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 experience.
Previous community experience:
I’ve been a “Room Parent” for Sophia since she was a preschooler.
Currently a “Room Parent” for Ava at Komarek School.
I volunteer for the PTA at Komarek School as well.
Occupation: Radiologic Technologist
Associate Degree in Applied Science – Moraine Valley.
Triton College – Radiologic Technologist Certificate.
What is the present state of the village of North Riverside’s financial situation? What is being done and what can be done to ensure its long-term viability and make it more resistant to downturns in sales tax revenues?
The Village is currently $56 Million in debt (and growing).
We need to immediately end the lawsuit against the North Riverside Firefighters Local Union 2714 which has cost us taxpayers hundreds of thousands and also defies decade’s worth of established Illinois Labor Relation Laws.
Construct a Chamber of Commerce where residential and commercial business owners pool their resources to market North Riverside in order to raise revenues.
We have (the Municipal Village Party) outlined cost-effective solutions in order for the Village to sustain any economic downward spirals. Focusing on 12-hour shifts, creating traffic enforcement units and detailing Officers out to HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas) for our Police Department which has shown to be lucrative and successful in many other communities.
Instituting the Silver Spanner Program that has provided savings for other towns such as Berwyn and Franklin Park. Also, the Village has denied any efforts to utilizing federal grants provided by the S.A.F.E.R. program that will fund the hiring of new Firefighters (with expenses paid) for 2 years.
What is the realistic long-term solution for the North Riverside Fire Department? Does that future include a hybrid contract paramedic/union firefighter model? Wholly union? Wholly contract? How do you think your preferred model can be accomplished given the experience of the past two years?
A wholly Union Fire Department with a contract that initiates a Silver Spanner Program, a S.A.F.E.R. grant and an incentive package to Employees with 20+ years can show more savings rather than unsuccessful measures to privatize. Moving towards a future possibility in the creation of a Fire Protection District would be the ultimate legal solution to saving the tax payers money as well as providing quality Fire/EMS services. How much have we spent on legal fees for privatization from the summer of 2014 until now?
Who is in charge of the building department right now? How are building department matters being managed right now, and how should they be managed in the future?
As I understand it, our Director of Code Enforcement (Karyn Byrne) is still heading the Department but only works 2-3 days a week. The Fire Marshall (Ken) and the Assistant (Michelle) are picking up the slack.
We have a contracted company performing building and health inspections (two contracted individuals), a part-time plumbing inspector, a Fire Marshall and an Assistant.
I don’t understand why we cannot hire one or two people to perform all duties of the Department.
Now that a major road improvement project has been completed, what is the next important public infrastructure project for the village? How should it be funded?
Major road improvements (after over 15-20 years in most cases) have been accomplished due to political pressure from political opponents of this and previous Administrations.
Streets that have been in horrible conditions have been repaired. Others that are in mediocre stages will need to be addressed in the future through grants such CDBG’s (community Block Development Grants) and other State/Federal grants.
More importantly, the next infrastructure projects should primarily focus on water quality, flooding and sewers. Cure-in-lining, sewer separation projects and 50/50 Village-Resident flood control device installments should be our main focus. Accomplishing and passing a Flood Mitigation Plan (which the Village never had) qualifies the Village to receive grants for flood protection measures from FEMA and the IEMA.
With respect to funding, the Village could never fund any projects due to a consistent 20 year loss in water revenues. The money that the Village makes from water is directed towards maintaining our water and sewer infrastructure, the likelihood of that fund financing any projects have been dismal and unattainable.
Would the village benefit from a comprehensive planning process, perhaps as part of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning a la Riverside and Brookfield? If not, why not?
Before we submit to any comprehensive planning process, we need to first initiate a Business Development Group or Chamber of Commerce. Only then, can we sit down and have a discussion on whether to move forward with this respective planning process.
Do you support red light cameras? If so, why? If not, how would you replace the revenue from cameras now earmarked for pension obligations?
Red Light Cameras do create a good deal of revenue, but we cannot become reliant on this source of revenue due to the declining performances that occur year after year. We were projected to make $1.9 million and only produced $1.3 million so there will be considerate declines over the years. Unfortunately, we cannot measure the negative impact these cameras have on consumers boycotting or avoiding our Business District. We would survey the Residents and Business Owners to acquire a consensus on the future of red light cameras in North Riverside.
What are the other important issues facing North Riverside in the next four years? How should those be addressed?
Having Police Officers and Firefighters readily available at “all” times to assist any parent(s) with installing car seats for children. There are only a few Police Officers trained for this and Fire Department personnel cannot assit.
As a strong proponent of “Keep Kids Alive, Drive 25”, we’ve had parents complain about people speeding through streets while kids are playing outside.
We need to focus on our children’s safety and make it a top priority.
Help create fundraisers to improve schools’ maintenances and other structural improvements. Specifically for Komarek School and local educational facilities.
Create “Safe Houses” program in order to secure the safety of our children when walking home from school or from anywhere else. Essentially, children who fear of being followed, stalked or bullied can safely recognize a house as a “Safe House” where a household has passed background checks can display a “Safe House Emblem” on the front window pane allowing children this added security.
Focus on eliminating our debt, building up our respective funds and adhering to the premise of allocating budget surpluses towards paying off our $56 million deficit.