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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: Mundelein Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Wife Debbi(Herman - married 25 years); son Joe (23) daughter Maggi (20). Deb and I are life-long Mundelein residents and gradates of MHS; our two kids graduated MHS as well. I would be very happy to have grandkids that are Mustangs at some point too!
Occupation: National Account Rep for a major US credit bureau.
Education: BS in Public Administration and Urban Studies from Elmhurst College in 1983.
Civic involvement: I was on the Mundelein Plan Commission for 10-years and the final 2 as Chairman. I have been a trustee for 18 years - and I was the youngest plan commissioner and then village trustee ever. I also served two years on the Lake County Regional Plan Commission. I was a founding member of Mundelein Pride and actually went to the state building in Chicago to help the organization become a Mundelein Main Street community. I have played Santa for 20 years in Santa's Cottage. I have held various roles in my church. I have participated in community events such as Amayzing Mundelein, National Night Out, etc. I was a founding member of the MHS QB Club and served as its president for 2 years. I have coached MJFL and even little leauge baseball when my son was very young. I have done a lot with the community.
Elected offices held: Village Trustee in Mundelein 4-4 year terms and 1 2-year term (18 years). I was first elected when I was 33 years old.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
My main goal is to make Mundelein a place where my own kids want to own a home and raise their own families. If our kids want to stay in town own a home and raise their own kids here like my wife and I have then I will deem my tenure as a Trustee a success. If Mundelein is a vibrant community, that is safe and near jobs with good schools and ample in town shopping - we are doing OK.
Key Issue 2
Keep Mundelein a safe community. The village has worked very hard in the past 20 years to rid the town of gangs. While no town including Mundelein is without bad elements, residents need to remember what the town looked like over 20 years ago with gang graffiti all around town and the Mundelein Community Days celebration during the 4th of July a place where you did not want to be with your family after dark due to the overwhelming presence of gang-bangers and out of town thugs. Those days are behind us, and I sure hope they never return.
Key Issue 3
Metra's North Central train line needs more stops in Mundelein during the week and on weekends. Mundelein has spent a lot of effort and money in our down town towards a Transit Oriented Development that is friendly for commuters. Unfortunately, the train line that we have is not as friendly for commuters as it could be. Many residents have to use the MD-N line out of one of the Libertyville stations since they run all day 7-days per week. I hate having to go to Libertyville to catch the train down town because a Mundelein train will not work time-wise. Now that freight traffic will be diverted towards the old E&J lines, hopefully more commuter stops can be added by Metra. It is time for Mundelein to work with the other NC line communities to lobby for more train stops in the stations we have spent a lot of money on and so the businesses and commuters can benefit by mass transit 7 days per week.
The village is moving ahead with plans for a municipal hub near the train station that would include a village hall, retail space and office space. What is your vision for that area and how would you fund the project?
Hopefully the new Village Hall with Weston as a tenant in the second floor will act as a catalyst to attract private developers in that immediate area and throughout the down town area. The Village and Weston have already received interest by prospective developers, and more interest will take place once the building is up. Mundelein has been planning for a new Village Hall for over 25 years and has been saving money to build it. We have a TIF District in place which will help attract more development, and hopefully the re-development will spread all the way to the former US Music property to the South and to Route 176 to the North.
Talking with your friends and neighbors, what seems to be their biggest public safety concern? Explain the concern as you see it, an discuss how you think it should be addressed?
Keep the gang bangers out of town, and work to keep the drugs and booze away from our children and keep our schools safe. Community events like our 4th of July Community Days Celebration are a safe place to spend time as a family. The events are full of Mundelein people. 20+ years ago this event was over-run by thugs and riff-raff where families did not feel safe. We do not want Mundelein to go back to the old ways of doing things. The underage drinking and drug use by kids is scary as a parent. We as a community need to do all we can to keep our kids and schools safe. This is something that the Mundelein Police Department is committed to and they have my full support.
In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed? Conversely, is there something that should be reinstated or have resources directed toward?
Our budget is about $44M with an operating budget of about $22M. We are down to 175 employees from 186. We have made many cuts due to the Great Recession and what that has done to our revenues. Since we are a service industry that has police and fire that has a demand for services 24 hours per day 365 days per year we need proper staffing and proper equipment. Regrettably, we had to lay off some of these fine workers and cut the hours and overtime of all employees. I would like to get back to full staffing levels in all departments as the economy gets more solid. In terms of where the current budget could be trimmed, in order to come up with significant savings, things like road repairs ($2M) or replacement of aged vehicles could be deferred if needed - they cannot be eliminated, as we will still need to fix the roads and will need to replace broken down equipment. I do not favor deferring these types of matters, as it just puts it off for some future board to deal with. We as a local government cannot do as many private companies have done by outsourcing our labor to a foreign country; as an emergency responder needs to be at your location as quickly as possible. I would not favor out-sourcing our staff either, as our service providers should be local to serve in a face-to-face way with our customers who are the residents of Mundelein. I, like everyone would like to spend more money each year on fixing roads. We should spend $5M per year at a minimum - but we cannot afford that much. Perhaps we can look to provide services to some of our neighbors like our building inspectors do for Hawthorn Woods. Everything is "on the table" and we do try to get creative where we can.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Affordable Sr. Citizen housing along with assisted senior care options. Many residents of Mundelein who retire and want to sell their big homes have no place in town to live. My own parents moved to Saddlebrook Farms, which is loaded with former Mundelein residents. I would like to be able to secure a large senior development - perhaps even down-town, where our seniors could reside and stay in Mundelein - the town they know as home.
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.
Mundelein has no utility tax, which would be a big tax on businesses that use lots of electricity and gas. The Home-Rule sales tax we have generates much needed revenues from shoppers - many that are not residents of Mundelein that pay property taxes in Mundelein. The amount we tax is not the lowest in the area, but it is just about right. We attracted all the stores near Target and Home Depot; Wal Mart at Oak Creek Plaza is coming together and Menards is looking to stay in town near Target. If we were not attracting these big retail establishments then I think we would need to re-think what we are doing.