North Riverside Trustee Candidate
Age: 56 | Occupation: Retired 27-year Law Enforcement Professional with Command Experience | Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Why are you running for trustee in North Riverside? What motivates you and what experience and perspectives would you bring to the job? How would those be valuable as an elected official?
I am running for trustee because I feel that it is time for some new unbiased opinions and input to our village. Also, I am not afraid of making the best and sometimes the toughest decisions that would impact the village.
My motivation comes from being a good person with good intentions and wanting to help for the right reasons.
As my experience and community involvement is as follows, I have been the Chairman of the North Riverside Civil Service Commission since 2014. During this time, the commission has hired several police officers and firefighters. The commission has also promoted several police officers to the rank of sergeant and several firefighters to the rank of lieutenant.
Since 2016, I have been a trustee for the North Riverside Public Library, I currently serve as the treasurer for the library. During my time as a library trustee, we have hired a new director, installed a clear divider in the teenager area and we have replaced the original heating and cooling unit for the whole library. I am also a block captain and a member of the Holy Name Society.
All these positions are of value to the residents of North Riverside and the community. I have served with professionalism and made ethically sound and difficult decisions while serving on these positions. I will continue this ethos once I am elected as a trustee.
What can be done to ensure the village’s long-term financial viability and make it more resistant to downturns in sales tax revenues?
As we have seen this past year, the world is vulnerable to the unexpected and it is hard to predict and maintain goals during uncertainty. But one thing for sure would be to have a dialog with businesses and potential business owners to maintain the stores and store fronts as occupied as possible. By doing so, it would create a flowing tax revenue stream for the village.
As a trustee you will be asked to balance what’s best for the village as a whole with what might be in the interest of businesses or specific residents. How will you do that? When have you had occasion to do something similar in the past and how did you accomplish that?
The residents and the business are the village. This means that everyone has something at stake but in the end, the village provides for the residents and businesses. Good and sound decisions made by the village will lead to better conditions and opportunities for more businesses.
As the Chairman for the Civil Service Commission, I have had to make difficult decisions frequently. Also, as a trustee for the library, we have had to discuss and make similar decisions. I accomplish these decisions by being fair, consistent, and honest in reaching that outcome.
What future do you envision for North Riverside’s residential and commercial districts? How should the village approach redevelopment in the face the challenges faced by the retail sector? Should affordable housing be part of that redevelopment conversation? Why or why not?
I envision a future which is positive and filled with opportunity for the residents and businesses.
I feel that the village should embrace redevelopment. Again, there should not be any empty business locations in the village.
The village should concentrate on keeping businesses within the village and bringing in new ones. I do not feel that affordable housing would create a better revenue stream than businesses.
Social media has become an important way for local officials to communicate with residents, but not everyone in the village is on social media. What do you feel is the best way for elected officials to use social media to communicate with residents and how will you communicate with the wider community beyond that?
As the question states, “not everyone in the village is on social media”. We cannot force everyone to join social media. Everyone has their reasons for not being on, but I think the main reason is that social media is too one sided.
Whoever runs the cite or is first to post something has the platform. I think a better option would be a podcast or a local tv station that would show the board meetings as they take place.
Last summer was a challenging one for North Riverside in terms of fallout from civil unrest and safety concerns at North Riverside Park Mall. What role should the village play in responding to and preventing such incidents in the future?
I feel that the village, police, and fire departments did an outstanding job during all the chaos. Everything was contained within the mall area and it did not spill into the neighborhood. A continued dialog with the mall and monitoring social media for any mob action or takeover of the mall should continue.
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?
How do you continue to keep property taxes low? By bringing in more businesses and keeping the ones that are in the village now.
Pensions are promised to those that have contributed during their career. I think that maybe a slight increase in the contribution of the ones that will receive a petition should help. I do not feel that the residents should fund the pensions.
What are the three most important issues facing North Riverside in the next four years?
Resident trust in politics. These should be addressed by being the politicians being and honest with the community.
Keeping businesses in the village. Working with the business owners to help maintain all stores and businesses open and occupied.
Maintain low property taxes. Keep businesses in the village, find different revenue streams.