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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.
City: Downers Grove
Office sought: Downers Grove Township Highway Commissioner (4-year Term)
Family: Married to my Wonderful wife Sharon for 24 years We have an Australian Shepherd Named Binky
Occupation: Highway Commissioner For Downers Grove Township for the past four years Foreman from 1996 - 2009 Started with Highway Dept in 1983
Education: Bachelor of Art in Communications
Civic involvement: Downers Grove Township Republican Organization
Elected offices held: Downers Grove Township Highway Commissioner Republican Committeeman for precinct #92 DG TWP 2008 - present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
To continue to maintain fiscal responsibility for the Highway Dept. In short, a balanced budget with no debt.
Key Issue 2
Maintaining unincorporated roads and right of ways while continuing to keep taxes low for all township residents.
Key Issue 3
To communicate with our residents about their concerns and try to meet their needs. For example, our electronic recycling program came from a direct concern from homeowners of how they should handle electronic waste after the government banned disposal of electronic waste in landfills.
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.
Goal number one: Continue to operate the township with a balanced budget and no debt. The board has done a great job of this in the past and continues to save the taxpayers money by looking to cut spending any way they can. Just this past year the board voted to reduce their salaries which will save taxpayers thousands of dollars over the next four years. Goal number two: Continue to look for ways the Township can better serve its residents with new affordable programs which make the Township a better and safer place. By becoming a member of the Public Works Mutual Aid program in Dupage Co and by taking the first steps to organize a CERT group, Community Emergency Response Team, the Supervisor's office, Highway Dept and Town Board have insured aid will be available to residents of the unincorporated areas in the event of a disaster. Goal number three: Continue to make information regarding the township easily accessible to the residents. Our budgets are on our website as well as all agendas and minutes of town board meetings. During the summer the township attends local festivals and makes available information on township programs. Since township government is the closest form of government to the people it is a good bet that the person you call will directly deal with your situation. People are able to speak directly with their township officials. This might sound basic but In this day in age, having one's voice heard is important.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
It is a common belief that townships serve only rural areas or areas containing vacant land waiting to be developed. The majority of our township has already been developed with all of our streets being paved, and over half of our streets being curb and gutter. We have churches, schools and fire departments intermixed with houses, condos and apartments. Statewide, fifty one percent of all roads are township roads. Townships are mandated by state law to maintain those unincorporated roads and to respond to the needs of those unincorporated residents. We replace culverts, maintain trees on the right of ways, plow snow, sweep streets and maintain storm sewers on township roads for less cost than villages or cities spend to maintain their roads. Out of the nine townships in Dupage County, Downers Grove Township was second lowest in cost per mile, coming in at $15,400.00 per lane mile. I do not believe townships need to serve a new role. Instead townships have to continue to be reactive to the needs of unincorporated residents they serve.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
From The Highway Department's perspective the primary responsibility of township government is to carry out the duties mandated by state law in order to maintain unincorporated roads, bridges and right of ways.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
The township has already taken steps to reduce the tax burden. Our supervisor and town board have taken cuts in pay. One of the ways I have trimmed my budget is to freeze my salary for the next four years.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
My experience makes me best qualified to serve as Highway Commissioner. I have spent 30 years with the highway department doing everything from mowing right of ways to installing storm sewers. One storm sewer was fifteen hundred feet long. I am very well acquainted with the drainage issues on our township roads, and I work well with the County and other municipalities to get intergovernmental projects finished for the benefit of unincorporated residents. I am extremely active with the homeowners associations in our township and spend many of my nights discussing issues with them at their meetings. I pride myself on my accessibility to our residents.