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Written by on March 23, 2021

NORMAL, Ill.-  Mayor Chris Koos will be trying to hold the mayoral seat against second-time challenger Marc Tiritilli. Koos has served as mayor for 18 years and he said his strong points in this election are his track record and a positive relationship with Illinois State University.

“He [Tiritilli] has publicly said a couple of times that he is more concerned about permanent residents than he is about the students of Illinois State University and that the students don’t pay taxes in our community, which is categorically not accurate at all…of course you pay taxes,” said Koos.

Koos said perhaps switching to a Ward system, similar to that of Bloomington, would not be completely beneficial to students.

“I would say maybe a hybrid- Ward system where you have some people at large and some people at wards. The problem with a pure Ward system that we’ve seen in other communities that have done this is that decisions that get made are always ward-centric. People tend to get turf-protecting in a ward system, and every council member in the Town of Normal represents the entire community and they take that perspective to their decision-making,” said Koos.

In recent weeks, a political ad circulated social media. Koos said this ad references Tiritilli’s pesimisic outlook on the community.

“Almost every thing he talks about are things that are wrong and he doesn’t have vision for the community,” said Koos. “I think that was the point of the ad.”

Tirtilli responded to the ad on his Facebook page.

Koos said he cares deeply about the community and the connection he has with the university.

“The town and the university collaborate on a lot of projects,” said Koos. “The Smart City Technology project, Illinois State Univeristy is actively involved in that to help us with that initiative.”

Tirtilli said Normal needs better priorities. He said he is running for Mayor of Normal to promote smarter growth, lower taxes and better roads.

When COVID-19 struck and increased in the fall of 2020 the council acted by enacting ordinances, Koos said he did not overstep at all.

“We had some issues that needed to be addressed quickly,” said Koos. “Quickly after I made those they were put into ordinance form by the city council. The city council voted for everything that I did. Anything that we did COVID-related isn’t anything different from our day-to-day business in terms of legality.”

Koos said post-COVID economy is going to be at the forefront of his hopeful term.

“I think also leveraging on the success story of Rivian automotive coming to this community and the fact that they are coming in much stronger than they had anticipated,” said Koos. “That’s going to be a real opportunity to leverage other forms of economic development.”

Rivian is an American automaker and automotive technology company founded in 2009.

Koos said the debt is considered an investment in our community.

“We did some bonded debt to help develop Uptown,” said Koos. “He always talks about the fact that we have this debt but he never talks about the fact that it generate $172 million of private investment in our community. So it was a public-private partnership and we have in place a very strong cash management plan to pay that debt back. Our debt to revenue…is about 5% and that’s a pretty manageable number.”

The municipal elections for the Town of Normal and City of Bloomington is on April 6.