Matt Fuesting: 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
Office sought: West Chicago Alderman, Ward 7
Family: Married to Laura, one son, Matt Jr.
Education: Juris Doctor, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 1988
Bachelor of Science in Business,
Eastern Illinois University, 1983
Civic involvement: 4 the People
Simply a Mom
Elected offices held: City Council, West Chicago, 2006-Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Continuing to adequately fund our police department, without raising property taxes, so we can continue to provide our residents with safe neighborhoods they expect and deserve.
Key Issue 2
Working towards our goal of improving every street and road in West Chicago. We now have a dedicated road rebuilding fund which a large part of the revenue is from sales tax dollars.
Key Issue 3
To ensure that our two new water tanks are completed in the next few years. This will improve our delivery system of water to our residents.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have a proven record of accomplishments as an Alderman for the City of West Chicago. I have been part of a city council that has consistently reduced budgets, improved services to our residents and have enhanced our ability to protect our residents by increasing the number of police officers patrolling our streets. Our Mayor and City Council have worked together to change the philosophy of how we view our residents. We now refer to our residents as customers and investors in our community, not taxpayers.
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.
As a member of the Finance Committee, I believe the present level of sales taxes that the city receives is just right. We have endured tough economic times. To increase the sales tax would not be appropriate. Every municipality is having to adjust to less revenues being returned back to the municipalities based upon the financial status of the State of Illinois. My goal is to continue to do more for our residents with the revenues which we receive.
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.
The biggest public safety concern of our residents in the city is adequate police patrols in all neighborhoods. We will hire two additional police officers to fill two vacant positions due to retirement. By doing so, this will enable our police department to expand its routine patrols to strengthen our community. We recently allowed the officers to expand their shifts to 12 hour days, thus providing more personnel for each shift of work.
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?
As an Alderman, I have voted five times to reduce our annual budgets by approximately five percent on average, with the 2011 budget being reduced by 6.8 percent. These reductions have not impacted any city services to our residents. Several years ago we privatized our waste water treatment plant resulting in a savings of nearly a quarter million dollars to our customers. We streamlined our personnel in the city of West Chicago and have consistently provided more services with less revenue. We will continue to look for ways to streamline our operations in the city. However, based upon my experience as a member of the Finance Committee, I do not believe there are additional areas in which to trim the budget. To do so, would result in not being able to adequately serve our customers.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
We have had discussions with the West Chicago Park District and the College of DuPage, about an idea to bring a campus of these organizations to our downtown. This partnership will promote the sharing of resources by multiple organizations for the benefit of the residents of West Chicago. If we are successful in this idea, we can bring a bigger population to our downtown. This will encourage entrepreneurs to start small businesses to serve this population.
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