Jay Olson: Candidate Profile
Winfield Village Board (4-year Terms)
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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.
Office sought: Winfield Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married: Camille Olson, Teacher, Pleasant Hill Elementary School, Winfield, IL. 3 Children: Alanna - 26 yrs., Teacher, Schiller Park, IL; Brooke - 21 yrs., Wheaton College (2013), Varsity BB, Elem. Ed.; Connor - 13 yrs., 7th grade Monroe MS.
Occupation: Civil Engineer, 34 years private consulting experience in development, municipal, environmental, and civil engineering. Currently employed by EMR, Inc., as Chicago Division Manager.
Education: BS Civil Engineering, New Mexico State University - attended college on tennis athletic scholarship. Graduate Studies in Environmental Engineering, University of New Mexico.
Civic involvement: Wheaton Park District - Volunteer Youth Coach. Village of Winfield: Zoning Board of Appeals, Plan Commission, and Chairman - Economic Development Task Force.
Elected offices held: Village of Winfield Trustee, 2009-2013.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Sustainable Revenues Through Growth: Our greatest untapped resource in Winfield is commercializing Roosevelt Road. It has the potential to deliver annual revenues in excess of $1Million. Sustainable revenues will keep taxes low, fund the annual road program, maintain the Winfield Police Department, and restore other Village services cut in recent years because of declining revenue and revenue sources. As requested by 15 property owners, the Village has petitioned to rezone 15 properties along Roosevelt Road from residential zoning to commercial zoning. I support this petition, and the rezoning of these properties. It is the first and critical step in attracting the developers to invest in our community, and create sustainable revenues through growth. Winfield has attempted to develop Town Center and has been ineffective for many, many years. Development in Town Center, or even the north parts of the Village along County Farm Road, Geneva Road, and St. Charles Road will not provide the revenues that commercialization of Roosevelt Road will generate.
Key Issue 2
Build Community: 1) We need to rebuild our community starting with the Village Board. The Board needs to show respect to each other, conduct business in a civil manner, collaborate, compromise, and reach consensus on many divisive issues. 2) We need to create an atmosphere of harmony between the Board, professional staff, commissions & committees, and most importantly, the residents. 3) I propose conducting a Village-wide survey to engage residents, obtain their sincere and valued input, and find out what is really important to them. This will be used to govern more effectively and meet the needs of the residents.
Key Issue 3
Strengthen Our Partnerships: The Village President and Board need to build more effective relationships with the partners that will enhance and benefit our Village. Our local Winfield businesses, the Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce, Cadence Health, DuPage County, State Officials, neighboring communities, our local fire, library, park, and school districts. The Village used to support Main Street Winfield, but that was eliminated due to bugdet cuts. I was a significant contributor early in my trustee term (2009) in developing the Cadence realtionship to the point where they donated $300k to the Village for roads, matched the riverwalk fundraising and collaborated with the Village on several easements needed for the riverwalk. In my opinion, this relationship has suffered of late due to Board strife, and the President not asking me to continue working with Cadence.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
During my current trustee term, I have demonstrated that I can work with everybody on the Village Board. I have collaborated and proposed compromise solutions to many issues, working to build consensus. Professionally, I have represented developers in pursuing entitlements, zoning approvals, and permits, and provided engineering services to municipal clients throughout NE Illinois. I was instrumental in obtaining the development approvals for the Wheaton Christian Grammar School, and played a significant role in negotiating the development deal on Silverwood Glen, a residential development on the Matson Farm property. I look forward to being a significant contributor to the potential developments that may occur on Roosevelt Road due to my direct experience.
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.
Our current level of sales tax is too low. I support increasing the the sales tax by 0.25% which will be a referendum question on the April 9th ballot. If passed, a 0.25% increase in the sales tax could mean an additional $250k in annual sales tax revenue for the Village with the commercialization of Roosevelt Road.
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.
"I pledge to keep the Winfield Police Department." The residents of Winfield voted overwhelmingly to keep the Winfield Police Department, and I intend to follow that decision. I would suggest that a dialogue be initiated with the Police Department to create a better working relationship between the Village Board, Village Manager, Police Chief, and residents.
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?
Winfield continues to be challenged by a revenue problem, that is we do not have the revenues to pay for the services we should provide. Our Village Staff continues to manage to the budget, and has been successful in realizing year-end surpluses over the last two years. This has allowed the Village Board to direct this money to roads, the most important issue on the Village's Strategic Plan. It will continue to be difficult to trim the budget, there just is not alot of fat in Winfield's General Fund. In fact we will continue to be challenged to provide the current level of services, with the potential problems facing the State of Illinois. Pension funding, the State distribution level of income tax and sales tax, will all be on the table in Springfield to fix the State's problems.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I suggest a Village-wide survey. This concept was very successful when introduced in Woodridge many years ago when facing several tough issues. It is done annually, and the Village continues to consider the follow-up to be the most important aspect of the survey program. I believe that the information provided by the residents will help re-build our community, and allow the Village Board to govern more effectively.
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