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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 have two parents Brett and Brandy and one brother Dalton. I also have three grandparents. My grandmother and grandfather, Carl & Phyllis Olsen and my other grandmother Sharon.
Occupation: I work in retail for Jos. A. Bank in South Barrington selling menswear. I also day trade stocks.
Education: I hold a high school diploma from Larkin High School. I am also working towards earning a Series 7 and 65 certification to work towards my career in wealth management.
Civic involvement: None
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I was arrested for an altercation in high school during the 2009-2010 school year. However those charges were dropped by the Kane County District Attorney before any action in court.
Key Issue 1
The main issue of this campaign is to bring awareness to the City of Elgin's involvement in ICLEI (Local governments for sustainability). Our membership in ICLEI is the direct cause of new taxes, city hall pushing green initiatives and the loss of some business owners? property rights. I have a couple pages on my website with the facts and figures to prove this. The sustainability plan which ICLEI supplied the framework for, talks about Elgin implementing hydroelectric dams, storm water utilities, bike path expansions, a green school, a green retrofitted historic home, contracting with a solar leasing company and much more. To pay for these initiatives the city must find new sources of revenue. They will do this in new taxes!
Key Issue 2
Another issue I know that Elginites feel strongly about is how city hall has levied our property taxes to implement new taxes and fees that ultimately led to us having a 7 million dollar surplus. These new taxes advocate a spending agenda, which is brought on by our membership in ICLEI. There is only one fiscally responsible option Elgin has. We must work to repeal our electricity use tax and garbage and refuse fees. We return to our reliance on property taxes and drop revenue diversification into the taxpayers? pockets. Finally we must drop our membership in ICLEI and the sustainability plan. This road will fix the strain city hall has placed on the taxpayers and return city hall to being fiscally responsible.
Key Issue 3
Finally another large issue that has been contained but should continue to be addressed is our city and crime. When I was going through the school system in Elgin I saw first hand how crime and gangs affected Elgin and my peers. I saw some of my peers arrested and some killed in direct correlation to gang violence. This current council has done a magnificent job at keeping our police well equipped to defend our citizens. I believe that after the tragedy in Newton, CT our city should look at reestablishing the D.A.R.E program in our elementary schools to continue educate children on drugs and gangs. It would also allow us to have an armed response if necessary. Our crime rates may on a decline but it is necessary to continue combating crime to stop it from going on the rise.
Should the city continue its opposition to allowing video gambling outside the grand Victoria?
The City of Elgin should not continue an opposition to video gambling. I am not much of a gambler but you have to look at all the other towns and cities around us that have allowed such an ordinance. Allowing video gaming has allowed freedom and fewer restrictions on businesses and business owners. The jackpots for these machines will be much lower than the Grand Victoria so they can allow "casual" gambling. The Grand Victoria Casino is a great place that has a great atmosphere and I don't believe that allowing video gambling outside the casino would make a huge impact in its profit. I actually speculate that our city could raise more money from taxing the machines outside the boat. That revenue combined with the riverboat revenue could in turn help us strive to take the large financial burden that the city has placed on its tax payers off their backs.
What is your position on the city's plans to to implement a stormwater utility fee in 2014?
The city should not implement a storm water utility tax on the people of Elgin. This tax furthers the agenda of city hall that ICLEI has helped them develop. When I was walking the neighborhoods I heard so much dissension about the reckless disregard for the taxpayer coming from Dexter court. If this tax were to be implemented the city would, like most communities, make people who own rain barrels exempt. This would be an attempt to make us conform to their environmental initiatives by forcing rain barrels down the throats of the taxpayers or making us pay-up.
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?
I do not support the current funding of the Eastside Recreation Center. If we consolidated the operations of the Eastside Recreation Center and The Centre we could start to alleviate the financial situations both have put on our city. I believe that the current funding level for our parks and recreation are too high. In a time when our city employees were under a period of austerity and we made cuts to our public employees, our parks department remained fully funded. Our city has two rec. centers that are not turning a profit. I would say the only option we should have to alleviate stress on our taxpayers is closing the older gym and merging operations with the newest one.
What is your view on the city's recent property tax levying history and imposition of other charges, such as the refuse fee?
For the past four years our city annually has lowered its dependence on property tax. The word that city hall has used is revenue diversification. This is the idea that our city shouldn't rely on only one source of revenue. With a loss of revenue the only option city hall had was to implement new taxes. But they didn't stop there. The City of Elgin implemented enough new taxes, not only to make up the lost revenue, but to gain a substantial surplus which they can use to fund the sustainability plan that ICLEI helped us write. The sustainability plan includes projects that require high amounts of funding. If we returned to how Elgin was before revenue diversification, ended our membership in ICLEI, threw away our high cost sustainability plan and worked to repeal our new taxes we could travel down a road of fiscal responsibility to our tax payers who we are elected to represent.
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?
I think the ESO provides a great service to this community and carries a brand that brings people in from outside Elgin. But the financial situation inside the ESO has been troublesome recently. They have not been able to pay the money back to the city, which was loaned to them to pay for rent at the Hemmens. The symphony also said that they received a one-time gift of 600K and each of their board members also donated significantly. I believe that it wouldn't be hard to find other private donors to match what they want from the city. It is a tough scenario but I believe that we should fund them if they can repay debts owed and fix their financial situation. However I should stress that no taxpayer subsidies should ever be used to fund the ESO.