Sherry Perkowitz: 2021 candidate for Round Lake Beach trustee
6 candidates running for 3, 4-year seats
Town: Round Lake Beach
Occupation: Special education high school teacher, Waukegan School District 60
Civic involvement: Lake County Medical Reserve Corp; Grayslake Lions Club; DCFS foster parent; puppy counselor/raiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind; foster for Animal House Shelter in Huntley
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: I believe that the village should be strictly following state and federal guidelines regarding reopening (including schools), social distancing, and the wearing of masks. I think the first case of the South African COVID-19 variant in Illinois shows good reason to maintain what some believe are draconian policies when it comes to local businesses.
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: In my opinion, this community has a poor history in their level of communication with residents prior to COVID. After the pandemic, the situation has become not just annoying but truly problematic. I have spoken with several residents and had issues myself where we were told "Oh you can't come into the building to talk about this" or "He won't be able to come to your property to see the problem." No other solutions were offered and no assistance was given. I'm sure more persistent residents continued to seek help, but I'm also positive many simply gave up. I would have liked to have seen the village provide Wi-Fi hot spots for local students unable to connect from home for remote learning similar to what the Round Lake Library did. I also felt that they should have offered up the use of the Civic Center as a pop-up pantry. It's location and building design would have been perfect for low-contact distribution.
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: A detailed village plan that utilizes information and resources from the Lake County Health Department, the Medical Reserve Corp. and the state. This plan should include a local chain of command, details about village resources and a list of available local property that could be used in an emergency.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Before simply creating a list of "cuts" I would want to see detailed information about grants, incoming state money, and any potential new sources of revenue the board is considering. I would also want to hear recommendations from department heads about possible redirection of funding within their budgets. Any type of cut should be done with a scalpel not an ax.
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 agree with the decision the board took last year. While Round Lake Beach is now among over 45 communities permitting the sale of marijuana in the suburbs, the next step should be the recruitment of a dispensary for medical and recreational cannabis. Currently, a resident would have to travel a half-hour to the nearest one. We should also consider our proximity to the Wisconsin border to attract out of state residents. The village could see 3% tax revenue from this.
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 Civic Center better utilized as a community resource. The board should be reaching out to the schools, nonprofits, service groups, etc. to see if the property could be used to help meet their needs. I would like to see a village dog park created on some of the land we are holding for future development.
Q: What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A: I believe that the current board of trustees for the village is not responsive to the needs of the residents. All too often, people in this town face unnecessary barriers to their requests for information, assistance or even explanations for the actions of the village. Citizens deserve to be represented by a board who realizes that the village continues west of Cedar Lake Road. They should be able to have their voices heard and responded to, and not feel like there is a gatekeeper preventing them from accessing village administration or staff.
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: One of the first things I would like to address is stormwater management and retention issues on the west side of town. We should be working with our state officials to identify available sources of revenue and pursuing them aggressively. I would put the Hook Drive expansion project on hold depending on it's funding source.