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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 Supervisor (4-year Term)
Family: Wife Ellie Wurster, two children: David and Kimberly, Three grandchildren: Jacob, Katie and Brendon
Occupation: Downers Grove Township Supervisor
Education: Some College
Civic involvement: Westmont Lion Club ( 2008 Lion of the year) Downers Grove American Legion Member for 24 years St Mary of Gostyn Church
Elected offices held: Downers Grove Township Suupervisor for 4 years Downers Grove Township Trustee for 8 years Downers Grove Township Republican Committeeman for 20 years
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO
Key Issue 1
The number one issue with our Township, as well as it should be with other taxpayer entities, is fiscal responsibility. Downers Grove Township is and always has maintained a balanced budget with no debt.
Key Issue 2
Continue accessibility of Township mandated services to our residents. The mandated programs are General Assistance, road and bridge maintenance, and managing 58,000 parcels of property assessments.
Key Issue 3
Build on past successes of transparency and accountability by utilizing our brochures, pocket pal, senior Banner News, resident newsletter,dgtownship.com website and other outreach efforts.
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. Work with the Township Municipalities to develop and implement a plan for sharing the cost of Ride DuPage, which would allow residents access to countywide ridershhip. 2. The Townshhip is in the process of forming a committee of residents to access and evaluate the pros and cons of having a single refuse hauler to service the unincorporated areas of our Townhip. 3. Continue reviewing the levy and the budget by line item knowing and understanding we're spending tax dollars. We spend wisely and work hard to offer and accomplish all we do with our Township budget.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Our Township Government is more accessible, efficient, independent and less costly than other governmental bodies. We rely almost exclusively on property owner's real estate taxes, which is approximately two (2) per cent of the homeowner's real estate taxes. The Townships total budget of 3.5 million dollars takes care of 70 miles of unincorporated roads which is only two miles less than four years ago. we also have the largest number of parcels in DuPage County (58,000)to assess and we maintain our General Assistance office. Township Government is the only neighbor style government we have today.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The Township is mandated to maintain our seventy (70) miles of unincorporated roads, maintain 58,000 parcels of property assessments and operate the General Assistance office. Some other services consist of maintaining Dial-A-Ride applicants,issuing passports and RTA cards. We have prevention specialists who teach 3,000 to 4,000 middle school students lessons in reducing and preventing anger management, drug abuse, and bulling. We also have the Downers Grove Township peer jury with the mission of providing an alternative method of dealing with selected juvenile cases (age 17 and under)and holding them accountable for their actions, thereby helping them to restore the relationships harmed by the offense. The Township has resurrected the S.A.L.T. council (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together)which is now a viable working committee assisting the seniors of our Township
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 will continue to monitor how we spend taxpayer dollars. We've lowered elected officials benefits and salaries by $350,000 for the present and upcoming term. We've frozen the elected officials salaries at the reduced rates for the next four (4) years. We're also reducing the payroll by replacing full-time employees with part-time employees saving additional salary and benefit dollars. The Supervisor's office monitors the Township budget by line item each month. Our Trustees also monitor and approve all vouchers monthly as well as review the Township budget.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
Twelve years ago. I become involved in Township Government because I thought I could make a difference. I have eight years of experience as a Township Trustee and four years as the Township Supervisor. With twenty years of private sector experience as a supervisor with AT&T and Lucent Technologies, I have a unique understanding of what issues impact Township residents on a daily basis and how we can enhance our services and resolve pressing concerns.