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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
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: West Dundee Village President (4-year Term)
Family: Mary Ellen, wife
Occupation: Warehouse/Logistics Manager
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business, Elmhurst College, 1989
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Trustee, West Dundee, 1999-present
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The Village must continue to strengthen our commercial and light industrial tax base. This past year, the Village has succeeded in bringing in LA Fitness, retaining Petco, Olive Garden and Red Lobster. New investment has been secured downtown with the sale and renovation of the former Clearwater Theater, the sale and repurposing of the former dry cleaners and the potential reuse of the Ace as the Fox Performing Arts Center. The completion of a fourth light industrial building west of Randall Road has helped to diversify the tax base and bring in new jobs. These efforts must be enhanced with the continued annexation and development of properties on Randall Road.
Key Issue 2
The Village Board and the Police and Fire Departments have worked to maintain and increase safety in and around our community and our schools. Additional uniformed presence has been a priority at Dundee Highlands and Dundee Middle through utilization of school safety supervisors and a traffic officer assigned to DMS. We must continue to address the concerns of traffic enforcement and cut through traffic within our neighborhoods as well as prioritizing police and fire uniformed presence on our streets, in our schools, in our neighborhoods and in places of public assembly.
Key Issue 3
Continue our efforts to coordinate area Police and Fire services: West Dundee has set the framework for cooperation with our neighboring municipal agencies for joint Fire and Police safety efforts to service the larger Dundee community. Interagency coordination makes good economic sense and will allow levels of service to be maintained through better utilization of Patrol Officers and Firefighters available to the community.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have been a West Dundee Village Trustee for 14 years and a Local Liquor Control Commissioner for 8 years. I have a working knowledge of Village operations, our challenges, our achievements and a firm understanding of the work it takes to make West Dundee a great community. I am dedicated and committed to furthering the betterment of West Dundee, having never missed a Village Board meeting in my 14 year tenure. There will be several new faces on the Board and it will be valuable to have an experienced leader to provide continuity and stability and to guide and lead the Board through the complex issues that are now and will be before our community in the future. As Village President I will further my commitment to and involvement in our community. I will work to maintain the values that make West Dundee a great place to call 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.
Sales tax is paid by the consumer. In West Dundee a good portion of the sales taxes collected are paid by shoppers from outside the community. It is important to keep sales tax at competitive levels with neighboring shopping regions to help businesses compete for customers. West Dundee's rate is 8.5% and this is competitive on a regional basis with Schaumburg at 9% and Crystal Lake at 7.5%. The Villages rate is also competitive on a local level with Algonquin at 7.75%, Carpentersville at 8.5% Elgin at 8.25%, East Dundee at 8.5%-9.5%, Hoffman Estates at 8% and South Barrington at 9%. It is also important to keep all the costs associated with doing business in West Dundee low. These include property taxes, water rates, fire insurance rates, development costs and free parking in the downtown.
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.
Cut through traffic, traffic enforcement and speeding within the neighborhoods is the biggest public safety concern that I have heard consistently over my 14 years on the Village Board. West Dundee is home to the third most heavily traveled bridge in Kane County and has two busy state roads intersecting in the center of town. Area drivers tend to become impatient and search for "quicker" alternative routes through our neighborhoods, especially during the morning and evening rush hours. We have worked to address and minimize these problems. As additional resources become available, a dedicated traffic enforcement officer should be prioritized to aid in managing this concern.
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?
Over the last several years, the Village Board has made difficult decisions and cut expenses to balance the budget while preserving quality core services of Police, Fire and Public Works. Village operations were streamlined and the number of full-time employees was reduced from 65 to 54. Quality programs such as free curbside leaf and refuse collection which enhance the quality of life for residents were maintained. In addition, funds were allocated toward maintenance to extend the useful life of equipment and improvements. The Village has long prided itself on its well maintained streets, infrastructure and equipment based on a history of scheduled capital improvement and replacement programs. The current budget began the process of allocating new revenues back toward these capital needs. The Village is on a solid financial footing and will continue to do more with less in these trying times.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
The idea I have that no one is talking about yet is to coordinate multi-jurisdictional corridor improvement for Huntley Road, Route 72, Route 31 and Randall Road. These roadways are critical to transportation, economic development, the environment and the health of residents and they are under the control of several jurisdictions. For example, Huntley Road through West Dundee is regulated by West Dundee, Carpentersville and Kane County. Route 31 at the entrance to the mall is controlled by West Dundee, IDOT and Carpentersville. There are similar multi-jurisdictional controls on Route 72 and Randall. With a unified approach to these corridors, we can work on projects to enhance life in West Dundee. An example is to interconnect bike paths and connect them to a pedestrian/bike overpass on Randall Road to serve the park district's new recreation center, baseball fields and the rear entrance to Dundee Middle School.