhurst.
"We've had some major changes. Every one of our leaders on the administrative side has changed," he said, referring to Elmhurst's new city manager, park director, school superintendent, library director and others. "We have a great opportunity to build on the traditions that we have, but also look at some new ideas."
No New TIFs
The City Council is just one vote away from approving a new (the city's fourth), and have begun working their way toward approval.
"We did our fourth TIF district. We're done," he said to residents holding "Mulliner" campaign signs in front of the City Centre fountain. "It's time for us to look at some other solutions."
He said Elmhurst shouldn't have to use .
"We can entice businesses to come into this community and build here, and we don't have to do it using dollars from the taxpayers," he said.
One idea he mentioned was rezoning certain areas in industrial parks for development. He said with Elmhurst being a "vibrant community," development can happen, and already is happening, without TIF.
"We've got economic development going on all over this community," he said. "You look around downtown, and there are great things happening. There are great things happening in the area of York and Vallette, Spring Road, York and Butterfield.
"We just need to get creative, and I think we can get creative," he said. "We've just got to think of some alternate ways of raising revenue."
Mulliner said he will make it a priority to share resources intergovernmentally.
"We've got great leadership at the City Council, the Park District, the School District, and I think we can work much more closely together," he said.
He used the example of the Park District's expertise in maintaining the parks as being a useful asset to all areas of the city.
"Let them take care of not just (green space) in the park and School District, but in all locations," he said.
He said sharing resources could be as simple as sharing building space.
"I think it's critical these days with limited resources that we work together … so each one of those governmental agencies can get back to their core and fundamental purposes," he said.
The purpose of government, he said, is threefold: Provide public safety by having the best-trained police and fire personnel, make sure the schools are highest quality and bring in new business.
History of Service
A lifelong Elmhurst resident, Mulliner formerly was Unit District 205's director of technology and an Elmhurst Public Library trustee for six years. He has been an alderman in the 7th Ward for 13 years.
"I used to work for the School District, so I understand schools. I've worked with members of the Park Board, so I understand what their function is, and I also understand that a City Council is a board running a $100 million operation," he said. "As the leader of that board, you understand what your responsibilities are, and that's the most critical thing."
He currently sits on the city's Finance, Council Affairs and Administrative Services Committee, where he against allowing City Council members to hold more than one elected position at a time. He was the lone committee member to hold firm on placing a on the November ballot.
He said he didn't do any of that to boost his visibility for a mayoral race.
"I was probably more in the limelight than I usually am," he said. "But I had been thinking about (running for mayor) for a long time before that."
He said his announcement Thursday will not affect his day-to-day work on the City Council.
"It's going to be a long campaign, (but) I don't think it's going to change anything," he said. "We'll just keep moving forward. It's just about what's in the best interest of Elmhurst. That's the key."
Mulliner, who owns School Technology Services Inc., said he has the full support of his wife of 28 years, Barb, and his two grown children, Jason and Amanda.
"They've all decided it's OK for me to go ahead and take this quantum leap," he said.
Elmhurst Mayor Pete DiCianni is running for DuPage County Board in District 2 and has as mayor if elected. So far, Mulliner is the only candidate to announce for mayor. Candidates have until Dec. 24 to file nomination papers.