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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.
Office sought: Elgin City Council (4-year Terms)
Family: I am married to Reid Travis, and we have three children, Zoe, Bopha and Sam.
Occupation: I am currently employed by School District U-46 as an Occupational Therapist. I am a part-time adjunct professor at McHenry County College. I have many years of experience in business and marketing in New York City and New Jersey.
Education: I went to the University of Illinois and received a Bachelor's in Occupational Therapy. I later received an Master's Degree in Business from the American Graduate School of International Management (commonly referred to as "Thunderbird") in Glendale, AZ.
Civic involvement: I have been involved at some level in every community where I have lived. While in Chelsea, MI, I was elected to the Village Council and served on the planning comission. I am currently an Elgin Township Trustee. I initiated the Elgin Community Science Expo with the Gail Borden library and U-46. I am acting president of the newly incoporated Elgin Food Cooperative.
Elected offices held: Village Council, Chelsea, Michigan Elgin Township Trustee, Elgin, Illinois
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Keeping Elgin a safe, healthy and affordable city to raise families in by focusing Elgin staff and all taxing bodies on executing their core functions well and in a cost effective manner.
Key Issue 2
Maintain and expand Elgin's commercial tax base. Elgin needs to take care of and retain our current businesses first while working to attract new businesses to our down town and outlying areas. We need a local, regional and international approach to long term economic development planning. We need to promote the reality that Elgin is a great place to live, work and play with good schools that provide an educated workforce.
Key Issue 3
The vibrancy of Elgin and property values will continue to stagnate without a school system that supports new residents and businesses. The city, along with the public school district, needs to be proactive in solving this problem; both in terms of "perception" as well as reality of educating a workforce for the future.
Should the city continue its opposition to allowing video gambling outside the grand Victoria?
I am not a fan of expanding gambling. In many ways, gambling has been a false savior to many communities in Illinois and the state itself. Unfortunately, research has noted that "convenience gambling" which uses video gaming devices is the most 'damaging and addictive.' What local businesses may see is that a client's entertainment budget may be diverted to 'gambling' and not toward increased purchases of food, beverage and bowling. It appears that the Elgin City Council has made their decision about convenience gambling already.
What is your position on the city's plans to to implement a stormwater utility fee in 2014?
Elgin is lucky to have a Mayor who understands the need to repair, replace and renew our water and sewer infrastructure. Past city councils may have put off focus on this infrastructure investment. My hope is the study, that is being financed by the city, will give a complete explanation of precisely how the proposed 'storm water utility fee' will impact home owners and businesses. If the new storm water utility fee provides a fair and dependable revenue source and its creation is accompanied by other tax reductions, it may be in Elgin best interest.
Do you support the city funding the $900,000 overhaul of the Eastside Recreation Center? What do you think of closing Eastside and consolidating operations with The Centre of Elgin?
Before I could make a judgement on closing and/or overhauling the Eastside Recreation Center, I would need to look at the the individuals and community organizations that utilize the center, what are benefits of keeping it open in contrast with closing it, and how we might increase utilization first.
What is your view on the city's recent property tax levying history and imposition of other charges, such as the refuse fee?
I believe a balance of revenue sources can avoid burdening one segment of the population such as property owners. Of course,no tax or fee is popular but I support the idea of moving toward fees that are based on usage, so that everyone is sharing the burden at the amount they impact the cost. In terms of Elgin, if new fees are imposed to pay for a particular cost item, then the property taxes should decrease in comparison. We should try to hold the line on spending.
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra wants the city to resume its yearly disbursement of Riverboat funds to the ESO. Do you support this? Why or why not?
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra is a valuable asset for our city and our citizens and the city has an interest in the ESO surviving and thriving. We should be supporting the the ESO through its crisis and looking for ways to help it be self-supporting. I support the suggestion that someone from the City staff or council be on the board. The city needs to do a better job with the Hemmen's programming as a way of supporting our arts.