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.
City: West Dundee
Office sought: West Dundee Village Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married (Nadia Wilbrandt), no children
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, 2006 Master of Arts in Communication, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, 2009 Juris Doctor, John Marshall Law School, 2012
Civic involvement: Dundee Township Peer Jury
Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
West Dundee should do everything it can to be more fiscally responsible. Developing a more accurate budget, one with realistic projections of revenues and expenditures for the Village, is at the foundation of becoming more fiscally responsible. Just because the budget isbalanced? does not mean that the Village is operating efficiently. The Village should be under budget. West Dundee must err on the conservative side when making projections in the budget so that the Village can build revenue. We know that our Village is not generating as much sales tax revenues as it once was. This has become a reality and must be reflected in accurate budget revenue projections. Just as the residents of West Dundee must make responsible budgets and decisions with their finances, so must the Village of West Dundee, and not spend beyond its means. The Village of West Dundee must be more fiscally responsible in all aspects of its operations and be very conservative and mindful of the continued economic challenges ahead.
Key Issue 2
West Dundee should continue to pay down outstanding debt (bonds and notes). West Dundee has the long standing goal of maintaining a reserve fund for economic hard times. This goal should be continued and reached. Once our reserve is satisfied, the Village should pay down as much of the outstanding debt as possible. Currently, West Dundee is in debt more than $2,000 for every man, woman, and child resident. This must be reduced. Even though the Village has made some progress in paying down the debt recently, this goal should be of the highest priority each year before the Village can take on major projects again.
Key Issue 3
West Dundee should begin to decrease the financial burden on its residents. With a more accurate and tighter budget, West Dundee can pass the savings on to its residents and taxpayers. Currently, there is a Utility Tax on certain utility bills for West Dundee residents. While this monthly charge may seem small, over time, this tax can add up. It should be a goal of the Village to eliminate the Utility Tax and not simply pass the cost of operating in excess on to its residents. Additionally, the Village should have a goal of decreasing the property tax levy. Over the last ten years, the property tax levy has more than tripled. The Village has used this tax levy as a crutch to make up for budgetary shortfalls or increased Village spending. Thiscatchall? levy must be reduced as the Village has become too dependent on this revenue while property values have plummeted.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
I have lived in West Dundee my entire life. I truly love and care about this community and would be honored to serve as West Dundee Village Trustee. I bring to the office not only my strong desire to do what is best for the Village, but my education and experience in communication and local government law. I possess a Bachelor's Degree in Speech Communication, a Master's Degree in Communication (Organizational and Leadership), and a law degree. With that education, I have become very comfortable confronting tough problems in order to reach a beneficial result in the end. Communication is critical to understanding how to help the Village and its residents. I understand that it is not the Trustee that votes his or her will, but the Trustee serves as a representative of his or her constituents within the Village. Additionally, I worked for six summers on the West Dundee Public Works Street and Underground crew. During this time, I was able to get a street-wise view and understanding of Village operations. I feel that I am the best candidate for the office of West Dundee Village Trustee due to my longstanding residency, experience, and skillset.
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.
West Dundee should maintain its current level of sales tax at 8.5%. Lowering sales tax does not necessarily mean businesses will benefit by making more sales. However, maintaining this current level of sales tax allows us to remain competitive with neighboring towns and villages while not further shrinking the Village's fleeting sales tax revenues. Likewise, the loss of such revenues does not warrant raising the current level of sales tax and putting the financial burden for the Village's operating costs on the residents of West Dundee, as many residents shop locally. It should be a goal of the Village to generate more sales tax revenue, not by raising the rate, but by being more business friendly and aggressive in terms of business development.
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.
In talking with friends and neighbors, the biggest threat to public safety within the Village of West Dundee has to do with not being able to fund our greatest public safety assets: the police, fire, and public works departments. With a more accurate and conservative budget, the Village can devote more of its actual revenues to public safety by cutting waste and unnecessary expenditures. While the Village will not be able to afford new cars, trucks, and equipment right away, the Village should maintain its current equipment, with the overall goal of updating the equipment that continues to make West Dundee safe.
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?
West Dundee must tighten the purse strings and continue to provide its residents with great service, but do so with overall less revenue. Total expenditures during the last fiscal year within the General Fund in West Dundee were approximately $108,000 over budget. This includes everything from printing costs to gasoline or contractual services to office furniture. This is just one example where more is being spent than what the Village budget has allotted for it. This must end. Within the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, money spent is not specifically itemized by every purchase, so it is difficult to seered flags? pointing to unnecessary spending. Spending here and there has added up to result in overspending. Cutting spending wherever and whenever should be a priority within these categories of the budget. For example, overspending on categories listed asother? in the budget must end. It should be a Village wide goal to not only stay on budget, but spend under budget. If elected, I will remember that Village money belongs to the residents and spending should not be taken lightly. However, more money should be spent on paying down the Village debts, eliminating the utility tax, reducing the property tax levy, and reinvesting in our police, fire, and public works departments.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
West Dundee has a beautiful Riverwalk on the north side of town. Throughout the year, many residents and visitors walk along our riverfront, and this Riverwalk has been a great success for West Dundee. The Riverwalk should be expanded to the south side of Route 72 along the Fox River. Connecting the north and south sides by a continuation of the Riverwalk would provide safe walking travel to opposite sides of our busy Main Street. While I hope this becomes a reality in the future, I understand that this can only come with the Village's adherence to a tightened budget over time. Hopefully soon, the Village will be able to expand one of West Dundee's greatest features and revitalize our downtown.