It may still seem far off, but in a scant two months (less than that if you vote early) folks in North Riverside will be casting ballots for three village trustee seats up for election.

There are seven candidates – two full slates and one independent – so, it’s a competitive campaign and one where those elected face some real issues in terms of the village’s ability to balance future budgets.

The last couple of years have been tight ones for North Riverside – only a big cash infusion in the form of federal COVID-19 relief funds allowed it to balance its books in 2022 – and the village expects to cover a deficit of around $800,000 in 2023 by eating into its cash reserves.

That’s not a sustainable strategy, and officials know it. There are some hard choices ahead.

Electing candidates who are up to the job is, of course, critical to North Riverside meeting this moment.

That’s why we have just begun to sit down one-on-one which each candidate running for trustee to find out who they are, what their visions are and what policies they’ll support in order for North Riverside to continue to provide high quality services without sending the village’s coffers off a cliff.

This week, we have a report for our first candidate interview with independent Jose Del Angel. Others will follow in the coming weeks as we are able to schedule and interview the other candidates. Hopefully, all will take advantage of this opportunity to acquaint themselves with voters.

Being an elected official in a small town like North Riverside is a real responsibility. While professional staff are there to handle day-to-day operations, it is trustees and the village president who set policy for spending, cutting spending, for influencing economic development, raising critical revenue, local property tax decisions and more.

There are no silver bullets, no easy answers when it comes to governing, and anyone who says they have all the answers or just to “trust them” when they arrive without a plan needs to be judged very carefully.

As the old adage goes, elections have consequences. It’s important that voters become informed on the candidates, and we’ll try to do our best to help.