Round Lake Park hopefuls want to boost communication
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Focusing on village finances, attracting businesses and improving communications with residents are priorities for the two candidates running to replace Jean McCue, who is not seeking re-election as village president in Round Lake Park.
But there are some differences in how Trustee Linda Lucassen and former Trustee Kathleen Pender would go about those tasks. Both are longtime residents leading slates that include candidates for trustee seats on the board and for village clerk.
The following information was gathered from an interview with the candidates, as well as campaign literature and their answers to a Daily Herald questionnaire.
Lucassen is an administrative secretary at the College of Lake County who served as village clerk for 14 years before winning a trustee seat two years ago. She would remain on the village board if she is defeated.
Her top priorities are keeping police services intact, with an increase in drug and gang awareness programs, and the continued restoration and revitalization of the Route 134 downtown business district.
While the village has made strides with parking and sidewalk improvements and pending landscaping along its main drag, Lucassen said, it has been frustrating when plans don't move as quickly as hoped.
"We'd all like to have our downtown done, but grants take a long time," she said. The village should encourage business owners to again form a group to discuss potential improvements to the area, she added.
Pender, a part-time membership services specialist at a warehouse store, said at some point the village should consider hiring an economic development specialist, even on a part-time basis, "whose job it is to go out and find businesses."
Pender was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board and won election to a four-year seat in 2007 but resigned less than two years later. She said some of her ideas, such as home rule, were pushed aside and she didn't want to continue without being able to have an impact.
"I would like to see more accountability. I think it's important public officials understand they're using someone else's money," she said of her reason for running. "Believe me, if I'm mayor, everyone is going to be accountable. Compromise, I guess that would be the big word."
The village's budget status is another consideration for both slates as several treasurers have come and gone in recent years.
Lucassen said the village board has cut expenses and the budget process is open to the public. An audit is in progress, she added.
"The money is earmarked, our bills are paid, no late fees," she said.
Pender said the budget process is "kind of vague." Her "Back in Black" slate has made fiscal responsibility a priority saying transparency regarding revenues and expenditures is needed.
Both favor increased communication with residents.
Lucassen said the village website is in "desperate need" of an update. She advocates an open-door policy with elected officials and bringing back the village's summer festival.
Pender said trustees should initiate one-on-one communication with residents by hosting informal coffees or gatherings or even go door to door to get resident feedback.
Lucassen is part of the Voice of Tomorrow for Everyone slate that includes incumbent Trustee Robert Cerretti and newcomers Raeann McCarty-Robles and Donna Wagner, and Karen Eggert for clerk.
Pender's Back in Black lineup includes incumbent Trustee Robert Seminary, Jean Galford and former Trustee David Christensen, and Christine Lucheck for clerk.
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