On April 6, voters in Cottleville will head to the polls to elect a new mayor. To help voters get to know who the candidates are and to better understand their priorities for their cities, Mid Rivers Newsmagazine asked each candidate to answer the questions shown below, plus “What specific skills will you bring to the position?”
Mid Rivers Newsmagazine has not verified and does not endorse the statements made by the candidates. Candidates in all races are listed in ballot order; incumbents are identified with an asterisk after their names.
Q1. What inspired you to run for the office of mayor?
Q2. What specific skills will you bring to the position?
Q3. What are your priorities if elected?
Q4. Cottleville is one of the oldest towns in St. Charles County, dating back to 1800. It is also one of the region’s fastest growing communities, according to U.S. Census data. As mayor, how would you lend your leadership to honoring the city’s past while positioning it to thrive in the future?
Q1. As a child I was taught to honor God and country. My inspiration to run for Cottleville mayor comes from knowing the sacrifices many have made and make even today. Some have even given their lives for our freedom and our American way of life. When I see a military headstone or a flag-draped coffin, I realize, I haven’t done enough for my country or community. So now it’s my turn. I want to give back to the community where I’ve grown up.
Q2. I was raised doing hard work. In fact my whole life has been in one of the toughest industries in the country. I began my own concrete construction company very young; I’ve seen good and bad times. My construction knowledge is well-rooted in commercial and residential development. I believe the city of Cottleville needs a mayor who understands hard work, commercial and residential development. From planning and zoning to the ribbon cutting, I am the best candidate for mayor of Cottleville.
Q3. My priorities are speaking for Cottleville residents, maintaining safety and security, supporting schools, making sensible financial decisions, and streets and infrastructure and growth. I will make sure that the concerns of residents and businesses are brought forth and heard by Cottleville‘s government. Cottleville is already one of the safest cities in the state. I will make sure we stay that way. I will see that we support our schools. I will see that we make the best use of taxpayers’ money. A growing city has growing pains, I will address our parking and streets and growth of the city.
Q4. As a lifelong resident of St. Charles County and many-year Cottleville resident, I have watched the city grow into a fourth class city. Many residents and mayors, past and present, did well preserving Cottleville’s history and growing the city at the same time. The Old Town district has become a destination for locals and visitors. I will make it even better, including its parking situation. The upside to having such a great downtown community is that everyone wants to live in Cottleville! We have several new subdivisions being built along with new businesses. I believe we can continue to be historic while maintaining our property values and positive growth.
Robert (Bob) Ronkoski
Q1. I have been serving the city of Cottleville as an alderman for the past eight years. When the current mayor decided not to seek reelection I felt that I had the experience and dedication to the city that is needed to fill such an important position. Public service has always been an important part of my life and becoming mayor will give me the opportunity to continue to serve the Cottleville community in even more ways than I have as an alderman. Cottleville has a bright future, and I want to be part of keeping Cottleville prosperous and safe.
Q2. I have worked for municipal government most of my professional career. I know how a city operates from both an employee’s perspective and as an elected official. I have the experience and education needed to provide the city guidance fiscally and professionally. I have managed public safety and facilities budgets that are over three times that of the city of Cottleville. One of my most important skills is my ability to be passionate and energetic in carrying out my responsibilities. I am always involved and I make myself available to everyone in the community. I simply enjoy public service.
Q3. I will be following behind two prior mayors that contributed tremendously to the city. Mayor Don Yarber set in motion a great vision of Cottleville’s future and Mayor Jim Hennessey continued that forward motion to bring us to where we are today. An important priority is continuing to work closely with the board in making the decisions that are best for the city as a whole. Another very important priority is to develop a plan to attract more retail businesses to the commercial districts. Our city needs sales tax revenue from our businesses to provide excellent services to our residents.
Q4. While serving as an alderman I was selected to represent the board on the Cottleville Old Town Historic District (OTHD) board. I have done so for the past eight years and have a complete understanding of the need to preserve the historic district. Unfortunately, the number of historic buildings is limited so we must maintain that area’s historic look when new construction is approved. Cottleville is not a big city and the majority of residents don’t want it to be. Our residents love our small town feel, our trails and city parks, and the close community connections that make Cottleville unique.