J.T. Del Alcazar: Candidate Profile
Wheaton City Council North District (4-year Term) (Republican)
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: Wheaton City Council North District (4-year Term)
Family: I am married to Jessica del Alcazar. I have 3 children named Madison (7), Evan (5) and Zane (2).
Education: Bachelor of Arts from Valparaiso University, 1993. Juris Doctor from DePaul University College of Law, 1996. Admitted to CA Bar, 1996 Admitted to IL Bar, 1997
Civic involvement: DuPage County Bar Association Illinois Shotokan Karate Club, Volunteer Instructor
Elected offices held: None
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: N/A
Key Issue 1
I would like to see economic growth and development, while maintaining the historic charm of Wheaton.
Key Issue 2
I believe in a balanced city budget partnered with smart spending.
Key Issue 3
Weather related issues. The flooding issues in Wheaton need to be addressed along with the numerous power outages we experience in Wheaton, especially in the North District.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I believe that my background and experiences will enable me to make better decisions on behalf of the city. Running a city is similar to running a business. Revenue, expenses, staffing, balanced budgets, etc.? all of it comes into play when running a business or a city. As an attorney, I have the legal background in reviewing and negotiating contracts. As a business owner I have the operations and finance experience that enable me to scrutinize budgets, make difficult staffing decision and ensure profitability. As a consultant, I have the real estate experience in zoning, planning and permitting. Being a good Christian, husband, and parent, provides me with the proper temperament, talent and conviction to make well rounded decisions. At the end of the day, a councilman needs to vote for the benefit of the city with their mind, their heart, and in the best interest of their constituents. Decisions need to be made that benefit the city not only for the short term, but also for the long term. Variances need to be strictly scrutinized. We need to be cognizant of not only the short term financial effects, but also the long term overall impact. The decisions we are making today are going to be with us for the next 100 to 150 years. As such, we must not abandon visions at the first sign of turbulence.
Given the delicate balance between the need for revenue and over-taxing local businesses, what is your opinion of your community's present level of local sales taxes? Is the tax just right, too low or too high? Explain.
Wheaton's current sales tax is 8.25%. I believe that this tax rate is too high. When compared to our nearby neighbors, we are on the high side: Naperville is 7.25. Winfield is 7.25. West Chicago is 7.75%; Carol Stream is 8% and Glen Ellyn is up there with us at 8.25%. I would like to see our sales taxes go down so we can draw in more shoppers and businesses to Wheaton. The taxes that are being imposed upon our citizens are getting out of hand. Earlier this year federal taxes went up. The payroll tax also takes away an extra 2% of our weekly take-home pay. Illinois' state income taxes were hiked up by 67%. Illinois' Corporate tax increased by 45%. By combining federal, state, county and local taxes, easily half our income goes to paying taxes. This is outrageous. Our continued level of increasing taxes needs to stop.
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.
The biggest safety concern in Wheaton today are the large amounts of thefts and break-ins. Week after week, there are numerous reports of cars being broken into along with shoplifting incidents. Thieves are getting more brazen as they seem to be less concerned with getting caught if there is a chance for a quick score. Just last week, a Wheaton resident caught 2 people trying to break into her home during the middle of the day. To help curb these incidents and the number of property thefts, we should increase community awareness via email notifications, along with the possibility of implementing a neighborhood/community watch program.
In these tight economic times, municipal budgets have to be prioritized. Where, if anywhere, could the current budget be trimmed, and conversely, are there areas the budget does not give enough money to?
Municipal budgets can always be trimmed, however, it is never an easy task. For every budget line item reduction, there is usually an unhappy department head on the receiving end. This is where we find ourselves today. Difficult times call for difficult decisions. My belief is that you cannot look at any one department and slash away. Budget reductions need to be done across the board and line by line. For the 2012/2013, the City of Wheaton Vehicle Purchase Budget INCREASED an additional 84.7% ($921K) for the purpose of purchasing new vehicles for various departments. The new total budget amount allocated is $2M and it encompasses the acquisition and purchase of 34 new vehicles for various departments. I would explore the possibility of a moratorium for a period of time on all new vehicle purchases, except for those involving public health or safety (such as the new ambulance and the fire department pumper). I am not advocating cutting all of these purchases, just vehicle purchases that are simply following an amortization timeframe or some type of pre-determined schedule. For example, of the $2M budgeted amount, $748K is allocated for five dump trucks. Are all five dump trucks in dire need of replacement? Does it have to happen this year? Instead, maybe we consider holding on to our vehicles for a few more years and utilize the revenue in other places. If required, bring on another mechanic to help get us through those years. Where would I reallocate these funds? Its simple. I would address flooding, streets, sidewalks and revitalizing our downtown business area. If the Main street is flooded to the South at Roosevelt, and to the North at Cole, why would anyone want to shop in our revitalized downtown area? Lets re-prioritize, re-allocate and spend wisely.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Resident Friendly Collection Services: We are known as "The City of Trees". We all know that trees can be high maintenance during certain times of the year. As such, we should help our residents (especially our senior citizens) with tree-related issues. This would entail curbside leaf collection each fall so bagging leaves would no longer be required. After major storms, we should have free tree-branch pickup service for ALL fallen limbs and tree branches, not just parkway limbs and branches. Lastly, a once a year free garbage collection day where residents can put out anything on the curb that they want (which is a similar service that our surrounding neighbors provide). These services should be negotiated into the Service Contract with the waste collector for no cost to the city or its residents. (Just this month the city re-signed the current waste collector without bidding out the contract. If we added some of these items into the RFP, we may have been able to get a few of these perks included for free.)