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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Blackberry Township Supervisor (4-year Term)
Family: Wife Mary of 51 years and two grown sons Michael and David who are both graduates of Kaneland Schools.
Occupation: Currently retired. Educational administrator Clinical Psychologist (071.001211) Certified School Psychologist Blackberry Township Cemetery Sexton
Education: BS and MS Illinois State University sixty (60) plus additional post graduate hours
Civic involvement: Founding Board Member of LivingWell Cancer Resource Center, Geneva, IL. Winner of the Bartell Award from the Delnor Health System for Leadership Excellence 2010 Volunteered at Delnor Community Hospital, Same Day Surgery for 17 years Recognized by the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago as Disaster Volunteer of the year 2000. Disaster Mental Health Chairman ARCGC with responsiblity for managing people and resources in time of disaster in either Greater Chicago and throughout the country. Blackberry Township 708 Board member and chairperson Represented Blackberry Township on INC Board Aurora President of the National Association of School Psychologists Distinguished Alumni Psychology Department, Illinois State University Stretch Miller Award and Golden Redbird Awards for Contributions, Commitment, Exemplary Service and Leadership, Illinois State University Athletic Department
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: NO
Key Issue 1
Being a good steward of township resources and establish a climate that encourages citizen participation. Identify the strengths of the Township and build on them. Listen to the citizens and Board as well as co-elected officials to make a good township better.
Key Issue 2
Roads- There is 58 miles of roadway in the Township that are neither in a municipality nor the responsibility of either the county or state. Our current resources allow us to resurface just over a mile each year at a cost of about $100,000 per mile. About 26 miles of our surfaced roads are in Mill Creek and the other 26 miles are in smaller subdivisions and on a limited number of through ways that are neither State nor County roads. The remainder is gravel. About 20 plus miles of our roads were constructed in the past 20 years and have exceeded the typical life span of ten years. Our current resources allow us to resurface about 1.2 miles a year. The people of Blackberry Township can anticipate the resurfacing of their road about twice a century unless the issue is addressed. I supported the decision of the Board of Trustees, who met their due diligence responsibility by putting the Issue on the April 9 ballot for the people to determine if they want to improve the roads in the Township.
Key Issue 3
Providing strong dependable service from an experienced leader.Services- Blackberry Township with its limited resources is somewhat conservative in regard to the options offered to the public. It is critical that we identify the priorities of the various constituencies. We need to review all current programs for seniors and youth as well as the priority we give to mental health. We need to identify who we can partner with to stretch our resources. If we partner with the Forest Preserve, private sports groups orRide In Kane?, we need to be sure we are utilizing our resources consistent with citizen needs and goals. I will establish regular Board and public Town Meetings to educate and develop new ideas on how to meet the citizen needs. I pledge to have regular office hours posted and to make every effort to be available to listen to citizen issues. As Township Treasurer, a responsibility of the Supervisor, I will stay within budget. I pledge to deposit all receipts in a timely way. I will encourage the use of State and Federal grants to offset local tax payer costs. I will meet regularly with the Township Elected Officials (cabinet), on a regular basis and seek their counsel on how to make Blackberry Township a better place to live.
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.
Being a good steward of Township resources and establish a climate that encourages citizen participation. Identify the strengths of the Township and build on them. Listen to the citizens and Board as well as co- elected officials to make a good Township even better.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
In Western Kane County and Blackberry Township in particular, we are primarily a geographic area that is not part of a municipal area. Townships were originally established across the country and in Illinois to allow citizens who did not live in a municipal boundary to have direct representation in government. The Township form of government is closest to the people particular with our Annual Town Meeting at which each citizen represents him or herself of the issues on the agenda. This is the purest form of Democracy. The Township has three primary responsibilities as per state law: Roads and Bridges, Tax assessment and general assistance. Townships in western Kane County are different than the municipalities that make up the eastern portion. Kane County, with over half a million people, has two demographic faces and each has different needs. To answer your implied issue, yes our role should adapt to our demographic. If our Township becomes a part of a municipality, we would and should eliminate duplicated services that the municipality provides.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The primary responsibilities of Township Government are stated above. We are not limited to these three items, but should provide only non-mandated services that citizens want and are willing to support. Township officials should be a resource to assist citizens to have available programs that serve the needs of youth or seniors and the community as a whole.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
The Blackberry Township Highway Department runs about as efficiently as possible with the resources available. The workforce is comprised of both full time and part time local personnel. The Department has a plan for equipment updates to avoid downtime and untimely out of service time. The Assessor does not determine the tax levy but does assess property value. The Assessor's office holds the highest quality or accuracy rating for his assessments as determined by both the State and County. The assessor promotes education of the taxpayer and assists them in the process of challenging their assessment. The Town Board Trustees has avoided the need to use theBlack Box? recently by having a levy that was less than the CPI or less than a 5% levy increase. To improve our efficiency the Township has developed quality information systems. The use of technology crosses over all departments, Highway, Assessor, Cemetery and Clerk. The efficiencies from use of technology benefit the public with rapid accurate information retrieval. The facts regarding how much our Township cost the public deserves some review. My tax record suggests that the Blackberry Townships total levy is about 3.4% of my tax bill. Blackberry Township Road and Bridge fund gets 1.9% of the total and the remainder 1.5% goes for town expenses which includes personnel in the Assessor's office, Supervisor, Clerk and Cemetery Sexton/Superintendent. I offer an example of the cost of running the Township. If we use a tax bill of $7,000, results in the taxpayer paying the Township a total of $235.00 or 3.4% of the total bill. The Highway Department receives a total of $130.00 and the Town gets $105.00 in tax dollars. Most citizens do not realize that the Highway District tax receipts of $843,290.35 must be discounted by 17%. From the total Highway tax revenue, $ 142,840.50 or 17% goes to the villages of Elburn and North Aurora for their roads, because both villages are in part, within the Township. This discount of tax resources leaves the Highway district with $700,452. 00. The cost of repaving a road is about $100,000 plus per mile
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I have attended almost every Town Board meeting since July 2007 and have served the Township as the Town Moderator for over ten years at the annual Town Meeting. I have also worked as the Cemetery Superintendent since July 2007. The first three years were as a volunteer. I currently get a stipend as Sexton, but most of my current efforts are on a volunteer basis. The Cemetery records date back to 1860 and were not organized in any consistent way. The records are now all in a data base. Policies and Procedures have been developed and all necessary forms are available for conducting the business of the Cemetery. The Cemetery has undergone several beautification projects including the addition of a cremation garden. The Cemetery is operated without taxpayer dollars. I have also worked with the Highway Commissioner writing successful grants as well as several grants pending. In my professional work and volunteer work I have experience managing people and budgets. I have a proven track record of being a listener, problem solver and someone who follows through on a job.