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Fenton Mayor Faces Challenge from City Collector

A questionnaire was sent to each of Fenton’s mayoral candidates running in the April 5 election for a two-year term. The following, in their own words, are their responses.

Fenton’s incumbent five-term mayor is facing a challenge from the city collector in the April 5 mayoral election when Dennis J. Hancock squares off against Carol Brennan.

They each responded to a questionnaire about their candidacy.

Dennis J. Hancock, first elected in 2001, lives in the first block of Sennawood Drive. Married with three adult children and two grandchildren, he is a site director for Jones Lang LaSalle Americas.

His educational background includes bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees from the University of Missouri, St. Louis and a master of business administration from Brenau University, in Gainesville, Georgia.

Hancock also serves as chairman of the St. Clare Health Center Community Advisory Board.

What is the financial state of the City of Fenton at present?

Due to the efforts of the current administration and Board of Aldermen, we’ve successfully managed our way through the recession and the loss of Chrysler.  We have operating reserves equal to 6 months of operating expenses.  We will finish 2010 with a considerable budget surplus and are beginning 2011 with a surplus as well.”

If elected, what are your top three priorities for the city?

“I don’t think the issues our city faces have changed substantially over the last few years."

“I will continue to lead the city in a fiscally responsible manner. It is especially critical during this time of economic uncertainty that we have a leader who has demonstrated he knows how to do this. Every year I’ve been mayor we’ve finished with a budget surplus."

"I will complete the infrastructure projects we currently have underway, such as the Meramec River Bridge and the Old Highway 141 improvements.”

“These projects are not only important to our city’s future and the preservation of Fenton’s Olde Towne area, they are a continuation of the program we started several years ago that led to the street improvements we made to Riverside, Somerset Ridge and Woodway subdivisions, and the completion of the Summit Road/Gravois Bluffs Boulevard extension.”

“I will continue the pledge I made 10 years ago to communicate openly and honestly with the people it is my honor to serve. I will continue to write a monthly column in the city’s newsletter; I will continue to host the monthly Meet the Mayor coffees at City Hall; and I will continue to present a positive image of Fenton in the news media.”

What can the city do to further efforts to help redevelop the vacant Chrysler property?

“We have been working closely with the St. Louis County Economic Council and the parties who are marketing the property to identify potential buyers. We stand ready to work with the new owners and help them to be successful, as we do with every other business in the city.”

Should financial incentives be offered by the city to help in redevelopment of the vacant Chrysler property?

“At this point I think it would be foolish to rule out anything. There are many economic development tools available to us. It is up to the city to use those tools in the appropriate way."

If so, what type of incentives should be offered?

“There are many tools available to us. I prefer to keep our options open. The specific tools we use will depend on the type of development that is proposed for the site.”

Other Comments

“For the last 10 years it has been my honor to serve as mayor of the city of Fenton. During that time we have diversified our economic base, allowing us to absorb the economic impact of the Chrysler plant closing and the recession and emerge in much better financial shape than many other cities in the region. In fact, our economic development efforts have been so successful that a few years ago the media referred to it as the ‘Fenton Phenomena.’”

“I’ve also demonstrated time and again that I have the leadership skills a mayor needs. I led the effort to build the Heroes Memorial in Fenton City Park; I led the effort that resulted in Chrysler’s investment of $1 billion in the Fenton plants; and I led the effort to protect our city’s vulnerable areas during the 2008 near-record flood. Those leadership skills were recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2006 when they named me to their list of St. Louis Influentials.”

“I’ve also consistently demonstrated my commitment to open and honest communication. Every month I write a column in the city’s newsletter, where I tell our residents what is going on in our city. I also host a monthly informal gathering, Meet the Mayor, where our residents can come and talk about whatever is important to them. I’ve demonstrated time and again that I am an effective voice for our community.”

Carol Brennan, who was elected collector in 2009, is single with no children and lives in the first block of Treecrest Court. A broker and owner of Brennan Real Estate and Brennan Exteriors Inc., Brennan studied marketing and management at St. Louis University.

Brennan is a member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of Realtors, the Fenton Area Chamber of Commerce, Neighborhood Watch and is a St. Louis County Police Citizens Police Academy alumnus.

What is the financial state of the City of Fenton at present?

“For an accurate answer you would have to ask Mr. (Art) Dewitt-City Treasurer.”

If elected, what are your top three priorities for the city?

“Revival of Fenton Olde Towne redevelopment plans. Reinstatement of citizens’ services. Removal of  ‘politics as usual.’"

What can the city do to further efforts to help redevelop the vacant Chrysler property?

“Be discriminating in using the land to its highest and best use, not necessarily the first thing that comes along. Consider the big picture not a quick fix.”

Should financial incentives be offered by the city to help in redevelopment of the vacant Chrysler property?

“Of course, but with clear-thinking, caution and common sense.”

If so, what type of incentives should be offered?

“That would fully depend on the individual circumstances at hand.”

Other Comments:

“I have no political agenda. I want what is best for Fenton and the citizens of Fenton. It is imperative to keep Fenton a wholesome place to live and raise a family.”

Editor's Note: Carol Brennan declined to provide a photo to Patch.

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