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: Married, one child
Occupation: Sales Consultant
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Film/Video, Columbia College, 2002
Civic involvement: Pingree Grove Financial Task Force, Commissioner on Pingree Grove Planning and Zoning Commission.
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Fiscal Responsibility- It is tiring to hear politicians speak of balanced budgets yet continually fail to deliver. If the government is unable to afford it, they are unable to purchase it. I understand our town finally has a balanced budget, but this was only after a tax increase was implemented. While the increase is understandable, it is unacceptable we must demand fiscal responsibility from not only elected officials, but by every employee of the government. I will make every effort to not waste the tax payers dollar. I will not vote for a tax increase, and I will work with my fellow board members, Mayor, and village employees to stay within the annual budget.
Key Issue 2
Intentional collaboration between our surrounding towns- We need to be willing to work together with our neighboring communities in a prompt and effective way that promotes growth for both while effectively meeting the needs of our citizens and local businesses.
Key Issue 3
Village Infrastructure- As this Village continues to grow, and as the surrounding area continues to grow, it is evident that the State and local roads are not prepared to handle this growth. While funding is not currently available to take on these concerns, they cannot be ignored. Planning needs to begin now. Calls and letters to the County and State need to be made. The current growth of Pingree Grove may have slowed due to the current economy, but it is only for a season. There are many great things going on with the new interchange at I-90 and 47, the expected upgrade to the intersection at Starks Corner, and the red light at 72 and Reinking Rd are only going to make our Village a more attractive place to live.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I'm not a politician. I'm a concerned resident, who believes it is our civic duty to serve our community. When this nation began there was no such thing as a career politician, it was just a bunch of guys serving this nation because it was the right thing to do before God and for their families and neighbors. That's how I view this position. I'm and Eagle Scout, and a Veteran of the United States Army having served two tours in Iraq. I view this as another opportunity to serve the community, not as a way to benefit myself. I have the privilege of knowing many people in the many subsections of this community. I have already asked many of these to hold me accountable to the interests of each section, and I would ask every resident to hold me accountable. Just because I don't live in the Heritage District or Carillon doesn't mean I'm not concerned about their needs, in fact I'm more sensitive to them, and want to hear their concerns to make sure they're being addressed.
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.
I believe the current tax level is more than sufficient for the community's needs. When more funding is needed to allow Pingree Grove to replace Village Vehicles, or build a Public Works Building, or when road improvements are needed;the answer to finding and generating funds is not by burdening the community with higher taxes. The answer is to help make the community an attractive place to businesses and home buyers, and to seek them both out. The more residents and businesses we have the greater our income will be.
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.
I've heard two and witnessed both on more than one occasion. I think they are equally important, and eventually both must be addressed before there is a death in our community. A few of the residents have mentioned the need for a bike path along the berm on 72 running from Reinking to 47. Currently I have witnessed people walking along the rocky shoulder of 72 as they head to and from Starks Corner. The second is Wester Blvd right in right out on Rt 72. Daily residents make the illegal left hand turn from this intersection out on to 72 instead of driving 2 miles out of their way to Richard J Brown Blvd. So first off anytime we disregard the law we endanger ourselves and others. The state isn't just saying don't do this, this law is in place to say don't hurt yourself and others. For those that don't make the illegal left they add a greater amount of traffic on both Wester Blvd and Richard J Brown. During the school year when children are heading to school it adds unnecessary traffic near the school and community center, and this side of town isn't even developed. Can you imagine how crazy rush hour will be when the community is fully developed and all the traffic is heading to RJB drive and then attempting to make a left on 72. These concerns need to be addressed with the State as it owns 72. It also needs to be addressed with D.R.Horton, and with the board. One can argue that these are not important safety issues, but I would point them to the intersection of Woodland Hills Parkway and Rt 59 in Bartlett, IL. Numerous fatalities and accidents have occurred over the years and Bartlett has finally put up a light there. I don't understand why death has to occur before the government does something.
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?
While serving on the Financial Task Force I made my recommendations public for what I thought should and should not be cut. Based on the FTF recommendations; the Village Board made appropriate cuts which helped them reach a balanced budget. I look forward to going over the current budget and working with the Village Administrator to find other areas where waste is occurring and make appropriate adjustments. The budget should not be trimmed in any regard to the personnel of the police force or in regards to the tools needed to perform their job. Public Works should also not suffer a loss in personnel or tools needed to perform their tasks. These organizations are vital to the growth of our community. That said I think it's important to examine the efficiency of each and make adjustments where needed.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I haven't heard anyone discuss the village's need for a park district. As we grow in this community this is something we should seek to make a reality. I think some may fear the cost of a park district, and if we decided to create one the size of Elgin within a year they would be right to fear that; it would be simply unsustainable. We also don't need something that large, but we do need one. I truly believe through fundraisers and sponsors we could make this happen independently of the current budget on a small scale still benefiting all residents within the Village.