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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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Office sought: Mundelein Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: I have been married to Mark Abernathy for 18 years. We have 2 daughters, Akaysha 19 and Maggie 12.
Education: Bachelor Science in Politics & Public Affairs and Bachelors Science Public Relations, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL. 1988 Masters in Education National Loius University, 2010
Civic involvement: Mundelein Pride - Executive Board Mundelein Mainstreet - Executive Board Mundelein Community Connection- member Mundelein Lions Club - Volunteer Mundelein Rotary Club - Paul Harris Fellow Santa Maria dl Popolo Church
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Retaining and attracting more businesses to Mundelein. There are too many empty storefronts; many have been empty for years. Mundelein can be a destination city! With the planned development around the new Village Hall, we have an opportunity to create an identity and an opportunity to attract businesses to the center of town. There is a comprehensive plan developed for the Village. In conjunction with the Economic Development Commission, there needs to be better coordination and communication between Village Staff, Board and members of the EDC. Through communications, we can aid new businesses in obtaining SBA loans, if needed, with Lake County Partners. There are many resources, and as a welcoming community, we need to make every effort to assist prospective business partners. We also need to have more living space in the downtown area. We need thefoot traffic.? More residents living in the downtown provides customers to the new businesses.
Key Issue 2
Village streets are a continuing issue. Until 2005, the Village spent approximately 1 million a year on street repairs. In 2006 through current FYE 2013, this figure went to 2 million dollars. The only problem with this in 2013, with the costs of repairs escalating, we are only able to repair the same amount of linear footage as when spending 1 million. About 7 years ago the Village was given a study projecting to keep up with needed repairs; we should be spending about 4.5 million a year. Public works has acquired a new 40? street grinder. This piece of equipment can be utilized more effectively with a comprehensivestreet plan?. Living in the Midwest, we are all aware of thefreeze and thaw? and standing water effects on our roads.
Key Issue 3
A beautification program to improve the Village of Mundelein. We need to improve the physical appearance of the Village entryways. When people enter the Village of Mundelein, they will recognize the pride we take in our Village. Plantings, fertilizing and mowing need to be contracted to make sure when people come to the Village of Mundelein, they will recognize the pride we take in our Village. We need a cohesive master plan for streetscapes. This was started in the area of Park St, Seymour and around the corner on Rt. 45. This can be completed in the entire downtown area and partially funded with TIF funds. A new sign ordinance is planned for the FYE 2013 budget. Once the ordinance is approved, TIF money can be used by current and new businesses in the TIF district for signage to partially offset costs.
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?
The vision I have for this area is to become the center of our downtown district. For this area to grow, we need strong leadership and a strong Village Board with a vision. The additional lots need to be constructed according to the plan for the area- restaurants and businesses on the street level, with multi-unit dwellings on top. This is the heart of the TIF district. The center green space can be utilized to host current events, such as the Farmers Market, Arts Festival and the Beer Festival. Partnering with Mundelein Community Connection will be important for event planning. Once the Village Hall is completed, it will create awareness and stimulate additional businesses to join in the development.
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?
One issue is community policing. It is important Police officers on patrol take additional time to drive through neighborhoods. People see Police officers parked behind a tree or a bush to apprehend speeding violations. While controlling speed is important, we also need their increased presence in our neighborhoods to maintain the perception that Mundelein is a safe place to live. Another public safety issue concerns the residents that live on the East side of the railroad tracks. There is discussion of another satellite fire station on the far West side of town; however, if there is an emergency on the East side of the tracks and a freight train is coming through town, the extra time to wait or go around on Courtland, could result in lives being lost and/or increased property damages.
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?
The largest single portion of the FYE 2013 budget is wages and salaries, including $1.5 million of overtime wages. Cross-training Village staff can help to alleviate some of the overtime. Consider discussing with Libertyville and Grayslake about consolidating the fire department with Libertyville and Grayslake fire departments. Through consolidation cost efficiencies may be achievable with response times remaining acceptable. Another area that I have previously discussed is the use of the 40? street grinder that was purchased by the village.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Mundelein has a summer and winter diamond in the rough, Diamond Lake. The eastside lakefront is currently maintained by the Park District. They were able to acquire the land formerly occupied by Gale Street Inn. This area could be developed into a beautiful lakefront area that is open to the public. Many towns have developed their lakefronts and it has brought businesses and people to enjoy the lake. The Village Board should partner with the Park District to develop a plan for the area. A restaurant with outdoor seating, live music and public access to the beach would benefit Mundelein residents as well as being a destination for people in the surrounding communities.
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 is a Home Rule community. It has exercised an additional 1% sales tax on businesses operating within the Village. With the increase of businesses in the Village, the TIF District, development of the Rubeloff Property to the west, and Wal-Mart coming to town in the foreseeable future, I would like to see at least a% reduction in the current sales tax.