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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: Bartlett Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married to Rebecca Reinke for eleven years. We are expecting our first child, a daughter, on March 29, 2013!!!
Occupation: Attorney and adjunct college professor
Education: BA in Political Science, Loyola University Chicago, 1998 JD, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 2000
Civic involvement: Member: DuPage and Kane County Bar Associations, and Illinois State Bar Association. Chair, DuPage County Bar Association Local Government Committee. Local Government Section Counsel for Illinois State Bar Association. Member of the Bartlett Lions Club. Member of Bartlett Chamber of Commerce.
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I have never been arrested or convicted of a crime.
Key Issue 1
The number one campaign issue in Bartlett is a lack of civility. One voter told me he doesn't expect the moon from Village government, he just wants some decency. Whether it is the forced resignation of the Village President, the ambush of a trustee overcoffee with the mayor?, or litigating with the Park District, after eleven years as a resident of Bartlett, I?m embarrassed by what is happening at Village Hall. As an attorney and adjunct college professor, I disagree and debate on a daily basis without resort to petty bickering and insults. As a Bartlett Trustee, I pledge to treat everyone with professionalism and respect. I believe a more civil Board of Trustees will shift energy and focus away fromgotcha games? and towards creative solutions to the challenges facing Bartlett.
Key Issue 2
Another primary campaign issue is the Village's new gas and electric utility taxes imposed on residents and businesses throughout Bartlett. The Village's 2012/2013 budget predicts these new taxes will cost taxpayers $1,545,000 in the first fiscal year. To put this new burden in perspective, the Village projected our sales tax revenue for that same period to be $1,975,000. I believe the Village should have reduced expenditures further before imposing yet another burden on homeowners and businesses. This new and additional burden will not encourage development or help our community recover from the Great Recession. The Village needs to get its own house in order instead of opting to further tax our community to compensate for its own business choices.
Key Issue 3
Another serious campaign issue involves our Village ordinances. I spoke with a restaurant owner who wanted to place two flags on the front of his establishment to attract attention from two very busy streets. The total cost quoted by the Village for the required variance and associated costs: $2,500. Another business owner complained that she was forced to move plumbing lines three inches to build out a bathroom to comply with Village Code. This is simply unacceptable; reasonableness and common sense must govern. The Village needs to review its ordinances, including how those ordinances are administered, to better safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare, while at the same time encouraging homeowners and businesses to invest in their properties. We need to accomplish this important goal without hiring expensive outside consultants who have no vested interest in our community. As a local government attorney, I have drafted hundreds of ordinances to meet the needs of suburban communities. As a Village Trustee, I bring that expertise to the Village of Bartlett as a part of my duties, thereby saving our tax dollars for other necessary projects or programs.
What can the village do to encourage more development into Bartlett, particularly in the Brewster Creek Business Park?
A more civil and professional Board of Trustees will encourage development not only in Brewster Creek, but throughout the entire Village. I attended a Village Board meeting wherein a new bistro received approvals, only to have a trustee turn around and question whether the Village could restrict the number of such establishments while the business owner was still standing at the podium! Message sent. As a Trustee, I would support and encourage new businesses in Bartlett, rather than discourage and interfere. In addition, I believe streamlining our ordinances and the development process itself will greatly reduce transactional costs for potential developers and encourage businesses already here in Bartlett. We need to be more creative in how we utilize development incentives to ensure the Village maximizes our return on investment.
With millions of dollars in budget cuts the last few years, how will you make sure the village continues providing good services to residents?
I understand the Village has made some cuts, but I believe we can do better. We can ensure the police arrive quickly, the streets are plowed, and sidewalks maintained, by reevaluating each and every expenditure by the Village. I am committed to preserving primary services, while cutting unnecessary costs. No expenditure, employment position, or perk should be immune from cost-cutting. We need to be smarter about how we operate. For example, the Village could implement a more expansive administrate adjudication system as an alternative to going to court. If we adjudicate our own violations, the Village will keep all of the fines instead of having to share them with the County. We would not be issuing more tickets or creating new taxes or fines. We would simply keep more. This is just one of many cost-cutting and revenue-generating ideas I would bring to the Board as a trustee.
Weigh the value of late liquor licenses to local businesses (4 a.m. in the case of the Cadillac Ranch) against safety concerns. Should 4 a.m. licenses continuie to be permitted? If so, what can be done to curb the number of incidents?
I have substantial experience with crafting and enforcing municipal and county liquor codes. The most common last call is 2:00 AM, rather than 4:00 AM, and for a very good reason: the economic value of the two extra hours is negligible when compared to the significant public safety risk. 4:00 AM licenses should not be permitted, and I would offer such an amendment to Bartlett's liquor code to make it the law.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of Bartlett's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
Any tax is a burden on individuals and businesses, and I believe government's fundamental responsibility is to minimize that burden. Bartlett's current retailer's occupation tax of 1% is far less than Cook County?s, but the Village needs to be vigilant and strive to reduce taxes as much as possible. The current sales tax is not extraordinarily high, but we always need to find ways to reduce taxes.
What are the village's biggest public safety concerns? Explain the concern as you see it, and discuss how you think it should be addressed.
Bartlett is a safe community thanks to our Police Department and alert citizens, but there are areas we can improve. For example, I believe we need to improve traffic and pedestrian safety at the train station and Route 20 and Route 59 corridors. Public education and greater enforcement are in order. I am also concerned about the excess levels of Radium in our water; it is time to accelerate our efforts to remediate this problem.