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:
- Senior Trustee of the North Riverside Village Board
- Chairman of the Garbage Streets & Alleyways Committee
- Former Chairman of the Water, Sewer, Drainage & Zoning Committee
- Former Member of the Finance Committee
- Former Member of the Recreation Committee
Previous community experience:
- Donated to the North Riverside Police Benevolent Organization for many years.
- Donated to the North Riverside Firefighters Local Union 2714 Fundraisers.
- Sponsored many Village Employees for various charity runs.
Co-Owner of the North Riverside Smokehouse
(Located in the Food Court at North Riverside Park Mall)
Trustee – Village of North Riverside
B.A. in Sociology & Political Science – Elmhurst College
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 current state of the Villages financial status is a $58 million debt.
As I have campaigned for in the past, measures to form an Economic Development Organization are currently being proposed.
Working with local businesses and marketing our Village for financial success is crucial. But, we must seek other financial measures to ensure the Village is not susceptible to only sales tax revenues.
North Riverside firefighters have been working without a contract since April 30, 2014. What is the realistic long-term solution for the North Riverside Fire Department? How do you think your preferred model can be accomplished given the experience of the past five years?
A realistic solution that would follow Illinois Labor Law would be to first stop any and all litigation that goes against Labor Law and the previous contract. We can essentially provide ambulance services by hiring qualified Firefighters who are on the Village’s eligibility hiring list to man the ambulance and gain not only experience but also knowledge of our own Fire Department and Village. This measure has proven to be extremely effective in Bensenville.
North Riverside historically has asked homeowners to pay very little in property taxes to support village services. With pension obligations continuing to grow and the state of retail sales on uncertain ground, how would you continue to keep property taxes low? Do residents need to start paying more to fund obligations such as pensions? Why or why not?
North Riverside has never taken advantage of a tax incentive the County offers when there’s new construction. The Village cannot raise taxes more than 5% and will need a referendum to do so. At this point, I don’t believe Residents would approve of large tax increases via referendum due to financial irresponsibility of the past. There are many measures that can be initiated to ease the financial strain we have endured. Pensions aren’t the problem…fiscal irresponsibility and bad business practices of the past are.
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?
I have campaigned since 2014 to establish a Chamber of Commerce or some sort of Business Development Group to ensure a vital and prosperous business district. With Retailers declaring bankruptcy the Village needs to be proactive and not reactive. We have waited almost 5 years to create an entity like this. Why the long wait if we want to be proactive?
What are the other important issues facing North Riverside in the next four years? How should those be addressed?
We are not bidding out major contracts to ensure a safeguard from increasing bills to our Residents and Businesses.
Instituting 12 hour shifts for the Police Department that will allow more Police Officers per shift, have our Officers more rested in order to be more active and less prone to injuries.
Create a Traffic Enforcement Unit that will ensure more safety and security throughout out major and minor streets.
Institute in-house billing for ambulance fees just like we did with water billing.
Cease and desist any and all measures to continue litigating Labor Law with our Fire Department.
Allow a Volunteer Program to exist where Residents and those interested can volunteer their time and help our Departments out.
The Crime Free Multi-Housing Program is a, state-of-the-art, crime prevention program designed to reduce crime, drugs, and gangs on apartment/residential properties. This program was successfully developed at the Mesa Arizona Police Department in 1992. The International Crime Free Multi-Housing Program has spread to nearly 2,000 cities in 48 U.S. States, 5 Canadian Provinces, England, Nigeria, and Puerto Rico, to name a few.