NORMAL — Normal Mayor Chris Koos has his first challenger in the April 4 election.
Marc Tiritilli, a Bloomington High School science teacher, confirmed Tuesday he will run for the job.
"The lack of sustainability is the main issue," he told The Pantagraph of his campaign. "The (City) Council has not been protecting the taxpayers' money."
Tiritilli, 51, pointed to the town's nearly $100 million debt load and recent sales and property tax increases as evidence.
He said he hopes to roll back a 1-cent-per-dollar sales tax increase the town implemented Jan. 1 and dial back spending on private-sector projects.
Tiritilli said uptown, "nice as it is, has been a huge drain on resources" rather than the windfall residents were promised because development there has been heavily subsidized by the town.
"The emphasis has been too highly focused on that region, and residents in general are not seeing the value for their tax dollars that they need," he said.
Tiritilli said he considered running for council but wanted to be a leader rather than a dissenting voice.
He said his teaching experience shows he knows how to collaborate on large projects with limited resources.
In addition to teaching, Tiritilli has been a Danvers village trustee and worked in electronics, "solving problems in a high-pressure, time-is-money environment."
He lived in Central Illinois from 1997 to 2008 and returned in 2013 but said he and his family have settled long term in Normal.
Normal City Clerk Wendy Briggs said Tiritilli has received nominating petitions from the office but hasn't yet filed paperwork to run.
Koos said he plans to file paperwork Wednesday.
Koos, 68, owner of Vitesse Cycle Shop and Often Running in Normal, has served three terms as mayor. He assumed that office in 2003 after two years on the council.
Koos said Tiritilli's candidacy doesn't change his campaign.
“I don’t know Marc at all. I’ve spoken to him at council, just a 'Hello,' but he’s never reached out. ... Other than what he says in public comment, I’m not sure what his platform is,” Koos said. “When you run for public office, you expect people to run against you, and I would never discourage anybody from running for public office. ... That’s our process.”
Koos defeated retiree Victor Connor and businessman JeVaughn Martin in 2013, Andrew Matthews in 2009 and Jeff Fritzen in 2005. He was appointed to succeed Kent Karraker, who resigned.