Christopher Nelson: Candidate Profile
West Dundee Village President (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.
City: West Dundee
Office sought: West Dundee Village President (4-year Term)
Family: Two daughters.
Occupation: Manager of Government & Regulatory Affairs, Comcast
Education: Master's in Public Administration, Northern Illinois University, 1997 Bachelor's in Political Science, Northern Illinois University, 1993
Civic involvement: Grand Pointe Meadows Homeowners' Association, President Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township, Board Member Northern Illinois University Alumni Association, Board Member Northern Illinois University Department of Political Science Advisory Commission, Board Member
Elected offices held: President, Grand Pointe Meadows Homeowners' Association, 2010 to Present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Strengthen tax base through aggressive economic development efforts. One of my main goals as Village President would be to reduce the burden on residential taxpayers. I consider this goal absolutely essential. To do this, I would leverage our tax advantage over our Cook County neighbors to lure businesses to relocate to West Dundee. I would also ensure that the Village's largest commercial taxpayers have a connection to Village Hall, so that if they are considering closing or relocating, the Village can have the opportunity to respond proactively to retain them. I would personally deepen our connection to Spring Hill Mall and work with ownership to bring new and known tenants to the facility. The downtown area is beautiful and would be marketed to attract unique and lasting uses. This would be anall hands on deck? effort, with officials and staff working together to keep the Village economic base strong and growing.
Key Issue 2
Develop stronger ties with area legislators at state, county, township, and municipal levels. Creativity is key in today's economy, and by working with our governmental counterparts, we can likely find methods for improving overall service delivery. Working with these groups can also enhance the Village's ability to seek grant funding to help pay for public improvements.
Key Issue 3
Increase access to your elected officials. For many, attending Village Board meetings on weeknight evenings is difficult due to job and family commitments. As a result, some residents have few if any opportunities to interact with their local elected officials. To help with this, I plan to have quarterlycoffee with the board? meetings on Saturdays to increase access to elected officials. I also would invite other local officials?such as our state representative'to join. The main goal of this and other activities would be to ensure that the residents of West Dundee have full and complete access to their local government leaders.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
With a background in local government management and continued work with municipalities throughout the North and Northwest Suburbs, I have a great deal of experience in municipal operations. Coupled with my education in public administration and political science, I have also learned to study civic best practices and how to apply them. Even further, I have a demonstrated ability to lead, and have done so in many organizations, both public and private. I am cooperative, energetic, and committed, and have documented successes in working with diverse teams and community groups. West Dundee is an excellent community, but the challenges we face from a changing suburban landscape are great. Creative and dynamic leadership is needed for the matters that face us, and I believe I am well-equipped to provide just that.
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.
As a recent Daily Herald article indicated, West Dundee has one of the highest per capita tax rates in the Chicagoland area. The tax levy is set to increase by 5% for the coming year, and I ultimately would like to see the tax burden on the individual homeowner reduced. I believe the answer lies in an aggressive, well-articulated economic development plan, one that focuses on attracting sales-tax generating uses downtown, near Spring Hill Mall, and on Randall Road.
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.
Residents have expressed concerns about staffing levels in both the police and fire departments. More personnel on the streets and in the stations are seen as being needed. Yet funding is lacking in a lean budget. I believe the solution will be multi-faceted. I would recommend seeking grants, even short-term ones, to add personnel. Reviving talks to have West Dundee provide services to our neighbors is also of interest. Long-term, having new resources--in the form of sales tax proceeds--are a big part of the answer. Establishing an aggressive, proactive economic development program would facilitate that goal.
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?
West Dundee staff have done well in doing a lot with increasingly little. I further believe that the Village is past the point where cutting more from the budget is plausible. I firmly believe that the police and fire departments would benefit from increased expenditures for use in staffing. Public safety is one of the bedrock services of municipal government, and I would like see our departments have additional resources to accomplish that mission.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I would like to establish an economic development group as a public-private partnership in an effort to develop a long-term, inclusive plan to help revive West Dundee's economy. The partnership would be modeled after effective (albeit larger) programs in use in Chicago and New York.
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