Arthur J. Lemke: 2023 candidate for St. Charles City Council Ward 2


Town: St. Charles

Age on Election Day: 75

Occupation: Government Internal Auditor

Employer: Illinois Tollway

Previous offices held: St. Charles City Council (1993 to 2005) and (2013 to 2021)


Q: What is the most serious issue your community will face in the coming years and how should the city council respond to it?

A: Proposals to redevelopment the former police station site will need careful consideration by the members of the next city council. Each of the potential developers will be making a significant investment in the community. The Council and any developer will need to recognize that developments such as the previous First Street Redevelopment will take several years to be completed.

Any development proposal needs to consider the impact on the surrounding community, which for example could include parking needs, traffic impacts on surrounding streets or intersections, impacts on the city well site with its treatment facilities, the need to maintain electric service through the facilities adjacent to the site, etc.

Q: How would you describe the state of your community's finances?

A: Our city budget has been well-managed for more than 20 years without any significant increases in the city portion of resident's property taxes.

Q: What should be the three top priorities for spending in your community during the next four years?

A: 1. Infrastructure (including water and wastewater) support for new development and redevelopment of the former Pheasant Run site. 2. Improvements in wastewater treatment to comply with government mandates. 3. Continued improvements to mitigate flooding in tributaries of the Seventh Avenue Creek. Additional improvements would be upstream from the recent improvements that included regrading of the creek and new bridges east of 7th Avenue.

Q: Are there areas of spending that need to be curtailed? If so, what are they?

A: During the last 10 or 20 years, the city has been prudent about identifying and curtailing unnecessary spending. The city is however approaching a point where additional debt will reduce the attractiveness (and the interest rate) of new bond issues. As a result, the city cannot justify replacing any of its city hall offices.

Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project the community must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what project(s) can be put on the back burner?

A: As I have indicated in a previous response, the top city spending priorities are related to infrastructure improvements. The cost of revisions in water and wastewater utilities are paid by the users of those utilities. Additional capacity improvements for the former Pheasant Run site will be recovered when new developments are completed and become utility users.

In recent years we have relocated our Police Station, replaced our oldest fire station with a redeveloped Century Station, and we have a new public works garage. Any projects like new or relocated city offices, cannot be justified in given the city finances and the economic environment.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage local government? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions with your city council.

A: In previous years, all of our city council members could participate in open discussions of various issues. My style has been to participate in "developing a consensus" before developing a motion or a vote. When there is insufficient discussion before a motion is developed, our Roberts Rules of Order should require a discussion after a motion has been seconded.

Revising the city comprehensive plan, or any developer's concept plan, requires more than one group setting such that council members consider the recommendations of the city planners, the plan commission and community input. In the end, for the most effective actions and decisions, I feel there must always be an opportunity for discussion before completing the vote on any complex issue.

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: As a candidate, I will bring a lifetime of career experience as a financial, operational and information technology auditor. More recently, have served as an auditor in a government setting since 2008. I am able to "hit the ground running" because I already have 20 years of experience as a member of St. Charles City Council.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

A: I would like to see what can be done to extend the existing bike and walking paths to the east or west from the former railroad bridge north of Main Street.

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