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: Pingree Grove
Office sought: Pingree Grove Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Divorced, in a relationship, two daughters at Hampshire High School and one son who just finished his time in the Navy.
Occupation: Creative Director/Owner - Advertising Agency
Education: BFA in Cinema & Photography, Southern Illinois University, 1990
Civic involvement: Director at large, Northern Kane Educational Corp Board of Directors
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: N/A
Key Issue 1
Information and Thorough Communication. The people in the village of Pingree Grove have a right to the information on what the government is doing. Currently the information is hard to find, not presented, or often the wrong information. There needs to be more ways to communicate with the citizens such as social media and more public forums where people have the opportunity to voice their opinions. There is a certain amount of Public Relations that every good governing body needs to pursue and my background and experience allow me to get that done.
Key Issue 2
Pingree Grove needs lower taxes, not new municipal buildings. This is an extreme economic time with home foreclosures still occurring in our town. After an extreme tax hike, spending millions on new buildings is not a way to leave a legacy or set a precedence. New businesses are the answer to increased revenue to fund city growth, not overtaxing the people who want to live here.
Key Issue 3
Candidate did not respond.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I see myself a non-politician. I?m simply a local businessman who can contribute my experience to help better my community. I want answers to questions and to help the people of the community. I built three companies from the ground up and have honed a specialty of communicating and negotiating between two differentiating sides of an issue. Because of my background in advertising and marketing I believe I can bridge the gap between some of the negative feelings of the community and the direction of the village government.
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.
Our community does not currently have enough businesses to help off-set the public's taxes. It's up to our local government to bring in more businesses to our community to help alleviate the household tax burden. One concept I plan on pursuing if elected to the board is to start a Pingree Grove Chamber of Commerce to aid in attracting new business.
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.
The majority of our village is a new development less than 10 years old. Since the housing market downfall, the neighborhoods are still incomplete. They are peppered with foreclosed homes and unfinished streets and sidewalks. The communications with the developer need to put the community first. In some areas the roads are unsafe in the winter, and there are no clear paths for children to walk to the community school. The relationship between the Home Owners Association and the government is part of this issue. There needs to be more cooperation with the good of the community in mind.
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?
Pingree Grove recently went through a tax increase to offset a budget deficit. New taxes were imposed where there were no taxes and others raised (i.e. phone). This tax increase had a huge negative effect on the citizens including protests to the village board. There will be a surplus (from the tax hikes) and new homes are being built again. Now is the time to review the entire budget for ways to save, bring in more business, and lower taxes.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Information and communication needs to be developed between the community and the village officials. The people of Pingree Grove feel they do not have a voice with the current leadership of our village. The topics for board meetings should be publicized on social media outlets and discussion boards prior to actions being taken by the board. Public meeting held that are open Q&A as well as informational. Information that is hard to find on the village website or not publicized in any other way can be taken by the citizens as negative activity. This can be avoided by becoming an open, accurate source of information using every channel possible. Use social networking, don't avoid it.