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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.
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Office sought: Aurora City council
Occupation: Baum Property Management - Property Manager
Education: B A degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois - Chicago.
Civic involvement: Planning Commission - 1980 to 1985.
Riverwalk Commission - 1988 to present.
Elected offices held: Alderman - 6th Ward, 1985 to present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
With the nation's current Great Recession, we have to be sure that the city budget is balanced and that revenues will meet the needs of the community. We must prioritize that our city budget is balanced, that cuts are made, and priorities are given to moving our city forward. We must define the needs of the community and fund them accordingly.
Key Issue 2
Economic development. We have made great strides since I have been an Alderman. Aurora is now the state's 2nd largest city and has made great strides in bringing businesses and jobs to our city. We must continue to be aggressive in promoting our city, offering economic incentives, and utilization of our TIF districts to develop and re-develop our community.
Key Issue 3
Indian Trail - between Lake Street and Penn Avenue is scheduled to have added a left turn lane between these two intersections. There is a huge amount of traffic in this area and is unsafe for vehicles moving through this are and also for entering and exiting the businesses here. I will continue to monitor this and make sure that this project begins and ends on time and within the estimated project costs.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have lived in the 6th Ward all of my life. I have the experience, being the second longest serving Alderman (by 3 weeks) on the Aurora City Council. I have served on the Government Operations Committee, Finance Committee (18 years) and presently I am Chair (8 years) of the Planning and Development Committee (26 years). I have also, served on the Planning Commission and I serve on the Riverwalk Commission Commission (I am the originator of this). I also, serve on the River's Edge Park Committee and was instrumental in helping to get this off the ground. I have also, served on the Aurora Downtown Committee.
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.
It seems about right. And Aurora's local sales tax is right around our neighboring comminity's as well. If the sales tax rate was too high, then the business community and Chamber of Commerce would have already petitioned the Mayor and Alderman that they were too high. Also, we have numerous businesses that are continuing to locate and open their businesses in Aurora. For example, Chick-fil-A just opened at the Mall last year and is doing an outstanding business.
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.
Foreclosures - both residential and commercial is the biggest challenge that our city faces today. With all of the vacant foreclosure housing, the community is very concerned with the stability and safety of the neighborhoods. Right now the city has not had many incidents, but we must be vigilant and if need be, board up the ones that need it, mow the lawns (while placing leins on the property), etc., We will continue to notify the banks that they have to maintain their properties within our city.
We must also, make sure that the crime rate continues to drop. Current crime rates are at all time lows now in Aurora. We must continue to be aggressive in our policing methods, code violation enforcement, quality of life issue enforcement, and Crime Free Housing requirements and enforcement (I co-sponsored this ordinance).
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?
The City Council just adopted the fiscal year 2011 budget in December. The Mayor and Alderman spent a lot of time going over the budget line item by line item. There was $19 million dollars that needed to be cut in order to balance the budget for 2011. Of course, there always needs to be found a balance between revenues and expenditures. But the basic needs of the community are met in this budget ie., public safety, water and sewer, public infrastructure, code violations, etc. Although the current fiscal year 2011 is a tight one, the budget continues to meet the needs of our citizens while at the same time moving the city forward.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Adopting a Condo / Townhome conversion ordinance. I am currently working with the community and city staff to define the terms of conversions from rental to owner occupied. This proposed ordinance would balance the needs of development, with quality standards, while protecting the rights of the consumer. I am hoping this will be ready to be considered by the city council some time in the spring.