I have served on the boards of a wide variety of community organizations as well as City boards and commissions. I own both residential and commercial properties in Carbondale and have paid property taxes in our city every year since 1972. Upon graduating from SIU in 1972, I started what is known today as Henry Printing. And therein lies some of my best qualifications for Mayor. There is a very small chance that such a business – Founded, Owned and Operated by the same person – will survive for 10 years – let alone prosper for 46. So I have a wealth of practical experience, creative problem solving and the ability to sit around a table with others and find solutions that work. I understand employee relations, budgeting, financing and efficiency in the work place.
During his first four-year term, Mayor Henry:
Established a closer relationship with the administration of SIUC;
- Enhanced the subject matter of monthly meetings with SIU and the Chamber of Commerce.
- Participated in welcoming prospective students and parents to SIU and Carbondale.
- Worked with students, faculty organizations and the athletic department to grow enrollment.
Worked to fund and implement the first two phases of the Downtown Streetscape plan:
- Installed new poles, lights, security cameras and banner holders along Illinois Avenue
- Removed and or placed underground the overhead utility lines along Illinois Avenue
- Made sure that sidewalks and curbs along Illinois Avenue are ADA compliant
- Installed Free WIFI downtown- the number one priority for SIU students.
- Passed an ordinance permitting sidewalk cafes
Eclipse Activities of 2017:
- Oversaw the successful eclipse activities of 2017 along with Carbondale Tourism, Carbondale Mainstreet, Carbondale Music Coalition and other community organizations.
- Thousands of people visited Carbondale and were left with a good impression of our city.
- The eclipse activities included music and activities for children, families, and students.
- The event was safe, friendly and very successful.
Brought several safe and successful street festivals back to downtown
- Successful return of the Halloween Street fair.
- Included events for all ages.
- The festivals brought thousands of people back to downtown Carbondale.
- The Jason Isbelle street concert.
Passed three (3) balanced budgets, with a fourth on the way in spite of the State reducing our share of the Local Government Distributed Fund (LGDF) and imposing a 2% charge to collect local taxes.The State also continues to impose payments on cities to repay funds borrowed by the State from State Pension Funds.
Expanded Mayoral Communication
- Established the Faith Based Leaders Advisory Group
- Initiated the monthly Meet the Mayor program
Made the City Council meetings more productive and efficient.
- Initiated guidelines for citizen comments insuring all can be heard.
- Made the agenda easily accessible to the public.
- Council meetings now begin at 6:00 pm instead of 7:00 pm so we finish earlier.
- Manage the meetings to stay on topic and conduct the people’s business efficiently.
Police – Continued to fund Community Policing, Neighborhood-based patrols, Directed patrols and enhanced training for our officers such as: Appropriate Use of Force and De-Escalation training.
- A tax of 4% on the sale of prepared food and beverages (passed in June 2016). This money is dedicated to assist with the funding of community investment projects and public safety pensions. The tax was reduced to 2% in August 2016.
- The 4% tax on the sale of package liquor passed in June 2016, partially compensated for $522,000 loss of revenue from the State of Illinois. Mayor Henry opposed this tax saying that he favored a 2% tax.
Established a close working relationship with Southern Illinois Healthcare
- Funded Sanitary Sewer upgrades from Poplar Street to Wall Street to facilitate the construction of the new SIU Medical School building near the hospital. SIH is funding the construction and leasing the building at cost to SIU.
- The expansion of SIH continues to bring new jobs/employment opportunities.
Local businesses –
- Completed the first two phases of the downtown revitalization plan.
- The new call center at the University Mall will bring 400 jobs to the city.
- New/revitalized businesses in 2018 include: Sergio’s Restaurant, Home2 Suites by Hilton, The Underground Public House, Culver’s, IHOP, McDonald’s, the Finish Line Car Wash, Omar’s Gas/Convenience, Sterling Sofa Company, 2 Guys Pizza, Family Drug, Keeper’s Quarters, REMAX at 601 E Walnut, Meo Myo Café, Stack’d 618 Crossfit, Steak and Shake in the SIU Student Center and several others.
Labor Agreement –Along with city staff negotiated Carbondale’s first Project Labor Agreement. This agreement requires any project over $100,000 to use local labor. It will also help the city comply with federal minority requirements.
Ongoing projects – We Continue to work with State and Federal legislators to obtain grants for a regional multi-model center. The center will be served by multiple transportation systems.
The Mayor and staff continue to negotiate with the park district to improve facilities and grounds. City Council voted to put a non-binding referendum on the April 2nd ballot to assess public opinion regarding the relationship of the City and Park District.