John M. Piwko: 2021 candidate for Huntley Village Board
Incumbent John M. Piwko is one of five candidates vying for three, 4-year seats on the Huntley Village Board in the April 6, 2021 election. The other candidates are incumbents Ronda S. Goldman and JR Westberg, and challengers Burt Natkins and Mary Holzkopf.
Piwko, first appointed to the board in 2007 for a two-year term, is running for his fifth term.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates several questions about issues facing the village.
Below are Piwko's responses.
In-person early voting begins March 10 only at the Kane County Clerk's Office, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Bldg. B, in Geneva and the Aurora satellite office, 5 E. Downer Place, Suite F. In-person early voting at locations throughout the county begins March 22. Learn more at www.kanecountyclerk.org/Elections.
For more election coverage, visit dailyherald.com.
5 candidates running for three, 4-year seats
Occupation: Quality assurance business consultant for a major health care company
Civic involvement: Current village trustee; president of the Citizen Corp Council; president of Huntley Meadows HOA; special events volunteer, member of Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association; and member of Huntley CERT
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A: The past year has been tough on all of us. The business sector was probably the hardest hit. As they to look to us as their leaders for guidance, we try to do the best we can within the law to support them in any way possible.
Q: Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: We were able to assist the local business by allowing and fast tracking requests for outdoor facilities, tents, etc. We also established outdoor eating on the Square and other public areas in the downtown area.
We also allowed consumption of alcoholic beverages in designated outdoor public spaces.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: The constant use of masks in the public space would be the best defense. Ensuring that the business establishments follow the proper precautions would help with any new outbreak.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: The board has held taxes steady over the last few years. Our budget is lean at this time. We have the least village workers per capita in comparison to the surrounding communities.
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 infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: The first project would be the widening and straightening of Kreutzer Road from east of Route 47 to Haligus Road. This road is desperately in need of an overhaul. Widening would allow for safer vehicular and pedestrian traffic as well.
We currently have a grant for part of the costs. In addition to the grant, we have been budgeting the balance for the past couple of years as this is a multiyear project.
The board has budgeted frugally for the last few years so I don't see any projects that we need to put on the back burner at this time.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: I'm a staunch opponent of sales in the village. First, it's not legal on a federal level. States should not be allowed to enact laws that are not approved at the federal level.
Secondly, sales in town would take away from the family atmosphere that we are trying to project.
If the federal government would legalize the sales of marijuana, I may reevaluate my stance.
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 the village attract a destination attraction like a museum or the like.