Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Previous political experience: No political office
Previous community involvement: Treasurer, Riverside-North Riverside Covenant of Churches (10 years). My main community involvement has been with mission outreach and youth leadership activities through my church, Riverside Presbyterian Church.
Education: MBA, University of Chicago. BA, Northern Illinois University. Licensed Real Estate Broker in Illinois.
How should Riverside address ongoing and long-term capital and infrastructure needs and how can those types of expenditures be funded?
Riverside’s cachet results from its land plan, mature landscaping and history; the downside of living in an historic community is aged infrastructure, some of it critically in need of replacement immediately or in the very near future. The best way to address this is through a multi-year capital improvement plan, prioritizing based upon conditions that might have serious or even dangerous repercussions if deferred.
It is imperative that an adequate Capital Reserve Fund be re-established within the Village budge; these funds should not be mingled with current operating budgets. All forms of regional, state or federal assistance should be investigated to mitigate funding needs from the village budget.
How must Riverside address its financial future? Are there cuts that can be made? Is anything off limits?
Those questions sum up the job ahead of us, and there are no quick answers at this point. I bring to the table an open mind and willingness to consider all options to do what’s best for the community.
Riverside voters several years ago voiced approval for the village incorporating green initiatives. What can Riverside do to ensure to remain committed to that philosophy?
Technology is providing more green alternatives every day that are not just ecologically sound, but also economically achievable. Both elected officials and Village employees should we take advantage of the various forums that expose us to those ideas (print, lectures, training sessions, etc.) in order to maximize our opportunities to recognize and implement green initiatives whenever possible. If we commit ourselves to adopting the green solution wherever possible, we can make that philosophy second nature in village management.
Economic development has been a longtime concern in Riverside, for its downtown and on Harlem Avenue. What can the village do to foster such development? What shouldn’t it do?
As a standard, we should insure that our development processes, approvals, ordinances, fees, etc. do not unduly burden the small business owner, since that is the most likely retail/service operator that a small community like Riverside will attract in its downtown.
Working closely with the Chamber of Commerce and other local civic organizations will expand the pool of ideas for new businesses. Certain types of services bring more foot traffic than others. That and standard operating hours are helpful to maintaining a sense of vibrancy on the street so that shoppers are encouraged to linger. Potential business owners like to see that when they scout a new location. Attracting new business is like fund raising – you need to get out there and put the time in face to face with people. I am hopeful all of our Board members will be eager to play their part as ambassadors for Riverside, as I hope to do.
One thing we can all do is to patronize businesses once they’ve located in our village.
What other important issues will the next village board need to address? How would you suggest addressing those issues?
Establishing a sense of civility and teamwork on the Village Board is paramount and a first order of business. At this point, the capital improvement issue is probably the most critical issue I foresee, followed closely by bringing vitality to our retail centers. Since I won’t know what other significant challenges are until we are facing them, I can only commit to learn all I can on every issue and work towards the best solutions possible.