Gabriel Kaven: 2023 candidate for Geneva City Council, 4th Ward


Town: Geneva

Age on Election Day: 46

Occupation: Operations manager

Employer: Global Security and Communications Company

Previous offices held: Geneva 4th Ward Alderman since 2019; Pepper Valley Board of Governors, Treasurer


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: Aging infrastructure and facilities will continue to be a topic of discussion. Planning ahead to keep up with maintenance and long term planning needs to be a priority. Working within our budget to accomplish these goals is key for the residents that we represent.

Facilities need to continue to be assessed, and multiple options should be considered. Having options will give residents choices for what happens in the future.

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

A: Good. The council has done a good job of being fiscally responsible and working within the framework of our budget. Obviously the past 4 years has been challenging for everyone, and the city's finances are no different.

When COVID hit, and there was a lot of uncertainty about revenue that was expected to be received. The council and staff had to adjust many items to make sure that the community's finances remained in check, and we did.

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

A: Infrastructure, the southeast industrial development, and community development. Items like the project to replace lead water lines have been given a deadline by the state, obviously have to be completed.

The southeast industrial development will generate jobs and increased revenue for the city and utilities. Community development, be it additional amenities for residents or visitors, to continue to help local businesses thrive as well as revenue generated for the city and residents.

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

A: The city is responsible for providing services that residents expect. That being said, continuing to be fiscally responsible while providing those services is critical. Serving on the council requires you to me mindful of spending in all of the decisions that are made.

Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you 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: The water line replacement is a priority as the state has given municipalities a deadline. This gets paid for out of the water and sewer fund. All projects are continually evaluated for what is a want or a need.

Even when it comes to items that are needed, prioritizing those items is always challenging. You do the best you can to accomplish as much for the community as possible with the resources that are available.

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: I have served the past 4 years on the city council and prior to that I was on the Pepper Valley board of governors for seven years. My style is simple, be reasonable, levelheaded, listen to others, and act in the best interest of the people I represent. This is an effective way to work with the community, other council members, and staff.

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

A: My education, experience, involvement in the community and willingness to listen makes me the best candidate. I have served the community for the past four years through some unprecedented challenges. If given the opportunity, I would do it all again.

Professionally I have worked in a leadership role for over 10 years, managing people, budgets, projects, etc. My family has owned a small business in Geneva for 15 years, and we are heavily invested personally and professionally in this community.

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

A: The future development of our Randall Road corridor is something that needs to be considered. As the use on online retailers continues to expand, we need to be prepared, should the day come for future uses. Perhaps entertainment, expanded dining, or housing could be options for the future. It is estimated that as many as 25,000 cars pass though this area daily. We need to consider what future options could look like should that day arrive.

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