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updated: 2/22/2013 6:02 PM

Bruce Barnes: Candidate Profile

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

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  • Bruce Barnes, running for Pingree Grove Village Board (4-year Terms)

      Bruce Barnes, running for Pingree Grove Village Board (4-year Terms)

 

 

 

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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: 57

Family: Married, two children and one grandchild

Occupation: Senior Network Planning Engineer

Education: Computer Science, Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, Michigan

Civic involvement: Pioneers Volunteer Network

Elected offices held: None

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Keeping taxes in check and reducing them where possible including lessening the impact of Special Service Area (SSA) obligations. If elected I would work with the Mayor and fellow Board members to continue the good work of fiscal responsibility while doing the Village's business. Community services like police, fire, water and streets come with a cost but by listening to the residents of Pingree Grove regarding what is most important to them we can best prioritize what gets done, how much and when in our village.

Key Issue 2

Growing the business base within the Village boundaries, sooner rather than later. We need to explore creative and innovative ways to lure more business to Pingree Grove that would lessen the tax burden on residents while providing jobs as well. Like many of my neighbors I?m especially interested in establishing a full service grocery store within our Village boundaries that could also serve surrounding communities since currently we must travel east to Randall Road or north into Huntley. Route 47 will be the new Randall Road and I hope to help shape that through collaboration with the Village Board and Planning Committee.

Key Issue 3

Enhancing public safety by establishing programs with the Pingree Grove Police Department and Village citizens. Program examples include Neighborhood Watch and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). We need an emergency plan that is pragmatic and executable, with an effective communications plan between government and residents. And, we need to periodically test the plan for effectiveness and to identify areas for improvement.

Questions & Answers

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

My profession requires continual collaboration and innovative thinking that aligns with well with the Village Trustee position. I communicate honestly and act with integrity. I would strive to foster the best quality of life for everyone in Pingree Grove. I regularly attend the Village Board meetings and have presented issues of common interest on a few occasions.

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.

Pingree Grove does not impose a sales tax levy on top of Kane County's 7% sales tax rate and I do not support adding one. However, the Village does benefit monetarily from local sales.

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.

Emergency Preparedness involving residents to deal with natural or human-made disasters. I?m confident that the Police Department is fully trained and ready to address a disaster within the Village limits, but as a resident and Business Continuity Planner we could improve on developing a formal emergency plan for the community, especially around communication to residents. For example, it is not clear how we would notify residents of a chemical spill from a train derailment on the nearby Canadian Pacific/Soo line. There are existing notification programs like Code Red, Reverse 911 or wireless options that could broadcast Village-wide alerts during an emergency but currently are not widely known or used.

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?

There is always room for budget examination and discussion to trim excess. The $1.6M General Fund is one area that requires close scrutiny because of the wide array of items that any general fund might cover. Another budget item to closely control is taxes on utilities, although it currently accounts for 6% of the budget we need to make sure to avoid scope creep. We all want to see property taxes lowered and the Village Board has done a good job to maintain and sometimes decrease local rates. I would continue on that path while advising residents to contact the Rutland Township Assessor to request an assessment reduction and if not satisfied there they should file an assessment complaint with the Kane County Assessment Office. I would like to see more dollars allocated to Special Events as revenues grow from new residents and business growth.

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

I would work to mobilize the community to make schools safer. Such mobilization efforts would target community residents with and without school-aged children. It is essential to communicate to this critical group that they do have direct as well as indirect relationships to local schools. The more citizens are involved in schools, the more safe our schools will be. We should start a "Safe House" program that recruits responsible community residents. Children learn that homes posting "Safe House" signs are safe places to go if they are in danger or need assistance. Volunteers would need to be closely screened before they were accepted as participants.

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