Hubert Hermanek Jr.
North Riverside Mayor Candidate
Age: 61 | Occupation: Attorney | Education: B.A Loyola University (1980), J.D. De Paul University College of Law (1983)
Why are you running for mayor of 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 my 3rd term as Mayor. I was previously a Village Trustee, from 2009-2013. I believe I have made significant improvements for the Village since becoming Mayor in 2013. My background as a Trial Attorney, I believe, helps me make complex decisions and causes good rational judgment in making these difficult decisions.
What can be done to ensure the village’s long-term financial viability and make it more resistant to downturns in sales tax revenues?
Since becoming Mayor, I have diversified revenue streams significantly which helps when revenue from sales taxes declines during trying economic times.
As mayor 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?
I have always put the interest of the Village first when making decisions affecting specific businesses and specific residents. I have been successful in solving individual issues with individuals without harming Village interests.
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?
The Village during my Administration has made significant improvements and modernizations in its Zoning and vision of the future regarding redevelopment of the Mall and retail areas. We are intending on keeping our stores occupied and aesthetically attractive as possible and practicable. Currently, I do not believe there is any interest or necessity in sponsoring affordable housing.
Social media has become an important way for local officials to communicate with local 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?
Since becoming Mayor, the Village has never been more transparent with disseminating information and responding to concerns of our residents and businesses. We are in the process of unveiling our new Village website which will significantly add to transparency and communication. The Village has currently opened Facebook pages for the Village, Police and Recreation to be in touch with the residents and businesses.
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?
We have always partnered with the Mall when it comes to protecting it and those who frequent there. The Mall is private property, but it is in our Village, and our Police have an obligation to prevent unrest there as it would any other place in the Village.
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?
Since becoming Mayor, I have funded our pension obligations for our Police and Fire Departments 100%. I have tried to raise revenues to do so by not affecting our own residents (Video Gaming, Place for Eating Taxes, etc.). Our Village has low taxes and high services, which makes it such an attractive place for people to come, live, and go to our great schools. Significantly raising property taxes may hinder those goals.
What are the three most important issues facing North Riverside in the next four years? How should those be addressed?
I believe funding the Pensions, Community Development, and keeping our Village safe are the 3 most important issues. I will continue to progress in doing so as I have been for the past 8 years.