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updated: 2/23/2011 4:05 PM

John Wassinger: Candidate Profile

Bensenville parks

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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



City: Bensenville

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Bensenville parks

Age: 53

Family: Married 23 years, same woman..

3 Children

Occupation: Real Estate Broker/Owner RE/MAX 1st in Elmhurst

Education: Fenton High School 1975 (I am a life long resident)

Business Admin 3 years Southern Illinois University

Civic involvement: Past President and founding member Bensenville Chamber of Commerce. Reading mentor, Bensenville youth basketball coach. I have been on numerous focus groups from Fenton strategic planning to the Village of Bensenville property usage and zoning analysis.

Elected offices held: Bensenville Park Board 1999-2005, appointed in 2009.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Yes I have, no I have not. I was pulled over by an officer and should have co-operated more. Things escalated to the point that I was arrested. I went to court and the matter was thrown out.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

The primary focus will be to secure the financial future of the agency. We live in a time where the traditional revenue streams of the past cannot be counted on for the future. We have the tax state cap in place (which I agree with) that does not allow for us to keep pace with the costs of doing business. We also have a questionable levy to begin with when you look at what has happened to residents home values, while the taxes they pay have no been reduced. Finally, Bensenville has the greatest number of TIF districts per capita in the state.I strongly believe that our agency must look for any alternate revenues sources available. This does not stop with County, State and Federal grants, but increasing the viability of our current enterprises and looking to corporate and philanthropic monies.

Key Issue 2

Development of our resources. In particular Fischer Farm and White Pines Golf Club. In order to have healthy enterprises funds, you must have great enterprises. I know that both White Pines and Fischer Farm have great untapped potential. It is our charge as a board to create vision and direction to the staff, so we may not lag behind or keep with the status quo. We have historical and environmental gold at Fisher Farm, it needs to be supported and nurtured so it will transform into regional asset it is destined to become.

Key Issue 3

Greater articulation with our other local taxing bodies and community groups. Bensenville has had an organization, Bensenville Intergovernmental Group (BIG) for over 20 years. As much foresight this may have once been it has not been effective for over 12 years. All of the local agencies should be pooling resources when ever possible. We should also have effective ways to not only communicate with one another , but also to those we serve.

Questions & Answers

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

The water park is budgeted for a loss every year, should it be closed? I think not. The residence pay for services, some which they use others perhaps not. We should have a mandate of providing the greatest number of recreational outlets we can. Now this does not mean to throw caution to the wind. Our staff continually looks to the success of programs and will substitute new initiatives where others have been lack luster in participation. There are things we must provide as a basic value, other special program come and go as attendance ebbs and flows.

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

The Bensenville Park District must still at this date find replacement for Schuster Park. This park is located in the acquisition area of the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP)and is approximately 5.5 acres. Most of the parcel was purchase originally with a grant from The Land Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCFA). The grant provisions carries with them a Section 6(f) designation, mandating replacement. The park board has an opportunity to replace, and possibly enhance it's system. There is also the possibility that the correct actions are not taken and it could escheat to the Illinois Department of Interior, and be replaced anywhere in the State of Illinois

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?

Generally speaking I feel that staff has done a fine job of providing a very diverse menu of programs and services. We must continue the awareness and engagement of our constituents in the essential services we provide. In Bensenville we have a diverse community, both economic and cultural. I do know that there are segments of the community which have great focus, early childhood, youth sport and senior programming. These are industry standards which we meet very well. I do believe we can do better. We have to find ways to engage those with limited understanding of English and those with limited financial resources. The Park District is not a luxury, it is imperative that it is not treated as such.

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?

YES! I have long spoken of the hope to create a synergistic environ with other park district. Why have 5 Huge pools all within a 6 mile radius? Each of them loose money, yet every agency has to have one. What type of facilities could be provided to the public if we worked and used our capital and people resources together? Not everyone uses a pool, or fitness center. If we were to collaborate on these initiatives we could provide greater facilities and service to those who do use them, at a reduced cost to the stake holders..

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 was originally elected as a park Commissioner in 1999 and served one term to 2005. I have been appointed for 2 years after a vacancy. In my first term I was a key in obtaining a lease for Fischer Farm from the DuPage County Forest Preserve. I also helped obtain over $300,000.00 in monies to restore buildings there. I have also been instrumental in advancing 2 pieces of legislation to enactment.

I presented 2 times to the Illinois Department of Natural Resource for OSLAD grants, both for Brieter-Palm Park. The First was acquisition grant for $ 380,000.00 the second for a Development grant of $365,000.00. I was successful with both. Most recently I presented a request for $340,000.00 for funding for a new handicap accessible splash pad. I do believe this will be a success as well.