Bobbie O'Reilly: 2021 candidate for Long Grove trustee
Four candidates are vying for three four-year seats on the Long Grove village board.
City: Long Grove
Employer: Weichert Realtors, McKee Real Estate (owner)
Civic Involvement: Buffalo Grove Trustee 8 years, Lake County Board 4 years, Lake County Forest Preserve 4 years, Long Grove Trustee 4 years, Long Grove Historical Society President, Lions of Long Grove, Long Grove committee to update Comprehensive Plan, other committees
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: My role in pandemic was to listen and learn what businesses and residents needed. I took leadership in establishing a complete list of businesses in Long Grove so that staff and then EDC could communicate directly with business owners and learn what they needed. This was then added to our Village website so that residents could easily contact them. The Village Board of Trustees also gave the President authority to make decisions quickly with confirmation from the Board at a later date. We also cut the cost of liquor licenses to help restaurants with their costs.
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 served our businesses and residents as best we could. One glitch we did have because staff was at home was a lack of quick response to inquiries. That is/will be corrected by more attention to the importance of answering the phone quickly. I would hope that we will use a call forwarding process in the future so that someone at home can answer the call.
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: Although I hope that we will never face a situation like a pandemic again, the only thing I would take away that we should have learned is the need to communicate quickly with residents and businesses. We do have some systems in place but I believe they should be improved in the future. Part of this improvement will be the addition of social media.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: The Village of Long Grove as a local government runs a very limited budget, especially because we do not levy a property tax. For our financial health, it is very important that we support the businesses we already have and encourage new tax paying businesses to come to Long Grove. This is the reason we recently added the new TIF District on Old 53 and Lake-Cook Road.
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: We are following through with our reconstruction of North Krueger Road. The remaining Long Grove roads have been following a repair program that is about 7 years old. Due to some good luck and good planning, we are ahead of the repair schedule and will possibly delay some projects this year. This will be decided in the coming months.
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: Long Grove decided not to permit marijuana sales in the community. I supported that decision. If new information comes forward, I am open to discussing.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: For planning purposes, I would like to have a study of the existing Village Hall to see if additions would be feasible. I would like to see an improvement in office space and perhaps even an improvement in the public meeting space. I would not like to see the Village Hall moved to another location because of its history and central location, but also because of the Historical Society's Archer School/Ruth Barn education program. This program brings hundreds of third graders from many school districts to learn about 1800s life but in addition, they learn where their local government does its work. By extension, the parents also know where the Village Hall is located.