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updated: 2/23/2011 3:46 PM

Karl Langhammer: Candidate Profile

Carol Stream fire protection

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  • Karl Langhammer, running for Carol Stream fire protection

      Karl Langhammer, running for Carol Stream fire protection

 

 

 

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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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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Carol Stream

Website: http://N/A

Office sought: Carol Stream fire protection

Age: 51

Family: Married- Two Children Resident of Carol Stream for 21 years

Occupation: Regional Sales Manager- Veterinary Pharmaceuticals

Education: Bachelor of Science-Animal Science

University of Illinois 1982

Civic involvement: Carol Stream Fire Protection District

Former Paid on Call Firefighter

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

Property Taxes- Fiscal responsibility. The CSFPD represents the third largest taxing body right after CCSD 93 and high school district 87. Approximately 8% of our property taxes go to CSFPD. The majority of residents in Carol Stream are very concerned about the high property taxes we pay and the continuous increases we are realizing despite our declining property values. Residents want taxing bodies to hold the line on tax increases, especially in these tough economic times. Thus, my first campaign issue if elected is to make sure every effort is made to ensure that residents of Carol Stream CSFPD realize no tax increase or the smallest increase possible while maintaining the quality of service provided by the CSFPD.

Key Issue 2

Fiscal Accountability- The CSFPD is currently in solid financial condition, however there is a trend that should be concerning to every tax payer. Over the last five years, revenue has increased approximately 35%, an average of 7% per year. Most of this revenue is generated from property taxes. During the same period, the district has increased spending by 44% or 9% on average per year. Spending has outpaced revenue on average of 2% per year over the last five years. My second campaign issue if elected is to make sure the district lives within its means and spending is controlled.

Key Issue 3

Meeting Future Fiscal Needs Without Raising Taxes- This will be a challenge! Property taxes are the major financing source of the district. Last year, the district revenue increased by 6% or $509,000.00. We have to realize that this type revenue increase may be a thing of the past.

The CSFPD tax revenues are driven primarily by the value of residential and commercial property in the district, with the property tax bills determined by our local government assessment of the value of the property. Property tax collections lag the real estate market because the local reassessment takes time to catch up with changes in the market. Thus, current property tax bills and property tax collections reflect values of the property from anywhere from two to three years prior.

The effects of the downturn in the real estate market in recent years will start to become evident in property tax revenues collected, but still do not yet reflect the full effects of the economic or housing downturn. The 2010 CSFPD collections still continue to reveal strong growth as property assessments are aligned with previous growth in the real estate market. The full weight of the decline in housing values has not hit the CSFPD budget and the district tax revenue will most likely start to decline. The district's decline in tax revenue will most likely continue for several years to come as declining property values continue to be reflected in property tax assessments and collections. Thus, my final campaign issue is that we have to plan for this possible decline in revenue and prepare to look at trimming the budget where it will NOT impact the quality of service or protection provided by the CSFPD.

Questions & Answers

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

My desire, experience and knowledge are the key elements that make me the best candidate for the job.

Desire: I have lived in the village for the past 21 years and I am proud to call Carol Stream home. I was proud to serve the residents of the fire district as a paid on call firefighter. I still have a strong desire to serve this community that I will call home for many years to come.

Experience and Knowledge: My training and experience as paid on call firefighter for the district has provided me an understanding of fire fighting and the fire fighting industry. It also has allowed me to become knowledgeable of the district's operations, its personnel and most of its needs. My career of 29 years in sales/sales management has allowed me to develop the business skills and leadership skills that I feel will be an asset in serving the community as fire district trustee.

Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?

Simply, my motivation for running for this office is my desire to serve the residents of the fire district.

Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest fire safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.

Many of my friends and neighbors are concerned about spiraling health costs as they possibly pertain to paramedic services.

Since 1980 medical aid responses have tripled in the United States. Carol Stream has realized similar statistics. Last year, 69.53% of responses were EMS/rescue calls while actual fire calls only represented 3.5% of total responses. Carol Stream is a maturing community and we should expect a continuous increase in EMS calls. The costs associated with providing paramedic services will continue to increase. These costs include continuing education, training, and certification of personnel and cost of new ambulances.

Last year, for the first time, the CSFPD instituted an ambulance fee for the residents to off set the increasing costs associated with providing paramedic services. These costs are usually picked up by our personal insurance carriers.

For residents that unfortunately do not have health care insurance, the fee will be waived. If the insurance carrier has a dollar limit that they will pay for this service, this dollar amount will be ultimately the fee the district will collect form the resident. Thus, there will be no out of pocket cost for the resident.

To ensure that the district has all the necessary funds to continue to provide great paramedic services, there must be a commitment that the revenues generated by ambulance fees are "keep in check", are only utilized to fund this service and not diverted to supplement other budgets. The district has to make a commitment to investigate all cost saving measures and appropriate budgets amounts are assigned to what appears to be one of the greatest service needs for the residents.

In these tight economic times, 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?

I feel strongly that in these tough economic times, every budgetary line item needs to be closely studied. We have to challenge ourselves to make hard decisions and make sure that expenditures reflect true needs and not desires.

Conversely, we need to make sure we have adequate monies to provide EMS and paramedic services, since this will continue to be an ever growing need for our 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

Most definitely yes!

Every effort must be made to investigate and develop cooperative agreements with other local government agencies that would facilitate cost savings.

Opportunities may include:

Development of Carol Stream Government Buying Group: Pool government needs together and leverage cost savings on volume purchases from office supplies to vehicles.

Have the fire district join a consortium with other fire districts or city fire departments that would provide significant savings on purchases of fire apparatus.

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