Marie J. Hasse: 2021 candidate for Lisle Village Board
Occupation: Accounting/customer service representative
Civic involvement: Current Lisle trustee; four-year member and Treasurer of the Lisle Woman's Club, participating in annual Garden Gait which raises scholarship money; worked on several committees that donated Thanksgiving meals and Christmas gifts for the families that utilize the Lisle Township Food Pantry, donated scarves for Operation Stand Down for homeless Veterans and put together Mother's Day gift bags to give to women at the Lisle Township Food Pantry; past volunteer at St. Joan of Arc School and Benet Academy; Girl Scout Troop leader for many years.
Party slate: Independent
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 felt my role during the pandemic was to keep our residents informed with facts of what was going on around us with school closings, shutdowns, etc. Back in March, the news was changing daily and everyone was very nervous about what was happening in the world and how that would affect our small village. I felt that sharing information as it was being released to us from Springfield was important.
Being a leader means setting an example, even if not everyone agrees with you. I encouraged people to wear masks and social distance whenever possible. I did my best to support our small businesses during this time of crisis, by sharing their social media posts encouraging people to shop local. Many local residents reached out to me during this time, with questions and concerns and I did my best to listen to them and assist if I could.
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: Lisle did a great job of serving its constituents during this time. Initially staff worked remotely and gradually returned to village hall with safety measures put in place (hand sanitizer, masks, plexiglass in areas when necessary). Our police department were trained on how to specially handle possible COVID cases and adapted very well to this. Public works also continued all services during this time, with branch pickup, tree trimming and other necessary services. All in all, I felt it was handled very well.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: We have worked very hard in the past few years and have been able to freeze the property tax levy for our residents, which results in some savings for them. It's extremely difficult to cut village services as most of them are necessary for everything to run smoothly. There were a few capital projects that were able to be pushed back a year or two, which helped saved some funds. We are carefully reviewing next year's budget at this time and analyzing all capital projects to be sure they are timely, especially with the pandemic still affecting so many people.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? What infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A: One of the most important infrastructure projects in the village is our annual street rehabilitation program. The other top project would be stormwater improvements. We have several grants that will assist with the street rehabilitation projects in addition to motor fuel tax revenue. Similarly, the stormwater fund has a balance that we are utilizing in addition to a grant program that we are participating in. These will help offset the burden to the taxpayers. The one project that should be put off is the Public Works Fuel Island project. This one needs to be analyzed a bit more to determine the feasibility especially with the more affordable fuel alternative vehicles that are being sold now.
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: When marijuana was legalized in 2019, we held several meetings to listen to the public and learn more about the legalization process. At that time, we decided to not allow sales in our village as we wanted to take a wait-and-see approach to it. We were curious as to how other towns were handling the zoning and cash sales. The board was open to having an advisory referendum at a future date to allow all residents voices to be heard.
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: I would say that one of the things we can do is make it easier for staff to work remotely. We need to have software in place that will enable business to continue even if people are not physically present. Technology has definitely been our friend this year as we have all learned to have Zoom meetings and carry on with the business of the village remotely.