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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.
Website: Find Tom on facebook.
Office sought: Warrenville City Council Ward 4 (4-year Term)
Family: Married with Four Children
Occupation: Retired Operations Manager for a 100 million dollar business.
Education: Graduated from Drake University in Des Moines Iowa with a Degree in Business Administration.
Civic involvement: Vietnam War Veteran with 2 Bronze Stars and one Purple Heart. Member of the VFW. Volunteer activities with the Boy Scouts of America and the Naperville Area Humane Society.
Elected offices held:
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
To provide for Warrenville's financial stability without the continuous tax increases (tax increases that were made possible due to Warrenville's being Home Rule) that our current council has put in place. To accomplish this, I would make it a top priority that the council works collaboratively to seek out quality businesses for the City of Warrenville. The Route 59 corridor is a prime example of the missed opportunities that have escaped our current city council. We now have Pawn Shops and a massage parlor. Since we are a family-oriented community, I would seek to bring in businesses that would enhance that wonderful aspect of our City.
Key Issue 2
Debt! The definition of "debt" is "something owed, such as money, goods or services". City officials have repeatedly stated that the "City of Warrenville has no debt." Unfortunately, this is just not true. Our Police Pension fund is currently underfunded by $5,867,225.00 or 63.6%. The City of Warrenville borrowed $2,200,000.00 from the Water/Sewer Capital Fund and has not begun to repay any of the principle. TIF 1 has a deficit of $600,000 which doesn't include the $400,000 in legal fees we have paid to fight a lawsuit brought by Naperville Unit School District 203. That comes to a debt of over nine million dollars!
Key Issue 3
Public Safety. We have experienced an increase in vehicle break-ins as of late. When elected, I will work with our police department for an increased police presence in all of our neighborhoods. I would also work to see that sidewalks and streetlights be added to our streets here in Ward 4 and other areas to ensure the safety of our children when walking or waiting for the school bus. Other safety issues that will be addressed include additional water-flooding measures for our River Oaks and Emerald Green subdivisions particularly for those homes running along the DuPage River as well as increased education for citizens on natural predators such as coyotes.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
Candidate did not respond.
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 don't believe the sales tax affects local business from the tax side because they only collect the sales tax from their customers and pass it back to the taxing district that levies it. However, the sales tax does raise the cost of doing business for businesses in Warrenville. Also, there are other taxes that will go into effect on May 1 of this year. These include the natural gas utility tax, electric utility tax and a $.04 cent per gallon gasoline tax. We will also see a raise in our telecommunications tax from 4% to 6% which will have a drastic effect on local businesses. These taxes drive up costs for our local businesses which, in turn, they will be forced to pass along to their customers. This greatly reduces the ability for our businesses to remain competitive with like businesses in other municipalities. Finally, Warrenville citizens will look elsewhere to shop and spend their hard-earned dollars again putting local Warrenville businesses in jeopardy.
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 have spent a lot of time hitting the streets and talking with my neighbors about the issues that concern them and time and again, I have heard that our neighborhoods need an increased police presence. Recently, there has been a string of burglaries in our subdivisions. Currently, there are three patrol cars on the street at any one time for the entire city. The majority of the patrols are focused on Cantera. I would work with our police department to include the Chief, deputy chiefs and sergeants on patrol as well. We currently have a city population of 13,140! Obviously, we need for our police force to be more visible on our streets where they are needed.
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 and foremost, our city council needs to treat our municipal budget as if it were their budget at home. Many of my friends have had to reduce their own spending -- our city government should do the same! Our long range plans include many needed improvements such as our roads. However, when times are as difficult as they have been economically, the city needs to scale back this spending rather than making the decision to keep spending at current levels. This is why we have seen an increase in some taxes as well as the addition of new taxes on businesses and citizens. I would begin the process by cutting unnecessary staff at city hall and other departments. I would also work to bring to end the legal conflict with Naperville School District 203 which has already cost us over $400,000 in legal fees. Finally, I would reduce or eliminate the use of consultants that cost the tax payers an average of $400,000 per year. Our City is fortunate; we have very knowledgeable employees on our staff so the need for high-priced consultants isn't there.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Finding quality businesses to operate in our city. We have lost many businesses in Cantera and the buildings are becoming empty. Business along Route 59 is looking blighted and we now have business such as pawn shops and a massage parlor. We owe it to our citizens to actively seek quality businesses that will enhance the family friendly aspect of our City. This will generate much-needed revenue and reduce the need for the city to keep adding nuisance taxes to our already high utility bills. Auto dealerships, quality restaurants -- these are the types of businesses we need in our City! I believe it is incumbent on our elected officials and staff to aggressively seek out and encourage businesses to operate and to stay here!