North Riverside Trustee Candidate
Age: 50 | Occupation: Financial options broker | Education: Nazareth Academy, Dominican University
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 after the year that we all went through, I feel that my experience, leadership and working with others is paramount to the stability and progress for the Village in the upcoming years.
Pre-Covid I was the Chairman of the Committee for Economic Development which took a large group of residents and professionals, also through community discussions and surveys, and looked at the needs of our community from a business perspective.
It is time to act on these ideas and implement them in the future growth of Village if we want to get back to a healthy and robust economy here in our town. I intend on bringing my experience working with residents along with leading community discussion, combined with my 6 years of Trusteeship to the table.
Working with everyone in the community, so all voices are heard, and my past experiences, I feel make me an asset to our community and a hopefully a valuable part of our future for rebuilding a Safe and Healthy Village.
What can be done to ensure the village’s long-term financial viability and make it more resistant to downturns in sales tax revenues?
The answer to long term financial viability is a combination of two things. The first is creating a business climate where our existing businesses are able to Rebuild and Renovate, which put themselves in a position to prosper in the future.
The second is to aggressively search out businesses that the community needs along with ones that have a high success rate in our area. Building a campaign to attract new businesses, like our surrounding towns, and renovating the space we have in our businesses district is a goal of mine in order to maintain and build a healthy and robust economy here again in North Riverside.
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?
Balancing what is best for the residents and business is something I have done for many years as Trustee. I have always had great discussions with the Mayor, Trustees, Administrators and especially residents before making any decisions regarding issues within our Village.
I take no vote or decision lightly and always do my homework on what is best for our community, considering all parties involved. One of the best decisions was a multi-year deal with our refuse hauler, we locked in a great price for a long term contract. I still feel it was a great deal for the residents and very cost effective for the Village.
That’s just one example of balancing the needs of residents along with taking the villages finances into account, a win-win for the community.
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?
After many discussions on Development and Re-Developing existing areas in town, I envision a huge redevelopment project in the business district along the tracks next to the mall and the outlets.
This would take a combined effort of the Village and mall to put these plans into action, something that myself and many residents are looking forward to getting started in the near future.
As for the residential side of development, if the owners or developers of the property decide to build homes, condos or apartments, I would hope that they would also have a combination of both residential and commercial usage worked into their plans.
Any plans for residential development within our community should benefit the entire community, All options will be looked at to ensure that it’s equitable for all of residents.
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?
Social media is large portion of our residents form of communication, but not everyone. I want everyone to be aware, and be part of, what’s happening in and around our town. I feel that besides the Village website and a few forums, the Village could also use our “red alert” system more often for events in town, especially when it pertains to residents safety.
I also think that keeping residents aware of events, construction and Public Works projects would help keep the residents more involved and connected. We want all residents aware of what’s happening at all times in the community.
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?
First off, I can’t thank our Police, Fire and First Responders enough for the job they have accomplished keeping us safe, especially in the last year. The next step is for the Village and Mall working hand in hand on a plan to prevent and protect our residents and visitors when we fully open back up.
The Village and Mall have to put together a plan for future issues that may arise that protects Residents, Police, Fire, First Responders, Mall Employees and visitors that come to shop or dine here that ensures a peace of mind. Safety of those that live, work and visit our Village is the most important issue facing all of us.
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?
As a Trustee, I have seen how fast our financial obligations continue to grow while retail sales continue struggle during these uncertain times. I have no intent on raising or placing any more taxes on the Homeowners, my outlook is to grow our existing businesses and grow our economy through attracting new businesses with high success rate businesses and restaurants.
We have an enormous opportunity with the traffic that goes through our community to attract businesses and develop existing unused land that could grow our economy and lesson the financial burden of the Village without having to add any more taxes on our residents, or cutting services.
What are the three most important issues facing North Riverside in the next four years? How should those be addressed?
The three most important issues facing North Riverside are safety of our residents, Economic Rebuilding and Redevelopment within our Business District and Financial Responsibility to our residents.
The first being safety of residents, we have an incredible Police and Fire departments that always go above and beyond help residents and visitors to our town. We will continue to provide them with the funding and training to maintain the excellent track record of being the best around.
The second is rebuilding and rejuvenating our economy. We first approach existing businesses and have a conversation about what we as a Village can help them survive and strive in the future. We then aggressively look for new businesses to come to our town, which in turn attracts more businesses and jobs to our community.
The third is financial responsibility to the residents. By growing and building our economy it will lessen the burden of taxes to our residents and allow us to provide more services without more fees to our community. It is our responsibility, as elected officials, to find ways to ensure that our Village provides top quality services to our residents. I encourage all residents to come to Village meetings and ask questions. A resident that asks questions and talks with their elected officials about the decisions being made are a very important asset to our community. This ensures Transparency throughout the process of policy making and financial responsibility to the community.