Wayne D. Domke: 2021 candidate for Roselle mayor
With first-term Mayor Andy Maglio not seeking reelection, village trustees Wayne D. Domke and David Pileski and newcomer Pete Pellegrino are running in the April 6 election to succeed him in leading Roselle.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates several questions about issues facing the village.
Below are Domke's responses.
In-person early voting with paper ballots begins Feb. 25 at DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 5, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. In-person early voting with touch-screen voting begins March 22 at locations throughout the county. Learn more at www.dupageco.org/earlyvoting/.
Occupation: Retired from manufacturing, administration/management, Dynomax Inc.
Civic involvement: Roselle Village Board member (2011 to present); Roselle Park District commissioner (1999-2011); member of Roselle Lions Club, Roselle Garden Club, Roselle Sister Cities Board, Flags for Roselle, Roselle Chamber of Commerce, Roselle History Museum Board, St. Walter Catholic Church, Trinity Lutheran Adult Day Care Board, and Chicagoland Christian Sports Conference president
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: Health and safety are my top priorities. As a leader, I would support state and federal authorities and their guidelines but at the same time work with business and community leaders to devise solutions we can implement sooner.
For example, temporarily suspend liquor and businesses license fees, provide discounts on water & sewer fees and initiate a "community bucks" program to encourage local purchasing.
I also would like to loosen restrictions on outdoor dining when possible during the warmer months.
Special signage allowances for 2021 could be offered to help businesses advertise. Since I'm on the Chamber of Commerce, I think we can take a more active role in getting the word out on sales and special events.
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: Our town kept in touch with the merchants and businesses. We did a really professional job of helping with discounts on fees and licenses. Nobody's water was shut off. The chamber and village kept businesses informed of federal and state available funding for assistance on employees' wages or obtaining PPE. We, the board, have voted continuously to approve the Declaration of Emergency powers given to our mayor to make decisions related to the virus and the CDC guidelines. We also postponed noncritical purchases during 2020 and have delayed some in early 2021 so essential services to residents were maintained.
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: Make sure we learn how to get vaccines in a more orderly fashion. That might mean strong alliances with school districts and health agencies. In the future, we need to partner with the DuPage County Health Department to ensure that a stock of PPE is readily available for residents that need it. Nationally, if another pandemic comes along, we need to follow our scientists and doctors immediately.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: To help come out of this pandemic, I think we can postpone vehicle sticker fees, look at reducing water and sewer fees temporarily, and lower building permit fees. I'd like to work with the board to restructure our budget as well as seek grants and subsidies that might be available from the state or federal agencies.
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: In Roselle, it is the Metro 19 project and the water and sewer upgrades and parking garage that must be built to move this project forward. Part of the cost payments will come from the T.I.F. funds and the rest from the village. The water and sewer upgrading was required even without the Metro 19 project. The parking garage is essential to both the Metro 19 project and to the Metra commuter's lot. As a full-time mayor, I can oversee this project closely, especially the traffic issues brought up by the public.
Our normal streets refurbishment projects have been kept up by priority. As far as sewer and water, we are in the long-term project of repairing our aging infrastructure and water treatment plants. Part of this project is required by the Illinois EPA and all towns in our area have future standards for cleaner water on their agenda. In Roselle, we take great pride in our conformance to keeping our environment as clean as possible.
Deferring maintenance projects is a last resort as delaying repairs can end up costing more in the long run.
The good thing about my tenure on the village board is we've been so proactive at maintaining roads and upgrading aging water lines over the last five years that we are ahead of schedule. By being proactive, we are able to avoid significant reductions that would hurt projects that are essential to basic services like water, sewer, and roads.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board 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 board's stance on putting this question before the voters. I was on the side of caution and voted as a board member to postpone the licensing a year ago. April 6 will give us feedback on where the voters stand. As Mayor, I would be opposed to recreational marijuana sales in the community. I would rather recruit other businesses.
I am proud of the stride Roselle has hit with bringing new restaurant concepts to our downtown. I want to continue to look for creative ways to support our existing restaurants while continuing to do more of what we have been doing. We gathered a lot of input from residents when developing our comprehensive plan, and I'm committed to that plan, nurturing it and growing.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Purchase land by the village with the intent to attract a first-class neighborhood food store in Roselle.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I have the most experience both as an elected official in local government and as a volunteer within our community. I also have over 40 years of management experience, an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management, and am the only candidate running to be a full-time mayor, which will make me the most available and approachable to residents and business owners.