Brian Dianis: Candidate Profile
Algonquin 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: Algonquin Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married 21 years to Laura, 3 daughters
Occupation: Information Technology Portfolio Manager and Delivery Leader
Education: B.S. Finance - Northern Illinois University, 1986 Associate in Insurance Services (AIS) - Insurance Institute of America, 2004 Associate in General Insuarnce (AINS) - Insurance Institute of America, 2010
Civic involvement: Algonquin's annual National Night Out, Ted Spella Leadership School, Connect 300 Community Advisory Council (President), Connect 300, Village of Streamwood Community Awareness Commission (co-Chair), have volunteered at Northern Illinois Food Bank, Helping Paws Animal Shelter, Junior Achievement teacher, ALITHSA youth soccer coach
Elected offices held: Village of Algonquin Trustee - 2005 to present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Transportation - Congestion has a negative impact on local commerce, the marketability of our business park and quality of life for our residents. We need to be able to move traffic within and through our village. I supported the Western Bypass as one step in alleviating regional congestion in our area. In fact, I traveled to Springfield in 2007 with the McHenry County Road Warriors to lobby legislators throughout the state to restore funding for the roadway. This will provide some relief as the signals on 62 will remain green longer allowing more traffic to move east and west. However, this needs to be combined with another crossing over the Fox River and I believe we should continue moving forward with the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor, including the plans to incorporate a user fee or toll system. Congestion also continues to be an issue along Randall Rd at Algonquin Rd. We must partner with the leadership of Lake in the Hills and McHenry County to reach a compromise for improving the Randall Rd corridor at and around that intersection.
Key Issue 2
Economic Development Creating jobs as well as improving our commercial base is vital to the long-term stability of our village. As the economy slowly recovers we should be preparing to position our corporate campus for development. We must be able to demonstrate a clear vision of attracting and retaining businesses in Algonquin and we must continue to encourage our state legislators to create a more attractive business climate overall. Each of our three main retail corridors has unique challenges that cannot be addressed with a one size fits all philosophy so it is imperative that we have open communication with the business owners and be willing to carefully evaluate options for improving the economic viability of each area.
Key Issue 3
Building Community Our downtown is the historic center of our community and in many respects represents how our village is viewed. With the construction of the Western Bypass we will have the opportunity to revitalize this central district and once again give the village a focal point and identity. I want to see us leverage our local assets such as the Fox River, our beautiful parks, the bike path, and the quaint shops while being respectful of the historical charm and heritage of the area. I would also like to see us strengthen our sense of community by continuing the positive trends in the formation of new Neighborhood Watch groups and by appropriately expanding or modifying recreational opportunities to meet the needs of the residents as they change over time. As we live, work and play together we build that sense of belonging.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have taken an active role in helping to shape the future of Algonquin and I still have the passion for continuing this work. I have the leadership experience to bring parties together and the creativity to think outside the box. Throughout my eight years on the Village Board, I have shown professionalism and respect for the office, thoughtfully considering long-term impacts of decisions and prudently managing our tax dollars. I have developed a deep understanding of vital issues and I have the ability to positively impact change. I feel I have been successful in making Algonquin a better place even during these difficult economic times. I also know that this work is never done and I am ready to continue to serve the residents of Algonquin if re-elected.
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 tax rate at 7.75% is equal to the rates in Lake in the Hills and Crystal Lake and is less than the rate in Carpentersville (8.5%). In 2006 we established a .75% home rule sales tax. At the same time we eliminated a 4% natural gas utility tax to help offset the impact of the sales tax adjustment for our residents. Revenues from the home rule sales tax are used to fund capital projects for water/sewer and street improvements. The water/sewer improvement fund is almost fully funded through the allocation of the home rule sales tax. This is used to pay for things like replacement of aging water mains and upgrading our 17 year old water/sewer monitoring system. Likewise, a portion of the home rule sales tax is allocated for street improvements and this also represents the largest revenue source for that fund. By funding these improvements through the sales tax we are spreading the impact of necessary infrastructure improvements beyond the residents of the village.
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.
Our recent community survey revealed that in general residents feel safe within their neighborhoods both during the day (95%) and at night (88%). However, the survey did show that 6% of residents feel less than safe in their neighborhood at night. I would be interested in knowing if there is a geographically significant cluster that may indicate some underlying issue that should be addressed. The other item that comes up in conversation is the safety of children, both in school and elsewhere in the community. With the recent tragedy in Newtown, CT and last year's reports of strangers approaching children there is a need to evaluate and ensure our preparedness. Our Police Department is actively working with the school district security personnel to coordinate procedures and conduct training and we must continue to reinforce, at home and in school, how the children should respond in certain situations. I also believe that strengthening our Neighborhood Watch network can be a deterrent to people thinking of committing crimes within the community.
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?
I feel that our current budget is appropriately prioritized, but we must never stop looking for efficiencies. We utilize a constraint budgeting process whereby the revenues are estimated first, we take out any planned savings, and what's left is how much we have for expenditures. The budgeting process spans many months and involves all departments. We also have a moving 5 year capital plan so that we prioritize anticipated expenditures well ahead of time for each of our capital funds. To help with uncertainty during any given year, we have established adequate reserves and we try to do purchases for items such as vehicles or equipment later in the fiscal year. That way the purchases can be pushed back to the next fiscal year if funds were needed for unforeseen circumstances. I fully support our "pay as we go" philosophy in making sure that we plan and save for purchases rather than incurring large amounts of debt. Our current financial situation is very stable and I will make sure that continues.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I have been thinking about something I call the Neighborhood Walks program. This would involve proactively planning visits to neighborhoods throughout the Village during the course of the year. Some dates would be flexible to allow for specific neighborhoods to request a visit. The neighborhood walk would consist of a short meeting with the residents of the neighborhood and then a walking tour, giving an opportunity for the neighbors to point out what they like and don't like about their neighborhood. Village representatives would be the Village Manager (or a delegate) as well as one or two elected officials. I thought this would be a great way for our new Village Manger as well as the elected officials to get a closer look at specific parts of our community. This would also be a fantastic opportunity to promote our growing Neighborhood Watch program.
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