Gary Muehlfelt: Candidate Profile
Milton Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term)
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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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Milton Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term)
Family: Married for 22 years, four children
Occupation: Milton Township Highway Commissioner (2005-present)
Education: Graduate of Wheaton North High School, Class of 1977
Civic involvement: Milton Township Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) 2004-present, Founding Life Member of Friends of the Pioneer Cemeteries, DuPage County Coroner Disaster Deputy
Elected offices held: Milton Township Highway Commissioner (2005-present) Trustee, Winfield Fire Protection District (2000-2009)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The duties of the Township Highway Commissioner are specifically mandated by state law - that is to maintain the roads and right-of-ways of the unincorporated areas for the motoring public. Experience and performance of those duties in a fiscally responsible manner is my primary campaign issue.
Key Issue 2
To help educate the residents of Milton Township about the 1/2 rate tax that includes over 1 million dollars of the Township Highway Levy being given back to the nine municipalities in the Township by DuPage County.
Key Issue 3
Candidate did not respond.
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.
As a Township Highway Commissioner, I have no board duties. However, I would like to see that the Township Board knows and understands what their duties are, and to work together as a board to be good stewards of the taxpayer's money.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
As far as municipalities gobbling up vacant land, I respectfully disagree with that statement. That is a real misconception and is certainly not true in Milton Township. Over 50% of our township has water and/or sewer, and we still maintain over 160 lane miles or 80 linear miles of roads (about the same as Glen Ellyn). If township government were to be eliminated and that responsibility passed to DuPage County, you would double their lane miles from about 900 miles to 1800 miles. The cost of DuPage County taking responsibility for the township roads will greatly exceed the current township cost of maintaining the roads. Township highway departments maintain over 51% of the roads in Illinois? about 72,000 miles according to IDOT. As Highway Commissioner, I am always looking for ways to do more with less. I started a sweeping program in 2007. We also have a wood chip recycling program, and last year we implemented an electronic recycling program that is five days a week (not just one day a month).
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
Township Government does what it is mandated to do: general assistance, assessing property, and a highway department to maintain the roads for public safety. That's why townships operate with a balanced budget.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
I am always looking for ways to save taxpayer's money? With Townships receiving less than 2% of a tax bill it would be very difficult to keep up with the state and federal mandates for road safety and to keep ahead of Mother Nature (a F1 tornado, a blizzard, and a 117 mph microburst all in less than 6 years). However, in an ongoing effort to reduce the taxpayer's burden, I continually strive to define our goals and challenge the status quo so the Highway Department can deliver the best possible services for the least possible cost.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I have more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry with heavy equipment and snow plowing, along with the past 8 years of experience as the current Highway Commissioner. I am determined to continue getting to know and help the taxpayers of Milton Township, especially those who live in the unincorporated areas that I serve.
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