Joseph Kolz: Candidate Profile
Wood Dale City Council Ward 1 (4-year Term)
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: Wood Dale
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Wood Dale City Council Ward 1 (4-year Term)
Occupation: Candidate did not respond.
Education: Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocational Education, Chicago State University
Civic involvement: Wood Dale Representative O'Hare Noise Commission – Residential Sound
Co-Chair Wood Dale Clean Air Counts Committee
Wood Dale Prairie Fest Committee Member
Chairman – Wood Dale Public Health, Safety, and Judiciary Committee
Elected offices held: Alderman – Ward 1 (2001-present)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.
Key Issue 1
Working to enable the city to provide its citizens, businesses, and visitors with the best possible services and environment while keeping costs within the current budget. Wood Dale has a tradition of operating with no municipal debt while having "healthy" cash reserves. This is important both from the standpoint of the taxpayers' wallets and the municipal credit rating.
Key Issue 2
Modernizing the aging infrastructure within the city. For example, some of the water mains and sewer lines in Wood Dale are between thirty and fifty years old and need to be replaced. In conjunction with this, the affected city roads will need reconstruction or resurfacing. The current Wood Dale Capital Improvement Plan for 2014-2018 includes a city-wide storm water master plan to help alleviate flooding and flood related damage in Wood Dale. This involves upsizing storm sewers, adding storm inlets, increasing the capacity of retention basins, and increasing the rate of flow of storm water out of flood prone areas throughout the city. The challenge is accomplishing all of this while keeping within the city budget.
Key Issue 3
Improving the image of Wood Dale as a good place to visit, to do business, and to live and raise a family. This requires improving the appearance of the community and enhancing the programs and special events that encourage a sense of community among our residents and businesses.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have been a Wood Dale Ward 1 resident since 1972 and involved in Wood Dale city government since 1995. I have the experience and knowledge of the community to deal with current and future ward and city issues.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of your community's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
The present level of local sales taxes is just right. The surrounding Du Page County communities have approximately the same sales tax rates as Wood Dale; therefore our rate is not a deterrent to local businesses. And the city sales tax revenues are adequate to meet municipal expenses.
Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest public safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
When discussing public safety concerns, my neighbors and friends most often bring up the problems of cars and motorcycles going too fast on our side streets, not stopping at stop signs, passing motorists who are obeying the speed limits, and endangering pedestrians. These concerns can be addressed with the increased use of speed humps and more police patrols including randomized police saturation of problem areas.
In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed, and conversely, are there areas the budget does not give enough money to?
First, I must say that the Wood Dale Finance Department does an excellent job of properly budgeting available funds. And each spring the City Council carefully reviews the proposed budget before accepting the final version. Consequently Wood Dale consistently operates with a balanced budget and "healthy" cash reserves. The current budget expires at the end of April 2013, so my suggestions would pertain to next year's budget. One area where future budgets could be trimmed is the number of engineering studies. For example, during the past 20 years we have had multiple engineering studies for the proposed Wood Dale Town Center. Each study has essentially ignored the previous ones and none of the studies has ever been adopted. Needless to say, these studies represent thousands of tax dollars. While engineering studies are necessary, they need to be reduced in number and more carefully chosen. The area that could use additional funding is modernizing the city infrastructure. In the long run this would save tax dollars by reducing the number of temporary fixes as well as improving the quality of city services and reducing damage to public and private property.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
One of my ideas 'to better the community" is to transform the Wood Dale commuter lot (at the train station) into a multipurpose property. This is a valuable, multi-acre city owned property that is near the center of town. Right now its only function is being a parking lot during the work week. And on the weekends it is almost vacant. Our citizens do appreciate the large number of available parking spaces it currently provides. But a more productive use of this property would include not only this parking, but also residential and commercial facilities as well.
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