John Banas: Candidate Profile
West Chicago City Council Ward 7 (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.
City: West Chicago
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: West Chicago City Council Ward 7 (4-year Term)
Family: Married, 2 Daughters
Occupation: Project Manager, Information Technology.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Elmhurst College, 1981.
Civic involvement: West Chicago Planning and Zoning Commissioner, West Chicago Park District Commissioner, Western DuPage C.E.R.T (Inactive), Neighborhood Watch Block Co-Captain, Volunteer, St. Mark's Lutheran Church Special Needs Ministry, Welcome Center and Discipleship Committee.
Elected offices held: West Chicago Park District Commissioner.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Other than traffic tickets? No.
Key Issue 1
Bringing Business acumen to Government.
Key Issue 2
Related to the first, keeping a wary eye on cost of government. My nearly 30 years of private sector business experience in Systems Management uniquely qualifies me to pare down costs ruthlessly while maintaining high quality and service levels, and looking to unique solutions that only an Entrepreneurial inclined individual can find.
Key Issue 3
Continuing to improve our community in West Chicago to where my children, upon completing college, would choose this city in which to start families and spend the rest of their lives because of the quality of life. And to represent the residents of the 7th Ward in each issue presented to the City Council, while applying sound financial and constitutional principles.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
My four years of previous local government involvement, plus as stated earlier, my nearly 30 years of problem solving in the private sector. My proven record of building teams to solve vexing problems and consistently producing high quality, workable solutions with constrained resources.
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.
I?ve never heard a Businessman -- or any other individual for that matter -- claim that their taxes were too low (other than Stephen King and Warren Buffet). And sales taxes impact businesses by escalating the cost the consumer feels they are paying for the goods or services. Raise sales taxes too much and the business can vaporize, because their customers will flee to lower cost/higher value competitors in the next town or county who's cost structure is more advantageous. Compare Cook and DuPage County gas prices or cigarette taxes and you?ll know what I mean. I'd like to address taxes in general. It takes money to run a government; the trick is to be excellent stewards of our Community Investor's tax revenue and run the government efficiently. Every budget line item, every contract, every vote is an opportunity to protect the investment the taxpayer has made in our community. The Taxpayer is a Community Investor, and if they hire me to represent their interests to the West Chicago City Council, they would have hired a well experienced and eager tax revenue steward that had proven he can produce high Return on Investments for his employer.
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.
Petty crime, speeding and at times the concern over reckless government spending on all levels of government; Federal, State and Local. I can't do much about the Federal and State spending levels right now, but I can ensure that the voice of the 7th Ward of West Chicago is heard in expenditure decisions that will come up during the next term. As for Petty crime, since I was part of the initial Neighborhood Watch and Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T), I have gained a lot of insight as to how to formulate solutions to the issues that present themselves at a community level. The best kind of elected official doesn't necessarily have to pass an ordinance or regulation to effect positive influence to a community; working with people to motivate them into lending a hand (as in the Neighborhood Watch) and volunteering for future C.E.R.T classes, and generally getting people involved while keeping them informed and LISTENING to their ideas is a very efficient way to produce positive results like lowering local crime given the financial constraints every municipality faces in terms of hiring more police officers. Again, finding unique solutions is my specialty.
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?
Frankly, the two current Aldermen insured that the city built a financial reserve to handle such economic downturns like the present difficult situation. We have not had a huge tax hike to fill in the losses in revenue from the few businesses and residents who found it necessary to move away due to their own economic hardships, nor have we lost any services. I plan to continue that kind of forward thinking, using the sound financial principles I gained in the private sector. That said, anytime is an appropriate time to review the budget and challenge every line item. One interesting complication is that the Park District not an insignificant tax facing the residence of the 7th Ward is a separate taxing body. I expect that my connections to the many friends I made at the Park District when I was a Commissioner on that board will serve to effect a win-win-win scenarios for the District, the City and most importantly, the Taxpayers/Community Investors of the 7th Ward. The tools and techniques I gained in business will help me work with, negotiate and motivate people to compromises that make sense for everyone.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I?m not sure whether it is the physical location of the 7th Ward in relation to the City (we seem to be so far north), or it's just that the diversity of the Ward in personal and professional pursuits that hinders community participation, but I?d like to see more 7th Ward residents at City events. My goal is to really over communicate what's going on and other calendar items so that we feel more a part of the wonderful West Chicago Community.
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