DECATUR — Julie Moore Wolfe will be running to keep her job as mayor in the April municipal elections.
"I really enjoy being mayor. I think we've accomplished a lot of things, but we've got work to do and I'm not done yet," she said.
Moore Wolfe became Decatur's first female mayor in 2015, when she was appointed to the position in the wake of the sudden death of Mayor Mike McElroy. She was elected to serve out the remaining mayoral term in 2017, defeating challenger John Phillips 53 percent to 47 percent.
No other residents have yet emerged to run against the mayor. Phillips, a former president and current trustee of the city's library board, said he hasn't made a decision on whether to run for mayor again.
"I'd have to run against (Moore Wolfe) again and I don't think we need to rehash that whole thing again, so I'm still thinking about it," he said.
A win next year for Moore Wolfe would mean her first four-year term, lasting from 2019 to 2023. Prior to becoming mayor, she won election to the city council twice, starting in 2009.
Moore Wolfe and others intending to run will need 115 signatures of registered voters to enter any municipal race. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, at least 18 years old and must live in the Decatur city limits for one year preceding the date of the April election.
In the three city council races on the ballot next year, Lisa Gregory said she will be pursuing another four-year term. Bill Faber said he is still undecided whether he will run again and will decide after Labor Day.
Dana Ray, however, said she has decided to step down at the end of her term to have more time for her husband and 8-year-old son, and growing role as chief medical officer at Crossing Healthcare.
Ray, who was appointed to the council in 2009 and elected in 2011 and 2015, is currently the only person of color on the city council.
"I do think it is important to have the city population represented on the city council, therefore you should have representations as far as different ethnic groups, and age and sex," she said. "Hopefully we can continue to see that representation take place in the future."
Decatur's city clerk has announced that residents interested in running for mayor or one of three council seats up for election in 2019 can pick up petitions for their candidacy starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Before the departure of Tim Gleason in July from the city manager's post, he and Moore Wolfe worked closely over the past three years in pushing through the city council various local infrastructure projects, including an expected $70 million in updates to the city's sewer system — initiatives that have also led to rate increases for residents on municipal services like sewers and the passage of a local motor fuel tax for road repairs and commercial development.
Moore Wolfe's professional experience in government relations work, previously at Decatur Memorial Hospital and now at HSHS St. Mary's Hospital, has come in handy as mayor — she helped secure an agreement with the county and city to split the cost of a $60,000 yearlong contract with Ann Schneider, a government consultant and former secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation.
That move helped secure a $25 million state grant in June for an overpass at Faries Parkway and Brush College Road, a project that Moore Wolfe and business leaders say will draw more economic development to the area.
"I really enjoy the work behind the scenes, trying to get money for our major road projects, trying to improve the city — the things you don't see at the council meetings, the day-to-day work," she said.
The annual salary for Decatur's mayor, considered a part-time job, is $8,000. Council members earn $4,000 a year.