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updated: 3/21/2011 7:09 PM

Des Plaines candidates discuss casino revenue

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  • Mark Walsten

    Mark Walsten

  • Richard Hissong

    Richard Hissong

  • Mario Palacios

    Mario Palacios


The 6th Ward, on Des Plaines' south side, is home to the city's new casino under construction off Des Plaines River Road between Touhy and Devon avenues.

Alderman Mark Walsten, 53, running for his second term and a home inspector by profession, said Des Plaines should use future casino revenue to improve the city's infrastructure, eliminate flooding, and reduce the city's debt load.

Residents likely won't see any tax relief, he added.

"The amount of money coming in from the casino, it's going to be less than 10 percent of our (annual) budget," Walsten said. "Residents aren't going to see their water bills disappear."

Walsten said his main priorities are keep taxes down, eliminate flooding and bring new business and jobs to Des Plaines.

Richard Hissong, who runs his own insurance business, also believes casino revenues should be used to pay down the city's debt.

He added that part of the money could provide relief for residents struggling financially, and to help area schools.

"I think that some of that revenue could go to assist school objectives," Hissong said. "We're losing teachers because there is not enough money sometimes to pay the teachers."

Hissong said the city should put some of the casino revenues into a managed, interest-bearing fund and use it to "assist people who have lost their homes or are in dire need of medical assistance."

Hissong, 82, was removed from the April 5 ballot in January for being one signature shy of 41, the required number for a valid candidate petition. He is running a write-in campaign for the aldermanic seat.

He said his top concerns are fixing damaged alleyways in his ward that have not been repaved in more than six years, and the removal of leaves in the fall.

City crews should remove leaves off one side of a street at a time so residents don't have to move their cars entirely off the street, he said.

Mario Palacios, a former member of the Des Plaines police and fire commission, and a candidate for 6th Ward alderman, has not given interviews nor did he fill out the Daily Herald questionnaire.