Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Office sought: Brookfield Village Trustee
Previous political experience:
- Other than Parish School Board this is my first venture into the political arena
Previous community experience:
- Parish Choir Member & Soloist- 30 years
Occupation: Nursing Home Administrator
- Bachelor of Science, Psychology – Loyola University, Chi
What can the village realistically do to promote and encourage economic development, and where should those efforts be focused? How can village government help promote what essentially is private investment?
Economic Development is possibly the most important focus for the Board and Village Management. It is significant that someone was finally hired to address this issue fulltime. Funds from outside the Village will become increasingly more challenging. Brookfield has been and remains a great community to purchase a home, possibly raise a family, and enjoy its environment. We need to promote a positive image of the Community, as a destination with new appealing businesses and a strong core of service businesses to maintain high traffic. In addition, supporting and encouraging growth of current businesses, the Board and Management needs to look realistically at what incentives make sense for them as we look at future economics. Possibly a business association is necessary to enable the business community to work together. I suggest we lessen the petty conflicts as well as discussions of the significant issues that degrade when all these are bantered back and forth in social media.
The village has reacted to local flooding in recent years by instituting a flood-mitigation program and has taken steps to build a pump station at Forest and Washington. Has the village’s response to local flooding been adequate? What else can or should be done to help prevent floods from harming residents and their properties?
It appears the Village has responded to the flooding problem but it is not adequate. I have personal experience with flooding issues for the last 38 years. I have made frequent improvements to my home to mitigate the problem – not always successfully. I live approximately a block away from the planned pump station which will be an expensive price for only a partial fix. Like the bridge on Washington, the pump station can be overtaken by intense flooding and rendered useless. Brookfield needs to work with the MWRD to understand what is being considered in the region to tackle the flooding issues. The Village has to have those difficult discussions of acquiring property for flood relief. The current flood control program for individual properties will help some residents but this is far from a resolution. Contributing tax dollars or other funds on a small percentage of private property infrastructures creates winners and losers within the town. Separated storm sewers must begin to be budgeted for in the future.
The village had adopted an Open Space Plan and has made significant improvements to Kiwanis and Ehlert parks in recent years. What are your thoughts on those improvements and how should additional improvements be approached and funded?
The Parks in Brookfield are a tremendous asset and I am pleased with the improvements made. Continued focus on those as well as other beautifications keeps families, those living here and visiting, enjoying our Village while also making purchases at local stores and restaurants. This should remain a priority and good maintenance will be essential. Fundraising at various events as well as seeking grants will probably be the best source of funds. Also having discussions with local businesses is an additional avenue to seek contributions. It is extremely important to remember that the number of voters coming out for the April 7th election sends a message to Springfield and Washington that Brookfield residents have a voice and will use it. This helps us with our requests for financial support and grants.
How should Brookfield fund and schedule necessary repairs to streets and other infrastructure?
My colleague, Mike Towner has addressed this Infrastructure funding by suggesting a Bond out of 10 million for 10 years with an 8 year reconstruction plan, then after 10 years role that over again. This is for the street and sewer repair. I support this plan. Maintaining streets and infrastructure is critical to the longevity of this town. Past decisions to force some residents to pay for their own street improvements has not been equitable, while other streets have been paid from other Village sources. Residents expect streets to be in good repair. Working toward street upgrades that include a separated storm sewer would also alleviate much of the flooding it seems most Governing Bodies have trouble addressing this Infrastructure issue– costs affect current voting residents. A responsible Board needs to bite that bullet, while responsibly reviewing all options and having open, intelligent, informed discussions.
Are there areas where the village could be providing better service to residents? How? Should the village increase or decrease funding for certain services, programs and capital improvements? Why or why not?
I believe providing good Customer Service throughout all services in the Village is necessary. The current Village Manager is on the right direction with this and continued focus and training is necessary, particularly to impact the negative experience residents have had in the past. Public Works did not handle leaf removal or the snow removal this year very well. I realize we experienced large snow falls and I am sure those employees worked long hours. But, Managers need to be accountable for production and effective employees. Funding Village services is always a serious issue and I would hope not to look at any decrease in Funds. Of course, we all need to comply with budgets, in our own Families, in our Village, in our State, and in our Country. The very serious possibility of our current Governor taking dollars from their planned use in Municipalities will be devastating on the local budget and all our Resident’s voices will need to be heard in Springfield. Residents expect service. Residents also need to be asked what their priorities are and open meetings need to be held.
What is the most important issue facing the village in the next four years? What should be done about it?
The financial situation in the State of Illinois will impact greatly on our Village’s future depending on many factors- pension reform and other issues. There are new Families moving into town, property values are important as well as services. Having a strong voice in the State to ensure local funding is not affected by cuts or the State Pension disaster will be essential.
The Village’s two most significant challenges are addressing Infrastructure Improvement and Flooding mitigation.
What other issues do you feel will be important for the next village board to address? How should they be addressed?
The next Village Board needs to be seen as transparent and open to all Village residents, living at all ends of the Village. The Board and Management Team will always have the responsibility of making the hard, thought out, and prudent decisions. Openness to the voice of the residents is essential for Good Government.