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updated: 2/22/2013 6:01 PM

Mitchell Esterino: Candidate Profile

Elgin City Council (4-year Terms)

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  • Mitchell Esterino, running for Elgin City Council (4-year Terms)

      Mitchell Esterino, running for Elgin City Council (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: Elgin

Website: Candidate did not respond.

Office sought: Elgin City Council (4-year Terms)

Age: 57

Family: Married (32 years), five children, two grandchildren

Occupation: Elgin Area Sales Manager for Source 1 Office Products

Education: Assoc. of Arts degree in Business Admin., St Gregory's College, Shawnee, Okla., 1976 Bachelor of Arts, Business Admin., Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas, 1979

Civic involvement: Elgin Lions Club; Board of Directors Boys and Girls Club of Elgin; Community Crisis Center; Elgin Chamber of Commerce; Elgin Hispanic Network; City of Elgin Block Captain; St. Laurence Catholic Church; Larkin High School Booster Club; Little League and travel league Coach(baseball and softball)

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

Sustain City Core Services

Key Issue 2

Financial Health and Fiscal Responsibility

Key Issue 3

Economic Growth and Development

Questions & Answers

Should the city continue its opposition to allowing video gambling outside the grand Victoria?

At the last council meeting, the Council changed its position on video gambling and will vote in favor of it soon. As a City Councilman, I will focus on small businesses and what is best for our community. The surrounding communities have opted in for video gambling so Elgin must follow suit to keep our businesses competitive.

What is your position on the city's plans to to implement a stormwater utility fee in 2014?

I am very interested in the findings of the consultant firm recently hired by the Council to study this issue. It is a very complex issue that requires a good deal of insight and study. The issue is part of a bigger question for me, which is "how will we maintain the city's aging infrastructure?" Our growth has ensured that we cannot afford all of the maintenance and upkeep simply from property taxes and general fund revenue. I am looking forward to the consultant's report, and I am open minded on how we will afford to maintain this core city service.

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?

The ERC is a terrific opportunity for Elgin's at-risk youth who cannot afford to belong to The Centre. It gives them an opportunity to work out, socialize and participate in sports in a safe environment. As a former board member for the Boys & Girls Club of Elgin, I was part of the effort to fundraise millions of dollars to build their new facility on Dundee Avenue. With this experience, I am supportive of the City entering into public-private partnerships to fund improvements to ERC. Using taxpayer dollars to overhaul this facility shouldn't be the first option. I also support partnerships and collaborations with Elgin's dynamic non-profit community to make this facility and program viable. I am not in favor of closing down any of the City's recreational facilities because these programs make Elgin a great place to live for families of all socio-economic backgrounds.

What is your view on the city's recent property tax levying history and imposition of other charges, such as the refuse fee?

The current plan is to have the citizens of Elgin pay for the services, they receive, kind of a "pay for what you use" plan. While no one likes to pay more taxes and fees, I like the fact that we receive excellent municipal services in Elgin. This goes back to my #1 campaign issue of maintaining core services. It is my goal as a City Councilman to make certain that citizens continue to receive the highest value for the money spent. This keeps our city viable. However, whenever issues pertaining to fees are in front of the council, I will be focused on the following questions: 1) How will this impact Elginites and can that impact be avoided? and 2) Can the fee structure be designed so that people can proactively do things to lessen their financial burden (e.g. more recycling results in lower refuse fees, using rain barrels lowers storm water fees, etc).

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 ESO is one of Elgin's greatest assets. It is a branded organization which when preforming, brings in many visitors from out of town. This leads to increased patronage for many local businesses which impacts our employment picture and economic development! I support the ESO, but I don't support using taxpayer dollars to prop up this non-profit organization. I could support using money from the Riverboat fund to support this agency, but only after they demonstrate that they've created a sustainable business plan that can survive without city support. I've seen other agencies make tough business decisions during this economic downtown, and I will hold ESO to that same standard before feeling comfortable with investing in their mission.

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