EAST PEORIA — Commissioner Gary Densberger resigned from the East Peoria City Council Tuesday, two meetings shy of what would have been his last day of public service anyway. Densberger and his wife, Jana, are moving out of the city.
"I have very much enjoyed serving the citizens of East Peoria as a member of the City Council sincerely wish this community continued success," wrote Densberger in his letter of resignation. The letter was read by Mayor Dave Mingus, himself near the end of a long run on the East Peoris City Council, at the end of Tuesday night's meeting. "Together we have accomplished much, and brought significant change to our city. While not always easy, I believe it has been positive and for the long term benefit of our citizens."
Densberger, 62, was elected to the first of his three terms on the City Council in 2005, after serving 10 years on the District 309 grade school school board. He retired this year after 41 years at CEFCU. He was the commissioner of accounts and finance for the city, and largely responsible for the preparation of the annual operating budget.
Mingus called Densberger the council's "voice of reason, the voice of common sense."
Although there was nearly $100 million of commercial growth in the city during his council tenure — Bass Pro, Costco and the Levee District sprouted from former Caterpillar, Inc. industrial ground during the last decade — Densberger listed another accomplishment as the signature achievement of council on which he served. A 2006 joint agreement between the city and the school districts allowed sales tax revenues be used to help with renovations and additions at Central Junior High and East Peoria Community High School.
"I still believe that the revenue the city shared with the schools is perhaps the best thing we've done," Densberger said Tuesday. "Bass Pro, the Levee District, all that aside, I believe that is the most essential thing we accomplished."
Commissioner Dan Decker, who won re-election on Tuesday to a fourth four-year term, praised Densberger's work on the city council.
"A couple of things I could always count on from Gary was the truth, he never lied to me, and he has always had integrity," Decker said. "He's someone you can trust that if you have something to say, you can say it to him and you know that it's not going some place else."
Commissioner John Kahl, who won election to be the city's next mayor, called Densberger a "stand-up guy."
"The one person that very rarely shares his personal opinion on various topics is Gary," Kahl said. "Usually when he pops off it's meaningful, there's a lot of meaning to what he says. I am appreciative how he has served this community."
The resignation was effective Tuesday. A new council will be sworn in at the beginning of the first meeting in May.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ScottHilyard.