Roselle's Smolinski to seek sixth mayoral term
Village President Gayle Smolinski will seek a sixth term this April, saying she wants to finish crafting a long-term plan for Roselle's fiscal stability.
Smolinski ran a Republican campaign for the 28th Senate District seat earlier this year, but lost in the March primary to Jim O'Donnell of Park Ridge.
Thus far, first-term trustee Ron Baker has filed a nomination petition to challenge her incumbency in April.
"We've been working on (a plan) ever since the economic downturn and I think we've been doing a great job responsibly and slowly right-sizing village services," Smolinski said.
"But there is still about a $200,000 gap between revenue and property tax loss and we need to continue to see how we can overcome that," she said.
Roselle initially faced a shortfall of about $1 million three years ago, and under Smolinski's watch has helped plug the gap throughout the years with either permanent or temporary changes, such as cutting village hall hours; eliminating brush pickup, DARE and Fourth of July fireworks; instituting furlough days, pay cuts, pay freezes and layoffs; and consolidating Roselle's 911 dispatch with DuComm.
Several of the measures, such as laying off two police officers and stopping DARE, were met with resident opposition. Other moves garnered no feedback at public meetings.
About a year ago, the village began implementing some of 31 recommendations to cut costs made by Sikich, LLP. Roselle hired the outside firm for $23,000 to examine issues such as redundancies in how the village does business and better ways to use technology.
Today, the village has hired McGrath Consulting, LLC, that specializes in fire departments to examine the efficiency of its own department. After that, Smolinski said, separate specialized firms will likely be hired to review the police and fire departments.
"We wanted to make sure we found a company with expertise in each department we are looking at," Smolinski said. "Once we get the studies, then there's an implementation period where we look at the recommendations, and that takes time. I want to continue shepherding this process until its completion."
Smolinski said she's also running again because she wants to close out the downtown tax increment financing district, or TIF, along Main Street.
Roselle will stop collecting tax revenues from the TIF at the end of this year, she said.
"But we are in arrears and have another year to complete our project, then we will be releasing the money," Smolinski said. "The beauty is that the assessed valuation will be the true windfall for the other taxing bodies. The village will also get about $150,000 more tax dollars from all the redevelopment.
"I was there at the beginning and I'd like to see it through to the end," Smolinski said.
Other projects Smolinski said she hopes to complete in a sixth term include securing Roselle's borders for future expansion and establishing a charitable foundation to fund extra services, such as the Fourth of July fireworks.
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