Like all of us, voters in Wood Dale have certainly felt the impact of the economic recession through higher gas prices, higher sales taxes, water rate increases and more. The city, thanks to its large industrial tax base and proximity to the economic engine that is O'Hare International Airport, has managed to maintain its level of services much better than other communities that rely on retail centers, car dealerships and other businesses.
While the mayor and some members of the city council take great pride, as they should, with their record of balanced budgets, it hasn't come without some sacrifice and cost to others, either through an increase in the sales tax, higher parking fees at the train station, and ever-increasing water rate fees to help prepare for infrastructure improvements.
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So while the city appears to be running smoothly, voters clearly have some pocketbook decisions to make.
The good news for voters who must pick a mayor and three aldermen this election among four contested races is that they have several fine candidates with good intentions and solid backgrounds anxious to move forward.
Indeed, the community should take great pride in having this much involvement.
In the race for mayor, incumbent Kenneth Johnson touts his record with 13 years of balanced budgets for the city and 35 years of civic involvement in the community.
While he has repaid the city for covering some payments for his health insurance, we wish he would have been more upfront when the situation first arose. Many voters, no doubt, will not let that issue overshadow his record of service to the city and the region. However, transparency is important in all areas of government and perhaps it's time for a change.
Annunziato "Nunzio" Pulice, appears quite capable for leading that charge. In his four years as an alderman, he has not been afraid to speak up or get involved, and his calls to slow the water rate increases and rethink plans for an underpass at Irving Park Road are just two examples. With his 22 years in the community and 14 years running a business, we believe he'll continue the balanced-budget approach while looking for ways to control spending.