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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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Office sought: Batavia City Council Ward 6 (4-year Term)
Family: Married, two sons, Robert and Louis
Occupation: Business Development, Logistics Software
Education: Bachelor of Science Operations Managment, Northern Illinois University, 1979
Civic involvement: Batavia Pinners Wrestling Club, Coach 2000 - 2003 Fundraising Chairman 2002 - 2005
Elected offices held: Batavia City Council 2005 - current City Services Committee, Vice Chariman 2011 - current Tri City Ambulance Board 2011 - current
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
The economics of providing residents the level of services they have become accustomed to will remain challenging due to the economy and the financial condition of the State of Illinois and the Federal Government. While the City's portion of the real estate taxes paid by the residents is a mere sliver in the pie of all the taxing bodies (averaging less than 7% of a residents tax liability during the last 8 years), I believe that through more intergovernmental relationships with other taxing bodies as well as neighboring cities there is an opportunity to aggregate services, thus reducing redundant resources and the associated costs, leaving the tax payer with less of an overall tax bill.
Key Issue 2
The continuation of the streetscape project is paramount to the success of the redevelopment of the downtown district. With a limited amount of resources, funds need to be allocated where they will produce the greatest impact in the areas of enhanced walkability, pedestrian safety, and increased sales tax revenue opportunities. This needs to be studied closely. The project has proved successful in my estimation as the occupancy rate of River Street being around 60% prior to the project beginning, has reached 100% occupancy.
Key Issue 3
Environmentally we are blessed by having the Fox River as a central feature of our city. We need to embrace the river and capitalize on this unique feature of our community. I support greater integration of the river with the downtown and enhanced recreational use of the river. It is important to create better connectivity to the river for all residents as I encourage the City to enhance its bicycle route network to accommodate easier passage to the Fox River. The watershed of the Fox River needs better management. This is part and parcel to the need for a storm water management utility, providing a comprehensive approach to the maintenance of the many retention/detention areas as it relates to creating low costs and natural environments as well as minimizing the erosion caused by the creeks flowing to the Fox River. I see this measure as a city wide project and one that needs to be embraced by all
Does the city council spend the right amount ot time and attention on downtown issues? Explain.
I do believe that city council has spent the appopriate amount of time and attention to the downtown district of the city. Redevelipment of the downtown is the number one objective of this city council. The planning of the streetscape began with the downtown business owners as part of the focus group in the planning with the design team well over a year in advance of the first shovel being used on water street.
How should money collected in the city's tax increment financing districts be spent? Is it time to end the TIFs?
The TIF money should be spent on a case by case basis both in the TIF Districts and as it relates to creating site specific TIF funded projects. These TIF Funds should be spent where there is a measurable return to the community in terms of creating a higher quality of life and value to the constituents. They are not meant to nor shall they provide competitive advantage for one business over another. They should be spent to advance the comprehensive plan of the city. Using the funds to revitalize the downtown by investing in a property to allow it to serve the community in a desirable way which could not otherwise be achieved is what I look for in use of the TIF funds. Is it time to end the TIF's certainly not, the funds spent thus far in the active TIF districts in my estimation have served and will continue to serve the tax payers well. Successful examples of use of these funds include but are not limited to Water Street Studios, KS+A's repurposing of the old theatre, Pal Joeys, and the North River Street streetscape.
What is your view of the city's business incentive programs?
My view of the city's business incentive programs is that they have improved over the last several years, as they have expanded, now giving businesses more opportunities to receive support from the city. I think both the micro loans as well as the downtown improvement grant program are nice compliments to the previously available fa?ade improvement program. While the resources available to these programs are limited the awarding of these grants are carefully scrutinized. As testimony to the effectiveness, the city can proudly state that all recipients of the aforementioned grants are yet in business in Batavia!
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.
A safety concern that has been shared with me is that of Rotollo Middle Schools students safely walking to school from the adjacent neighborhoods. Upon learning if this concern, I brought this to the attention of city staff, including Engineering, Police and the Street Department with my recommendation as to how to increase safety in this area. At this time there is an analysis taking place jointly between the City and the School District and the results should provide minimally two additional pedestrian crossings and potentially a stop sign on Hart Road to be installed this spring when the weather permits.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Elimination of the Special Service Areas associated with maintaining storm water retention and detention areas. I propose this to be part of a comprehensive storm water management plan to be accomplished by the creation of a storm water management utility. I see the opportunity to eliminate the high maintenance costs associated with mowing of the grasses in the detention areas by replacing them with native plantings which require fewer resources to maintain. While this approach may cost slightly more in the short term, over the longer term the savings will be significant while also providing an increased benefit to the environment and the watershed of our Fox River.