Theresa “Terri” Sarro
North Riverside Trustee Candidate
Age: 53 | Occupation: A/R Specialist | Education: Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Masters of Business Administration
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 reelection for a Village Trustee position. I have lived in North Riverside for 28 years and love this community. Prior to being elected I was very active on a volunteer basis with Komarek School, North Riverside Little League, local fundraisers and Christmas for a Cause. I have enjoyed serving the residents of North Riverside these past four years as a Village Trustee. I currently am an Accounts Receivable Specialist for Parathon Recovery Services and hold both a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and a Master’s in Business Administration. Chairs the Administrative Committee and has used my extensive business experience to guide the operations and finances of the 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?
One of my goals as a Village Trustee is to implement an effective marketing and advertising plan to attract new businesses into our business district. We have one of the most trafficked areas in the state of Illinois and it is time for North Riverside to attract those commuters to our local businesses. As a trustee, I will ensure we advertise to promote the benefits of doing business 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?
As a Village Trustee, you have to balance what is best for the village as a whole. We need to keep our business district strong and safe with a variety of businesses while providing high quality services for our residents. We need to listen to suggestions and concerns from all residents and businesses to ensure North Riverside thrives.
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?
As we redevelop and rebuild both from COVID-19 and the retail downturn, it is imperative that we continue to put our village and residents first. All redevelopment options will be discussed; however our priorities will continue to be economic development and community safety as we help rebuild our community stronger than before for both our residents and businesses
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?
I am proud of the improvements we have made to both our social media platforms and our community alert system. On local Facebook pages, I have been able to provide residents with timely and accurate information and updates. In addition, we implemented an auto attendant free caller support system. When someone calls the Village Hall, he or she is greeted by a live person. This ensures our residents get clear, accurate, and timely responses. We know each resident has different means of getting alerts, and we will continue to expand each of our communication systems to reach all residents in a timely manner
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?
The Village has continued to improve ways of keeping our communities safe. The North Riverside Park Mall has an increased police presence and monitors social media for any possible threats to the safety at the mall. The village will continue to work the mall and take additional steps to keep our community safe, both on our residential blocks and in our local businesses
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?
Historically North Riverside has asked homeowners to pay very little in property taxes; approximately 2.5%. Surrounding towns pay significantly more in property taxes to their respective town. We plan to keep property taxes low by focusing our marketing efforts on the economic development of the business district, seek grant opportunities, and to cut costs where feasible while ensuring high quality services to our residents. Since my time in office, the Village has paid 100% of the village’s annual required contributions as determined by an independent actuary and will continue to be as the Board has adopted a pension funding policy.
What are the three most important issues facing North Riverside in the next four years? How should those be addressed?
The main challenges over the next four years include generating revenue to bring prosperity to the Village and residents, funding our pension plans, and to continue to provide residents with great village services while keeping our costs down. We will not cut the budget with meaningless cuts nor cut services for our residents. We will develop and implement effective marketing and advertising plans to maintain and attract new businesses to this Village. Economic development in North Riverside will ensure prosperity for businesses and residents.