Martin Callahan: Candidate Profile
Batavia City Council Ward 2 (4-year Term)
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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: Batavia City Council Ward 2 (4-year Term)
Family: Married, wife Mary Anne, three children: Caitlin (7) and twins Alex & Nick (4)
Occupation: Claim Representative, Multi Claim Investigative Unit, State Farm Insurance
Education: BA Sociology, Purdue University, 1994
Civic involvement: Board of Directors; National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators Immediate Past President; Illinois Chapter of the National Society of Professional Insurance Investigators Member; International Association of Auto Theft Investigators Member; International Association of Special Investigation Units
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Maintaining an affordable and vibrant community that utilizes the full talents and viewpoints of all our citizens.
Key Issue 2
Competitively attract new businesses and appreciate our established businesses in the downtown area,industrial parks and the Randall Road corridor.
Key Issue 3
Develop projects which most effectively and efficiently make use of the public's funds.
Does the city council spend the right amount ot time and attention on downtown issues? Explain.
Since at least 2004, the City survey has consistently shown that our community believes that an enhanced and revitalized downtown has been the most important issue. Our community strongly supports this issue but the residents I have spoken with emphasize they it should be done in a timely, efficient and financially responsible manner. Properly addressing this issue should incorporate the other issues highly important to the community such as improved traffic circulation, community involvement and attainable housing. While there have been several fantastic improvements to the downtown, I am excited that many wonderful opportunities are yet to be explored. We need to strongly encourage and support development that not only attract people downtown, but brings revenue and jobs. We must implement a plan that promotes a healthy, vibrant business community coupled with public projects that add value or we risk being left with really beautiful streets leading to empty storefronts.
How should money collected in the city's tax increment financing districts be spent? Is it time to end the TIFs?
TIF's are critically important to help successfully develop and invest in our community. It is imperative to use those funds wisely and responsibly. When you look to other healthy communities, they have smartly used TIF districts to create and maintain great long term projects that not only pay the TIF funds back, but also increase the Equalized Assessed Value (EAV) for their communities. One of our main challenges is that the process to develop in the TIF districts has been so time consuming and cumbersome that revenue opportunities are lost. Many times these opportunities are lost to neighboring communities. We need to strongly encourage projects and developments to use this vital tool to better our community.
What is your view of the city's business incentive programs?
Our city's incentive programs should be designed to stimulate business and best position a successful return on the public's investment. Properly allocated funds should be continuously evaluated and there should be accountability measures for success. Our Downtown Improvement Grant and Facade Improvement Grant programs will be reviewed soon and I look forward to improvements in the programs that positively impact our community.
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.
As a former law enforcement officer, I have devoted a significant portion of my life to this issue. We are fortunate to live in a city where violent crime is not a major concern for most of our residents. I appreciate and am mindful of the good work involved to maintaining such safe city. The concerns I have heard from my neighbors have also been voiced with practical solutions that I will work to resolve for them.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
My idea is a philosophical one. I want to cultivate a mindset where we look at our Comprehensive Plan and say "How can we do this" with an exclamation point and not a question mark. A mindset where we do not compare ourselves to other cities but envision our city as the standard for others to emulate. A mindset where we challenge our innovators to voice their ideas and champion the visionaries to implement them. A mindset that values responsible, decisive action. A mindset which appreciates that during challenging economic times, history often shows that people have produced their most creative solutions.
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