Nine candidates are vying for a 2-year seat on the Elgin City Council, and will square off in a primary election Tuesday.
Two of them will move onto the April election, in which 13 other candidates are running for four, 4-year seats.
Contact information ( * required )
During a recent Daily Herald endorsement interview, the candidates running for the 2-year seat shared their views on taxes and fees in the city.
Here is a look at their positions:
• Thomas L. McCarthy, 53, owns a transportation service in Elgin. McCarthy says that new taxes, such as on alcohol, and fee increases offset property tax decrease implemented by the city council. Also, the city has spent money unnecessarily, such as for the overhaul of the Eastside Recreation Center. "These people are spending money left and right, and they don't care," he said. Instead of focusing on its wants, the city should focus on its needs, he said.
• Jason Dusenberry, 36, is the general manager of the Elgin Hampton Inn. "I'm not a fan of revenue diversification," he said. If people can't afford to pay more, it doesn't matter if they are charged taxes or fees, he said. Elgin is not being as fiscally responsible as it should be, and needs to take a serious look at its "spend mentality," he said.
• Chindavanh Keomuongchanh, 50, owns an insurance agency in Elgin. He objects to the business license fee, and believes that Elgin is overtaxing residents, especially those who live on fixed incomes. The city must promote itself and bring back businesses to Elgin, especially the blue-collar jobs that abounded in decades past, he said.
• Michael K. DeBrocke, 56, holds several jobs, including technical sales contract trainer and teacher's assistant. DeBrocke says Elgin has to think about all its residents, from people entering the workforce to retirees, when making financial decisions. "We have to look exactly where we're sending our money" he said. "I'd like to know why we have a supposed excess of funding."
• Daniel W. Schultz, 21, is a lifeguard and independent business owner. "I feel that citizens are being overtaxed and business, too, to some extent," he said. Some fees, like the leaf collection fee, make sense, he said. Schultz said he thinks Elgin should use its end-of-year budget surplus to pay for some of its expenses and take the burden off residents.
• Craig Dresang, 50, is a vice president of marketing for a hospice care program. "It's a misnomer that property taxes are high," Dresang said. He approves of having a budget surplus and diversifying revenues, which ensures Elgin doesn't over-rely on property taxes, he said. He also says the city should invest in more than just basic services. "If all I want is a police and fire department, we will move to Gary Indiana,"he said.
• Roy W. Chapman III, 72, is an IT manager. "I think there's overspending going on in Elgin," he said. Examples of unnecessary expenses are money contributions to dog park in Hoffman Estates and to the Elgin Artspace Lofts project, he said. He also said the city shouldn't lose its focus on developing the west side.
• Toby Shaw, 34, is an IT database manager. "Revenue diversification is a very coined term to set Elgin on a very slippery slope," he said. Residents can deduct property taxes -- but not fees -- from their federal income tax return, he said. Elgin's fiscal climate makes it so that businesses can't grow or are being pushed out of the city, he said.
• Larry Wegman, 70, is retired. Wegman said he supports moving away from property taxes, which inequitably affects homeowners, in favor of diversifying revenues with methods like the refuse and leaf collection fees. "You have to break a couple of eggs to make an omelette," he said. However, he doesn't approve of taxes that don't directly pay for services, such as the electricity tax.