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.
City: Villa Park
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: York Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Mother - Winifred Blewitt
Occupation: Sec of State - Lombard
Education: Washington University in St Louis - BS in Psychology Attended MacMurray College, George Williams College
Civic involvement: Villa Park Community Pride Commission Immigrant Solidarity PEACE Toastmasters Ticker Tapette Investment Club
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO
Key Issue 1
Property Taxes. In discussing residents' opinions of York township government the most constant complaint I heard was that their assessment of property taxes did not make sense. They wanted to know why their taxes have not gone down in relationship to the decrease in the value of their homes. Some of the seniors had trouble understanding why their property taxes are almost the same as their mortgage payment once was. If property taxes continue to rise, many cannot afford to stay in their homes. This issue needs to be addressed.
Key Issue 2
Transparency and Communication. Township Government has been called best kept secret in government. The most grass root level of government should not be a secret. York Township was at the bottom of the list in transparency in a recent study by the Illinois Policy Institute. We need transparency in government to fight corruption and eliminate waste. If people cannot have a dialogue with the most grassroots level of government, they are not being represented in a meaningful manner. We in York Township deserve to know how our tax money is being spent, how our property taxes are determined, and what services are provided. The township needs to engage the public. There are many ways to improve communication. A website similar to that of DuPage County providing Board and Committee Meeting Minutes, publication of the Senior Sun Newsletter on line, publication of services, and publication of how taxes are assessed are some examples.
Key Issue 3
Senior and Youth Programs. The township social services are essential in hard times. We need to improve the Senior programs and make them more visible to the public so they can be utilized to their full potential. The youth deserve a structured program. These programs could be added for little additional cost if we implement services already available through other government agencies and actively recruit volunteers. The experience and life knowledge of our seniors would be valuable resource to assist our youth.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
1. An assessment of needs through interaction with the public, law enforcement, school districts, public service, and other local government agencies must be established. 2. Duplicity of services needs to be identified and eliminated. 3. Methods of improving transparency and communication must be established and implemented.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
I am a passionate advocate for small government. I do believe that township government is needed. It would be sorely missed by the public if it were abolished. Municipalities may be gobbling up vacant land and unincorporated residential areas, but the properties with less tax revenue and flooding problems are left with the township. If the public were to decide to eliminate township government, services provided by the township would have to be transferred to another government entity such as the cash strapped city, county, or state governments. This would remove a layer of accountability from the voters. Small, direct government tends to be a better steward of our tax dollars. Local township government knows of the needs of York Township better than someone in Wheaton or Springfield. Those elected are less likely to be influenced by big money PACs and corporate funding. They are able to represent the citizens as they deserve.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
Township government is primarily responsible for governing the unincorporated areas of the township and it is mandated by law to provide certain services for all within its borders including those living in municipalities. Legally the township is required to provide a general assistance program to the needy in its district, assessment of real property value for taxing purposes in its district, and maintenance of township roads and bridges in unincorporated areas. It is the job of the township to improve the quality of life for those within its borders to meet our changing needs. It is the oldest form of government and it serves our most vulnerable citizens, youth and seniors.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
Small government tends to be better stewards of our tax dollars. Given the closed nature of York Township it is difficult to list any one program. If elected I will go line by line through the budget to determine what can be trimmed or outsourced to other government agencies.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
During the 40years I have lived in York Township, I have worked actively for our youth and seniors. I headed the Parliament Square Resource Center and After School Program, tutored and mentored youth as a volunteer, volunteered for COD People helping People program, participated in the Wheaton Convalescent Home events, served on the York Township Youth Commission, and lobbied for senior programs such as Medicare and Social Security. As a volunteer, long time resident of York Township, and former business owner I have the know-how needed to protect the tax payer, organize programs, and understand the needs of our citizens.