Breaking News Bar
updated: 3/31/2011 10:14 AM

Steve Alesch: Candidate Profile

Warrenville Park District

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Steve Alesch, running for Warrenville Park District

      Steve Alesch, running for Warrenville Park District

 

 

 

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.

Jump to:

BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Warrenville

Website: www.electalesch.org

Office sought: Warrenville Park District

Age:55

Family: Daughter - Heather, age 29

Son - Shawn, age 26

Occupation: Software Engineer

Education: Bachelors Degree in Computer Science, Masters Degree in Computer Science

Civic involvement: Member, Illinois Ballot Integrity Project, DuPage Chapter; Member, DAWN; Supporter, Friends of the Great Western Trails

Elected offices held: None

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Open Space

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the Warrenville Park District has a relatively low amount of open space per capita, which was cited as a reason for the denial of a recent renovation grant for Kiwanis Park.

While Warrenville is surrounded by open spaces with some of the area's most beautiful forest preserves, having open spaces within the district, especially within walking distance of residents' homes, is important to both the quality of life for our community as well as our district's fiscal health. Given that there will be an increase in revenues coming into the district (due to an expiring TIF district) and property values everywhere are at a low point, there may be opportunities to acquire open space at lower costs, both from private owners and other units of government.

Whatever opportunities exist, we need to keep taxpayers in mind. Even small increases in tax bills can be incredibly burdensome to families, so with each project we have to ask 1) can we realistically finance this without burdening the taxpayers 2) do the people within our district want this 3) does this improve the quality of life of our residents.

The other part of the equation is, we must protect the open space that we currently have.

Key Issue 2

Unmet Parks and Recreational Needs

While there are a number of sports and exercise programs available to children and older adults, I'd like to see a wider variety of programming to promote healthy living in a much broader sense of the term. For instance, the Park District can take a leading role in promoting sustainable living by organizing more community based projects to preserve and restore park lands and open space -- including sustainable gardening/landscaping, invasive species removal projects, and volunteer park clean-up days. These types of programs get families and all residents outdoors while also improving the community.

Key Issue 3

Fiscal Responsibility and Transparency

I want to protect the quality of our parks as they currently exist, while making thoughtful, sustainable, well timed and sensibly financed improvements to facilities and programming. As commissioner, I will also work toward greater transparency through posting expenditures and bids on the district's Web site, because the public has a right to easily accessible information.

Questions & Answers

What programs aren't paying for themselves? Would you keep, eliminate or change them? How and why?

The whole Park District is significantly funded by the taxpayers, so it's a stretch to say that any program is really revenue neutral or self sustaining.

In that light, I think we have to consider what's important to the taxpayers and the people who use the district in providing a general programming direction. For specific programming decisions, the board needs to rely on the professional staff at the Park District to balance a program's resource needs with its fees and enrollment.

So I would not want to presuppose that the answer to every under performing problem is to cut it. When a program is struggling, I would first, ask a lot of questions, then look for constructive solutions and offer advice and assistance, and help the staff in any way I can.

However, I'm not interested in micro managing program directors or other staff. I think when board members get into dictating day-to-day decisions that should be made by staff, that's where a lot of waste and internal frustration gets created. Rather I'd see my role as providing general direction and budget for the district, while helping to problem solve for programming or other areas as needed.

Is there any additional open space the park district needs to acquire? Please describe.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Warrenville Park District has a relatively low amount of open space per capita, which was cited as a reason for denial of a recent renovation grant for Kiwanis Park.

While Warrenville is surrounded by open spaces with some of the area's most beautiful forest preserves, having open spaces within the district, especially within walking distance of residents' homes, is important to both the quality of life for our community as well as our district's fiscal health. Given that there will be an increase in revenues coming into the district (due to an expiring TIF district) and property values everywhere are at a low point, there may be opportunities to acquire open space at lower costs, both from private owners and other units of government.

Whatever opportunities exist, we need to keep taxpayers in mind. Even small increases in tax bills can be incredibly burdensome to families, so with each project we have to ask 1) can we realistically finance this without burdening the taxpayers 2) do the people within our district want this 3) does this improve the quality of life of our residents.

The other part of the equation is, we must protect the open space that we currently have.

Are there any unmet recreational needs? If yes, what are they and how would you propose paying for them? Or, should they wait until the economy improves?

While there are a number of sports and exercise programs available to children and older adults, I'd like to see a wider variety of programming to promote healthy living in a much broader sense of the term. For instance, the Park District can take a leading role in promoting sustainable living by organizing more community based projects to preserve and restore parklands and open space -- including sustainable gardening/landscaping, invasive species removal projects, and volunteer park clean-up days. These types of programs get families and all residents outdoors while also improving the community.

Would you support sharing/pooling resources (i.e. printing, vehicles) with other local governments (school districts, village, etc.)? If so, what areas would you consider combining or merging to save money or improve efficiency?

I'd always be interested to hear ideas for resource sharing, but in general, in order to protect the taxpayers, board members have to remember their responsibility to ensure that our employees and resources serve the Warrenville Park District first. Resource sharing inevitably will cause conflict, and may expose the Park District assets to any mismanagement, waste, or corruption going on in other units of government that could negate the cost savings. Therefore, we have to go into any arrangement with extreme caution, and if we do have resource sharing arrangements, they should be very clearly outlined and limited.

It should be noted that Warrenville Park District does not have a budget crisis. In fact, because of the expiration of a TIF district, the amount of money the district collects in taxes will increase without any impact on the residents. We need to make sure this money gets used for paying down our debt, building our cash reserves, making low-cost improvements, and when the right opportunities arise, acquiring open spaces.

If you are a newcomer, what prompted you to run for the park board? If you're an incumbent, list your accomplishments or key initiatives in which you played a leadership role.

I decided to run for public office because I want to contribute something positive to my community by providing an independent voice on the Park District board. While our Park District is small, it is vitally important, and I want to protect the district from both overly optimistic expansion, as well as unnecessary, cynical budget hatcheting. I want to protect the quality of our parks as they currently exist, while making thoughtful, sustainable, well timed and fiscally responsible improvements to facilities and programming.

Share this page