The two mayoral candidates for Hoffman Estates have varying views on the way the village spends money.
Mayor William McLeod, who is seeking re-election for a fourth term, said he thinks the village's finances are stable and he hopes to keep them that way for the next four years.
“I think we've been very careful in the money that's spent,” he said.
Ray Kincaid, who is currently a trustee on the village board, said the village needs to tighten up and take a closer look at where money is being spent.
“We've been cutting,” he said. “Now it's an issue of just making sure we reallocate those dollars and get some (services) back to the people.”
Since McLeod took office in 2001, the village has paid for numerous multimillion dollar projects — such as the renovation of village hall and the construction of a new police station — that Kincaid described as “too aggressive.”
McLeod said the police station project was desperately needed for public safety. He said the station and renovated village hall will both last for the next 50 to 60 years.
“I think we spent what we had to spend on it,” he said.
And he said the minutes of the meetings showed the board, including Kincaid, unanimously approved the projects.
Kincaid said he did not agree with raising the tax levy this year by 0.6 percent to pay for police pensions. He felt the money could have been diverted from elsewhere, such as legal fees and the purchase of road salt. By doing so, he added, it would have saved the police department some embarrassment from the fact that they were the reason the levy was raised.
McLeod said the village has worked to keep the levy “pretty much constant” in recent years. In response to diverting money from one area to another, he said all the departments are important.
“Every business has expenses and the biggest expenditure is always the employees,” he said, adding that the village is spending less than in the past because the number of village employees decreased by 60 in the last four years. “There's no way around that, whether it's government, a business or retail. To provide the service you have to have employees.”
One of Kincaid's top spending priorities is to repair roads in the village, in particular side roads and streets in neighborhoods. Again, he thinks money could be diverted from elsewhere to pay for the roads. He said some of them should have been fixed eight years ago.
“Streets seem to be the item that was the can that got kicked down the road,” he said.
McLeod said maintaining infrastructure, including water systems and roadways, is important to him too.
Kincaid would like to see money spent treating trees infected by emerald ash borer. McLeod said there he would like to see the village remove dead or dying trees.
“Treating them doesn't work all that well,” he said. “Eventually the trees are going to die anyway.”
While McLeod has touted the amount of information on village finances that is posted on the village's website, Kincaid said that as a trustee, he feels like he has to be “some type of detective” to find out about where some money is being spent.
“That's just not right. A trustee should be able to get that information,” he said. “I should know without having to ask a lot of questions.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.