Touting support for local businesses and defending his votes on budget cuts, Peoria City Councilman Denis Cyr officially launched his re-election bid for the 5th District seat on Tuesday.
“We have accomplished a lot the last four years, and really a lot more than I thought would be possible,” Cyr said during a news conference at his home on Townsend Drive, citing infrastructure improvements and vowing to fight for the community.
“However, we all know the work is far from being done. We are at a critical juncture within our city, our state, and our nation. In these times, it is imperative that in the 5th District, we have a strong proven leader as elected official.”
Cyr pointed to the creation of the 5th District Business Outreach Board among his accomplishments and stressed a need to support the local economy to help generate more revenue for the city after the budget crunch brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we need to do is be friendly to businesses, try to cut down on all kinds of fees that we have, and then after that, there's a lot of things that are just outside our control,” he said. “It’s that simple. I mean, what we can control is, what's coming in right now and what our expenses are. And then after that, there's just a lot of things that we just have no control over.”
Cyr said the 5th District needs an experienced representative as the city enters a critical juncture after the council approved cuts to offset revenue shortfalls caused by the pandemic's first wave. Speaking an hour before Gov. JB Pritzker announced new statewide mitigations, Cyr indicated more cuts could be necessary.
“My only concern is COVID-19 – obviously if we shut down the state of Illinois and we shut down the city, revenues will suffer a lot,” he said. “Then, we'll have to make some more decisions in April, but for now we have a balanced budget.”
Cyr said he “had to get in the mud” in working through the spending cuts the council approved to balance the 2020 budget, particularly in regard to the fire department. He said he did not vote specifically to close Station 4 on Peoria’s South Side, but rather the vote was to reduce one engine, and Chief Tony Ardis decided the location. Station 20 in Cyr’s district wound up being preserved.
“The goal was to have a balanced budget and keep my station open, and that's exactly what happened,” he said. “At the end of the day, I achieved my goal.”
Cyr also noted his history as a homeowner association president and his involvement with the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce and the Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and stressed a need for transparency and accountability in municipal government.
“You have the right to know how your tax dollars are being spent, and to be heard from by your elected officials,” he said. “Government must reflect the will of the people, not the other way around.”
Insurance agent Ryan Hite has filed nominating positions to challenge Cyr for the seat.
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