Top priorities for Peoria District 5 City Council candidates ahead of election

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Ahead of Peoria’s general election Tuesday, April 6, WMBD’s continuing its coverage into the Fifth District city council race.

The two candidates on the ballot are Denis Cyr, incumbent District Five councilman and financial advisor, and Ryan Hite, an independent insurance agent.

When asked why he’s seeking re-election, Cyr mentioned the accomplishments he’s made in the past four years as a councilman, such as road improvements, and said there’s more to be done.

“I just love helping people and I think that’s one of the great responsibilities we have as a public servant,” Cyr said.

Hite said he’s seeking office because he wants to help be a part of the solution that “moves the city forward.”

“I want to see Peoria get back to economic growth and we can’t do that by just cutting our core services,” Hite said. “We need to focus on the revenue side of things while providing public safety to our residents in the district.”

Cyr said budget issues and improvising infrastructure are immediate concerns.

“It’s very important for me to be fiscally responsible and to make the tough decisions to balance the budget, that’s number one,” Cyr said. “Number two: nobody wants to raise property taxes because that’s not a good way to solve some of the problems we have. Number three: roads, roads, and roads. In the fifth district, roads are very important, we’ve got to fix our roads as much as we can.”

Hite said wants to work on defending the city’s first-responders, communication, and building a long-term plan for the area which involves bringing everyone in the region together instead of “working in silos.”

“I believe that our area, so multiple municipalities in government, we need to have a comprehensive long-term plan for our area,” Hite said. “So, that’s elected officials, the business community, and citizens all working together as far as what are the resources that we have available for employers, for residents, we all need to be rolling in the same direction.”

Both candidates agree on prioritizing the city’s core services, road maintenance, and economic growth. They said focusing on business development would bring in more revenue.

“You can’t cut your way to a profit,” Hite said. “We need to get back to helping our existing businesses grow, attract new employers to the area and in turn it’ll help attract new residents, so increasing our tax base which gives the city more revenue coming in and helps to solve those budget issues.”

“We have a lot of businesses in Peoria that are successful some that are struggling, but we need to talk to them and listen to them and help them be successful because those are the people that are here, we need to save and build the people that are here,” Cyr said.

Both Cyr and Hite said an essential part of this role would be reaching out, building relationships, and being transparent with families and individuals in the district.

Cyr mentioned his “Coffee with your Councilman” and his “Business Outreach” program with small businesses to listen to what their concerns are.

“When I ran four years ago, I was able to build relationships with a lot of people and that is very important,” Cyr said. “It’s very important that we get to meet one on one so I get to listen to my constituents.”

Hite said he’s been speaking with neighbors and wants to develop a modern method for communicating with the district, especially for those who are busy and can’t attend or watch a city council meeting.

“We’ve got to do a better job at communicating to the people what the issues are,” Hite said. “There’s a before the meeting communication ‘here’s what’s going to come up in the city council meeting’ and then there’s also a post-meeting communication that needs to happen to people. Something short like a podcast or something quick that summarizes the issue.”

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