Graig Neville: Candidate Profile
West Chicago Alderman, Ward 7
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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.
City: West Chicago
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: West Chicago Alderman, Ward 7
Family: Married, 1 son (Grover Neville)
Occupation: Civil Engineer
Education: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Iowa State University 1993
Licensed Professional Engineer in Illinois, Indiana and Colorado
Civic involvement: Aquaponic Pilot Program at We Grow Dreams in West Chicago
Windy City BMW Chapter of BMW Car Club of America
American Society of Civil Engineers
Environmental and Water Resources Institute
Illinois Association of State Floodplain Managers
Stormwater Technical Advisory Committee - Lake and McHenry Counties
Addison Park District Aikido Instructor
Midwest Aikido Federation
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Infrastructure is the foundation of our civilization and economy. Everything that we take for granted on a daily basis, such as turning on the facet for water, flushing the toilet and driving to work all require a healthy well maintained infrastructure. My background in Civil Engineering will bring a strong perspective to the City Council to help keep West Chicago's infrastructure serving the needs of its residents and business. Wise investment in key infrastructure can create jobs and boost the economy.
Key Issue 2
Finding creative ways to support jobs, businesses, development and redevelopment. A strong economy requires business. People need places of employment to earn a living. West Chicago has been a good place for business and I would like to continue that good effort by contributing my past experience and knowledge of the land development process and civl engineering to the City Council.
Key Issue 3
Education. Children are our future and we should invest in them. America has been slipping in our educational rankings world-wide. Smart investment in education that promotes learning, critical thinking and innovation will produce the next generation of leaders, scientists and engineers. They must be equipped to not only handle the challenges of the future, but lead change and elevate America to the innovative leader we once were.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
My background in civil engineering makes me uniquely qualified in supporting West Chicago. As a civil engineer with over 18 years of experience I have been intimately involved with the development and maintenance of infrastructure in the region. Many of my years were spent in the land development industry where I have learned how private enterprise and public entities interact for the betterment of their citizens and businesses. My critical thinking, innovation and ability to solve problems with realistic and economical solutions will best serve West Chicago.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of your community's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
West Chicago has been frugal with their budget. I would encourage that to continue. In that regard I would say the City's tax rate is just right. I would suggest we investigate creative and innovative ways to stream line services and processes. This does not mean cutting jobs, but could be getting more service for the same cost as well as the same service for less cost. Also, investing in the City's infrastructure will be critical to attracting businesses and jobs as the economy recovers. I would like to bring my talents to West Chicago to ensure that the City is ready.
Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest public safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
Speeding on residential streets. Our children play on and around our neighborhoods and a child being struck by a car is a horror for any parent. Several of the residential streets in my Ward now have speed bumps in an attempt to slow cars down. Several stop signs have been added at intersections to further reduce these speeds. As a civil engineer I have access to an abundance of knowledge for transportation infrastructure. The problem is that people drive at what they perceive as a safe speed. An straight highway with 3 lanes gives a different perception than a tight winding road lines with trees. Thus, people naturally drive faster in wide open spaces. Our local ordinances require significant setbacks of buildings, wide residential roadways and small ornamental trees. These all result in the perception that drivers can safely travel faster. Installing traffic calming devices can reduce speeds. Speed bumps are only one of the many types of these devices and others may be more suitable. Also, a stop sign should have a pavement stripe to go with it. This will give a clearly defined stopping point for the driver and reduce the amount of 'rolling stops'. These will lead to lower speeds and safer neighborhoods.
In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed, and conversely, are there areas the budget does not give enough money to?
After reviewing the 2010 West Chicago budget, it is obvious that City staff is working hard to stream line the process. I have a similar mindset and will bring new ideas and a problem solving perspective to the Alderman position to help in pursing further efficiencies.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Investigating a pilot aquaponic project for the economic viability of year round locally grown food production (vegetables and fish). This could create local jobs and local revenues by reducing West Chicago's dependence on food from outside Illinois. Every year Illinois purchases nearly $46 billion in food, yet only $3 to $4 billion is from local growers.
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