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updated: 4/3/2013 6:44 PM

Zachary Ploppert: Candidate Profile

Geneva City Council Ward 1 (4-year Term)

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  • Zachary Ploppert

    Zachary Ploppert




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



City: Geneva


Office sought: Geneva City Council Ward 1 (4-year Term)

Age: 22

Family: Candidate did not respond.

Occupation: Customer Service Manager at Geneva Ace Hardware; part-time third-grade teacher in Batavia

Education: Graduate: Geneva High School; Bachelor in Elementary Education: Northern Illinois University

Civic involvement: Strategic Planning Advisory Commission - 4 years

Board Member - Geneva Community Chest - 2 years

Volunteer - Geneva History Center - 5 years

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

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

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

No new taxes or fees.

This is not the solution to our problems. Increased electric or water fees, increases to the city's portion of the property tax or any other increase in taxes or fees is not going to fix what ails Geneva; and we have to quit putting the additional burden on the residents.

Key Issue 2

Increased sales tax dollars.

This is the solution to some of our problems. Filling our vacant store spaces with sales tax producing businesses will generate the money needed so Geneva doesn't need to generate more money on the backs of the taxpayer. Besides the 1 percent sales tax that goes directly into Geneva's general fund, we need to keep in mind 68% of every dollar spent in Geneva, stays in Geneva. We need to put more emphasis on the Economic Development Department of the city.

Key Issue 3

Better define historic preservation.

Commercial properties in the business district and the residential home of a Geneva taxpayer should not be treated the same way. The historic preservation guidelines for the commercial buildings in the downtown area should be defended vigorously but carrying those same guidelines into the residential neighborhood is putting an economic burden on the property owner and in some cases trampling on the personal property rights of the resident. While we definitely need to enforce and maybe even strengthen the guidelines for the commercial buildings in the downtown, we need a better defined and less intrusive set of guidelines for the residents. To put it bluntly historic preservation has trampled on the personal property rights of the property owner; and in at least one case, it resulted in a lawsuit which the city was forced to defend and eventually lose. I vigorously support Geneva's Historic Preservation Commission in just about all issues concerning commercial properties, but historic preservation should not trump the personal property rights of a Geneva resident.

Questions & Answers

Does the city spend an appropriate amount of time and money related to its downtown? What is your opinion on allowing non-sales-tax-producing businesses on the first floor at State and Third streets?

No they don't. The economic development department has to become more focused on bringing in sales tax producing businesses to the city. I believe the city is going in the right direction with the zoning changes that will restrict non-sales-tax-producing businesses from opening on Third Street or State Street. Sales-tax-producing businesses contribute to the city's coffers with every sale. This is where the new revenue that the city needs should come from not from the residents in the form of new taxes or fees.

Does the city do a good job balancing the requirements of the Historic District with that of property owners? What changes, if any, would you make?

Yes and no. I believe the city does an excellent job when it comes to the commercial property owners in the historic district. Geneva has set itself above other towns by putting a great emphasis on historic preservation, and I think that has paid off with the popularity of our Third Street and State Street shopping districts. But when it comes to the residential properties in the historic district, I believe it is punitive to use the same standards for them as you do for a commercial building. I believe personal property rights have to take precedent. That is not to say that we shouldn't have rules and guidelines for the residents of the First Ward. I just believe the standards have to be different for the commercial district and the residential district.

Do you think Geneva City Hall needs more room? Is expanding in to the Geneva Library building next door the best option, or are there others?

Considering the majority of Geneva citizens enjoy having their City Hall in the downtown area and the fact that the current City Hall is busting at the seams, I think the "downtown shuffle" with the library moving and City Hall moving to the larger library site makes sense. Hopefully this will create an opportunity for the existing City Hall to become a cultural arts center. People forget that it was originally a playhouse.

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

If there was the one new big idea out there that was going to be the solution to all of our problems, when you consider the level of talent there is in Geneva, we would have found it by now. The truth is it's the constant working on the little things that will improve the city. Reining in expenses, increasing the sales tax base, better defining the zoning of the different neighborhoods in the community--these are things that will better Geneva, I think it would be foolish to sit back and wait for that one new idea to pop up. With that said, if there's anyone out there who believes they have an idea that would make Geneva a better place, I'm all ears and a phone call away.

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.

Talking to the residents of the First Ward, public safety is one issue that has never come up. It seems like the things that the first ward residents want to talk about are putting a stop to the increase of taxes and fees, reining in spending and to have a better dialog with the city regarding their property rights. Each ward is unique, and these seem to be the things that are on the minds of the First Ward residents.