Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Office sought: Riverside Village Trustee
Previous political experience: Current Chairman, Planning and Zoning Commission; Past Chairman, Long Term Finance Committee; Member, Economic Development Commission
Previous community involvement: Board Member/Coach, Riverside Little League; Coach, Riverside-Brookfield Junior Bulldogs; Coach, Riverside Parks & Recreation; Member, Riverside Community Caucus
Education: M.B.A, University of Michigan; B.S. Finance & Real Estate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Occupation: Senior Vice President, Group Manager for Associated Bank’s National REIT Banking Business in Chicago, IL.
What made you want to run for village trustee in Riverside?
I have served Riverside historically on three commissions and have gained valuable insight into the Village’s operations as a result. I feel that I now have the flexibility to dedicate more time to the Village and am interested in serving in more of an Executive capacity versus the Advisory capacity of leading a Commission.
What is the most important issue facing the next village board, and what should the solution be?
The next Village Board will continue to be challenged with balancing Riverside’s rich heritage with the needs of a modern Village. Economic pressures will continue to increase given the financial challenges of the State and the increasing costs to maintain the aging infrastructure of Riverside. There is no single bullet, however all potential revenue sources need to be pursued and the talents of the Village populace must continue to be better leveraged to address issues facing the Village.
If elected, what changes, if any, would you like to have accomplished by the end of your term?
I would like to see Riverside continue to become a more welcoming business environment. A lot of focus has been placed on the Central Business District, however there remain many opportunities along the Village’s major traffic arteries. I look forward to seeing the rejuvenation of the CBD coupled with material progress along Harlem Avenue and Ogden Avenue, as well as First Avenue, 31st Street and 26th Street potentially.
If elected, what changes would you most strongly resist?
I will most strongly resist any real estate tax increase referendum except as an absolute last resort and only after all other revenue opportunities have been pursued. While the Village of Riverside represents only 15% (and shrinking) of a typical homeowner’s tax bill (70% go to the schools) it is clear that increased financial demands on homeowner’s is not sustainable. The Village Administration has done a good job operating with the Budget provided however expense growth continuing to exceed revenue growth is not sustainable at the current level of Village services. I am certain the Village will be faced with some tough financial decisions over the next four years.
What other issues facing the village board are of interest to you? Why?
I am much less familiar with the operations of Public Works, Police and Fire than I am with the rest of the Village’s operations. These departments provide the most essential services to the Village, which are often taken for granted. I am looking forward to playing a small part in the effort to preserve and enhance current service levels in the face of geometrically increasing expenses.