Bill Habel: Candidate Profile
Naperville City Council (2-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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Naperville City Council (2-year Terms)
Family: I am married with two chidren.
Occupation: Business Representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 701
Education: Certificate in Adult Education, University of Tennessee, 1994. Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies,National Labor College, 2006 Masters of Science in New Professional Studies, George Mason University School of Public Policy, 2010
Civic involvement: Appointed to the Naperville Building Review Board, second term. Argonne/U.S Department of Energy Community Leaders Round Table. Wheatland Athletics coach, Naperville Park District coach. Facilitator for the Girls Scouts of America; Ms.Fix-It badge event. Facilitator for the Boy Scouts Of America Merit Badge; American Labor and Electricity.Volunteer teacher forExplore More Days? Waterbury Elementary School, Roselle.
Elected offices held: none
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Economic Development Naperville is very close to being built-out. Revenue from new developments and the impact fees associated with new development have diminished. Granted, our sales tax revenue has returned, and even surpassed, pre-recession levels. However, we need to continually find new ways to fund our city without looking to the tax payer. One way is to promote and redevelop existing properties within our city's boundaries. I would look outward from the center of town, on the periphery, to find and identify properties prime for redevelopment and promote them. Utilize not only our own development team, but collaborate with other organizations such as Choose DuPage and the Naperville Development Partnership, to help facilitate new growth and find opportunity. With competition from other communities, I want to ensure that our city comes in first.
Key Issue 2
Jobs Economic development will bring new jobs to our town. Whether these jobs are temporary, like those in the construction industry or permanent jobs through established businesses, nothing is more important than a job for an unemployed or underemployed resident. The offshoot of that is the potential for other business to open its doors to help service other businesses. Buildings fill with tenants, vacant strip malls become occupied; it's a win-win for all of us.
Key Issue 3
City Services Just as our sales tax revenue has rebounded to pre-recession levels, we need to revisit delivering city services to pre-recession levels as well. Resident surveys will provide us the answer as to what areas have slipped, or areas that residents feel are less than adequate. Working with staff to address these areas is the best place to start. City staff are speaking to the residents every day, and they are the best resource to begin work on improving how we deliver services, communicate changes and update the residents as changes occur.
There are increasing concerns about safety in downtown Naperville, especially on weekend nights. Is the city doing enough to promote downtown safety and, if not, what other steps should it take?
As the fifth largest city in Illinois with a popular downtown destination of clubs, restaurants and festivals, Naperville has become a draw for visitors from all over Northern Illinois and Chicago. Safety should always be the number one concern to protect both our citizens as well as our visitors, who come to our city expecting a safe and entertaining experience. I propose that we organize a multilateral group of citizens, business owners and city departments to discuss, gain consensus and implement adowntown safety first? strategy. The community can work together and help ensure a safe and pleasurable experience in our downtown, day or night.
What is your vision for the continued development of downtown? Are there types of businesses you would like to see in the central business district or other parts of the city?
Naperville utilizes a very comprehensive downtown plan that still works today. The fact that the Main Street Promenade East project is scheduled to be completed this year, and the proposed Water Street development with a downtown hotel and other amenities is before our council now, demonstrates that Naperville continues to examine and add residential, commercial and office space to the downtown. These are important priorities. A downtown hotel is the missing component. If you are visiting your child at North Central College or your loved one at Edward Hospital or a friend is getting married at the Naper Settlement, a downtown hotel is the answer. The surrounding buildings and shops would create aboutique? atmosphere that would promote the growth of those cottage industries that are the basis of the small business entrepreneurial spirit.
Has Naperville's image gotten better or worse over the past four years? What are two things the city needs to do better?
Naperville is still one of the most desirable places to live and work in the United States. It is still the envy of many municipalities and we are still the measuring stick for many others. If anything, we need to continue to improve on how we deliver city services, and how we communicate changes to our residents. We must also remain as responsive as possible to citizen concerns whether the issue involves the emerald ash borer, street lighting or sidewalk repair.
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?
Naperville's staff and elected officials have done a great job in managing its $300 million-plus budget. One area I feel would provide us with taxpayer value and help reduce spending, would be to pass a Responsible Bidders Ordinance (RBO). A well-drafted RBO ensures that vendors, who conduct construction business with the city, are qualified and will perform the work correctly the first time. With the elimination or reduction of change orders due to cost overruns or poor performance from an unqualified construction company, the tax payers are spared the added dollars in construction and expenses are reduced.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
?The number of people 65 or older in the Chicago area will soar 65% to 1.7 million by 2030,? (Crains Chicago Business, 2011). Given these statistics and the knowledge that by 2030, 1 in 6 people will be older than 65 years of age the question becomes; how do we, as a community, cope with the inevitable? Business and governments alike will be affected by this changing demographic and there will be no escaping it. I have an idea that involves setting up a city-wide Task Force consisting of government entities, the business community and civic organizations to address how Naperville will move forward to provide the types of housing, transportation, healthcare facilities, etc. needed to cope with other issues related to ourgraying? population. We must also be mindful enough to make our city accessible and available to the younger generations that will eventually fill our houses, apartments and schools.
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