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updated: 2/22/2013 6:09 PM

Lisa Rusch: Candidate Profile

Avon Township Supervisor (4-year Term) (Independent)

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  • Lisa Rusch, running for Avon Township Supervisor (4-year Term)

      Lisa Rusch, running for Avon Township Supervisor (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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Lake Villa

Website: http://avonaction.com

Office sought: Avon Township Supervisor (4-year Term)

Age: 50

Family: Married for 25 years to Steve Rusch, Two sons - Christopher 22 who attends CLC and Ryan (14) who is an 8th grader at Grayslake Middle School

Occupation: Reception / Public Relations team - Cook Memorial Public Library District

Education: Associates in Arts - Harper College

Civic involvement: 1. Round Lake Area Exchange Club 2. Round Lake Chamber of Commerce Member 3. Grayslake Chamber of Commerce Member 4. Regional Commissioner Grayslake AYSO Region #396 5. Co-Chair Chili Supper Sponsored by Round Lake Area BEST Coalition Character Counts and Round Lake Exchange Club

Elected offices held: Avon Township Clerk - May 2009 to January 2013 Avon Township Supervisor - January 2013 to present

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

1. Avon Action is running on a proven record of reforming township government. Our campaign platform is a continuation of the results-oriented agenda we began four years ago. They are: Continue Lowering Taxes. During our first term, we are the only local government in the area who has lowered tax levies every year in office, totally a 22% reduction. Avon Action will continue lowering the tax burden and pressure other taxing bodies to do the same.

Key Issue 2

2. Continue Cutting Expenses. Avon Action is responsible for reducing expenses by nearly a quarter of the total budget. Proudly, we have done this without eliminating jobs and -- to many people's surprise -- have substantially increased services offered by the Township. More can be done, including further cuts to elected officials' salaries.

Key Issue 3

3. Continue Helping Low Income Residents, and those who have fallen on tough times. Our weakened national economy led to a 300% increase in Food Pantry demand. It also had a devastating impact on seniors and veterans who rely on a fixed income. Avon Township responded on all fronts. But rather than look to tax revenue to fund these programs, we increased private donations and expanded community partnerships with non-profit organizations, including our own Avon Township Community Foundation.

Questions & Answers

Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.

As the former Township Clerk and now Supervisor, I am proud to say that Avon Township is the only local government in the area that has lowered tax levies every year, reduced unnecessary spending by over 20%, while expanding vital services -- a 300% increase in usage to our Food Pantry alone! These were goals that we set, and campaign promises we made, when we ran four years ago. We set a road map that has clearly worked. It is critical that the Board and the elected executives continue to find ways to do more with less, including putting the needs of taxpayers ahead of self-interest. 1. Avon Action is running on a proven record of reforming township government. Our campaign platform is a continuation of the results-oriented agenda we began four years ago. They are: Continue Lowering Taxes. During our first term, we are the only local government in the area who has lowered tax levies every year in office, totally a 22% reduction. Avon Action will continue lowering the tax burden and pressure other taxing bodies to do the same. 2. Continue Cutting Expenses. Avon Action is responsible for reducing expenses by nearly a quarter of the total budget. Proudly, we have done this without eliminating jobs and -- to many people's surprise -- have substantially increased services offered by the Township. More can be done, including further cuts to elected officials' salaries. 3. Continue Helping Low Income Residents, and those who have fallen on tough times. Our weakened national economy led to a 300% increase in Food Pantry demand. It also had a devastating impact on seniors and veterans who rely on a fixed income. Avon Township responded on all fronts. But rather than look to tax revenue to fund these programs, we increased private donations and expanded community partnerships with non-profit organizations, including our own Avon Township Community Foundation.

In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?

Perhaps one reason we have been successful in lowering tax levies, reducing costs, and reaching higher efficiency, is because we recognized that Avon Township had very little statutory requirements. We also recognized that Illinois has more layers of government than any other State, and too much duplication of services. With Lake County taxes among the highest in the Country, it is our responsibility to eliminate duplication, not create more government to prove our relevancy. This hasn't won us a popularity contest among taxing entities, but it has allowed us to lower taxes and set a necessary example.

What should be the primary responsibility of township government?

Each township is different. In fact, one major problem is that Illinois law requires every township to be structured the same, regardless of population or -- in the case of Avon -- the fact that most of the Township is comprised of municipalities which provide the services. Beside the mandatory requirements of the Assessor and Highway Commissioner, I believe it is the role of Avon Township to dispense emergency assistance and promote community collaboration, which includes serving as a bridge between our residents, non-profits, and other government entities.

In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?

As I mentioned, the success of Avon Township over the last term has been our ability to 'think outside the box' and substantially reduce costs without eliminating jobs or services. Although we lowered salaries to elected officials by nearly 30%, I think we could have gone further. We must continue to keep our eye on the necessary, statutory requirements of the Township and not be distracted by creating programs that burden taxpayers. For example, an opponent has proposed that the Township offer low interest home loans. While it's nice to think this could be done, in practical terms it's ludicrous. The Township has neither the legal authority nor the resources to take on this responsibility. By spending less we are helping more. Most people will agree that high property taxes threaten the financial stability of our community.

What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?

My record as Clerk and Supervisor is the best qualification. In addition surpassing every campaign promise I made four years ago, I remain committed to improving the Township and the place I call home. I believe that community participation, helping our friends, family and neighbors, is the key to improving our lives. I have and will continue to volunteer for many local civic and charitable organizations. But my leadership role with the regional AYSO gives me great pride because, above all else, I'm a 'soccer mom' who believes that local government can be better.

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