Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Office sought: Trustee
Previous political experience: Current Village Trustee
Previous community experience: Planning Commission, Berm Committee Member, Theater Board,
District 94 School Board Member
Occupation: RTI Special Education Paraprofessional
Education: Triton College
Police and fire pensions are a heavy burden on the village’s annual budget, but they must, according to state law, be funded. What can the North Riverside Village Board do in the future to make sure those obligations are met?
I acknowledge the service and dedication that our municipality’s public service workers provide our citizens. These individuals are due the benefits that they are owed. Are they sustainable and affordable at their present growth? I believe not. Our community, like many neighboring communities is struggling with this issue. The unfortunate fact that we face is that in order to meet these future obligations, we will have to work on restructuring our budgets and develop a viable plan of debt adjustment. This is a tough pill to swallow, but is necessary to ensure our villages future economic stability. I think its also essential to target state legislation and seek to reform current state laws that make the actions of a village capable of fulfilling their obligations.
North Riverside ended its freeze on local property taxes by raising the tax levy in December 2014. How should the village board approach the issue of extending the tax levy in future years?
Because we are a land locked community with limited space for growth, the next several tax years will be critical to our villages financial position, because right now we are limited in our ability to alter our property tax strategy. However, with the bringing in of new revenue producing business, we are able to capture all the available dollars from the current years new property values. Going forward, we may have to propose a referendum to the taxpayers of North Riverside and let them have a voice in the decision.
Are there spending cuts or increases you would recommend, and is there any way to make cuts without diminishing services to residents? Are any areas off limits for spending cuts?
At this time, we cannot discriminate against what can and can’t be cut. I feel we may be paying too much in health and benefits and we need to address this issue and perhaps shop around for better options.
What is the most important issue facing the village in the next four years? What should be done about it?
Pension obligations are a growing concern that we will be facing for sometime. North Riverside is looking into several ways to address these issues.
Should elected officials and their families be eligible for the village’s health insurance program? Why or why not?
If its available to elected officials it should be their decision whether or not to accept coverage.
What other issues do you feel will be important for the next village board to address? How should they be addressed?
Addressing the numerous water main breaks we are experiencing. Repairs of the village streets and overall infrastructure issues. Also, tackling our financial obligations so we don’t find ourselves facing further financial woes.