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updated: 2/22/2013 6:02 PM

Ray LaMarca: Candidate Profile

Pingree Grove Village Board (4-year Terms) (Independent)

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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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A

 

Bio

City: Pingree Grove

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Pingree Grove Village Board (4-year Terms)

Age: 40

Family: Married with 2 kids

Occupation: System Engineering Manager @ Data Storage Company

Education: BS in Computer Science

Civic involvement: Current member of Village of Pingree Grove Board Member of Pingree Grove Cares Group Member of HOA Finance Committee

Elected offices held: Village of Pingree Grove Trustee

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: Candidate did not respond.

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Fiscally responsible budget with both short term goals but more importantly long term needs in mind. Currently we have over $1M worth of debt in our police station alone from previous administrations that we need to come up with a plan to start saving money now to pay for this and other things the village will need to continue our growth.

Key Issue 2

Improved collaboration and communication between members of the Board, staff and community. There is no 5 year or 10 year plan for the village. Plans will change based on the economy, but without a plan, even a short term one, we will not Continue to progress. Communication of that plan with everyone -- from the Board to the staff and especially to the residents -- will help us get started in the right direction towards a future of growth and true prosperity.

Key Issue 3

Focused goals on driving commercial revenue opportunities and growth for the village. The Village will not be able to continue to rely on the backs of only it's residents for revenue growths. As with a collaborative and communication plan; we need to have a plan to bring businesses to Pingree Grove to help our revenue base for the villages financial stability.

Questions & Answers

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

As a current member of the Board I feel I have an excellent knowledge of the Village's overall needs - both short term and long term. While serving on the Board the last two years, I have made it my main focus to make sure we are fiscally responsible. Unfortunately, there are many long term needs already burdening the Village -- a direct byproduct from decisions made from previous Boards. Due to this, we need to focus on making sure we have the finances to pay for them. In my day job, I am a Systems Engineering Manager focused on selling my company's products and services to major companies here in Illinois. Part of that selling is ROI based - attuned projections determined by their company's specific short and long term needs. Many of my questions to other Board members and staff are questions regarding the overall savings to the Village a specific purchase or idea will have. Leveraging my experience in the business world, I feel I have the perspective and the insight to bring viable ideas and concepts to the Board.

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 current sales tax rates are in line and better than other towns in the area. The focus of Pingree Groves leadership needs to be bringing more of it to the town. We need to focus on marketing Pingree Grove to companies like McDonald's, Walgreen's, CVS, Target and others like these. We need to make sure Pingree Grove is positioned to them as the fastest growing town in Northern Kane County. We also need to promote to these businesses that we already have the infrastructure in place to support them immediately including discussions on our already scheduled road improvements in the area as well.

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.

Overall public safety has not come up much with my neighbors and friends. As a whole, the community and our police do a very good job of keeping everyone informed of what is going on. The biggest concern recently noticed by two other Trustees and myself was that during the 1st Tuesday of the month tornado siren testing, about two-thirds of the Village could not hear it. Because of this concern for our residents, we just initiated and got passed the installation of 2 new tornado sirens to cover the rest of Pingree Grove in time for the next tornado season (Spring 2013). So staying on top of issues will still be a key moving forward as Pingree Grove continues to grow.

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 we can use our time and energy to dissect certain line item areas like mosquito abatement, street salt prices, tree replacement budgets, etc... we must also be aware that these type of adjustments will only make small dents in the overall budget needs we have as a Village. Currently we need to make sure we are putting enough money away for our future in our capital improvement fund to cover purchases and decisions made by previous Boards. With that in mind, I have requested a starting point of $75K be added as a line item for the General Fund this year as a direct line item for long term savings. This is no where near enough, but we need to start somewhere. We also need to look at areas we can bring services in-house for which we are currently paying professional services. Or, see what partnerships we can create with other towns near us like Gilberts, Hampshire, Huntley or Elgin -- areas like the Building Departments, street sweeping, office supplies, IT services, etc.. Making dents in those types of areas will mean a much more significant savings to the Village - helping us to put more money away for a future. As for what is missing in the budget we need to look back at recent history to see what budget amendments were passed and why they were needed. As we now manage the Waste Water Treatment plant ourselves and are asked to take over more public works areas from Cambridge, we need to make sure our estimates from our staff for costs are in line with the overall needs.

What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

We need to find a way to take better use of our residents' knowledge and expertise. We have residents that run their own businesses, have worked for other police departments and in some cases in past Boards or government positions. We need to open the doors to the Village Hall and hear their ideas more. The growth and prosperity of Pingree Grove will require a total team effort.If we cannot work as a team from the top on down, we will not be successful. As I said in what makes me the best candidate for the job, at my current employer Leadership is the key to our success. But being a leader means many things. It means you have to show strength by exhibiting a positive attitude. You have to want to get up in the morning excited to put in a day's work. You have to be willing and able to go above and beyond without being asked - that's true strength in attitude. You have to accept candor from your residents and peers on the Board. You are not going to please 100% of the people, but you need to show you are open to listening and, where appropriate, adapt to change. You need to set goals, both personal and professional, while also helping others reach their goals. Without solid and defined goals you cannot be driven to complete a task. In summary of this last question, listening to others and bringing in new ideas is not something the Board is currently talking about. However, it is my belief that to succeed as a Village we will need to do this with earnest and conviction -- open eyes and minds to the future of our Village.

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