Amanda Sperzel: Candidate profile
Name: Amanda Sperzel
Office sought: Alderman First (1st) Ward
Occupation: Vice President at a Fortune 500 financial institution
Education: Bachelor's of Science from Northern Illinois University 2014
Civic involvement: Pigeon Hill Neighborhood Association and Feed My Starving Children
Previous elected offices held: None
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? N/A
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
After knocking nearly, a thousand doors since the announcement of my candidacy, I learned that my neighbors' top concern was public safety. If elected, I will meet regularly with neighborhood groups and the police department to find new ways to make our community a safer place to raise a family. Residents on the north end of the ward have expressed the need for a stoplight at the intersection of Savannah Drive and Butterfield Road. Although the city does not have jurisdiction over the road, I will work with area legislators and the Illinois Department of Transportation to get a stoplight in place. Additionally, residents have shared concerns over high property tax rates. I will work with my colleagues on the city council to bring responsible development to our community in order to lower the property tax burden on homeowners and bring in new jobs.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
As Vice President of a financial institution, I will bring management and financial experience to the city council. Uniting people to get the job done is what I do best. I look forward to bringing a common-sense approach to city hall and will conduct myself in a fiscally responsible and bipartisan manner. Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your village board or city council. If elected, I intend to establish close working relationships with my colleagues. In my career when something goes wrong, I don't point fingers. I figure out the problem and work with others to solve it. I think we need more cooperation and fewer career politicians. However, I also believe the most important part of leadership is the ability to listen. When residents elect an Alderman, they expect that person to be an advocate for their concerns and a watchdog for the community. Whether it's a street light that's out, a complaint about crime, or a pot hole that needs to be filled, I will always strive to seek solutions to issues.
How would you describe the condition of your community's budget, and what are the most important specific actions the town should take to assure providing the level of services people want?
First and foremost, I believe we should hold the line on taxes wherever possible. I will work with the council and the mayor to create savings and efficiencies, so long as services are maintained. However, I also understand that investing in our infrastructure is vital to ensuring Aurora is an attractive place to live, work, and start a business. I will also work with our state legislators in Aurora to bring grants and other funds to our city to relieve pressure on our tax levy, and make sure enough funds are appropriated for city services.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
It's time to rethink our approach to future Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. City officials often sell Aurora short when negotiating economic development incentives. Aurora has plenty to offer businesses: A vast workforce, diversity, affordable housing, great location and good schools. This makes Aurora a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. TIF districts divert tax dollars from education and shift the property tax burden to homeowners. I will always be a proponent of examining all economic development tools at our disposal but would demand a better return on investment for taxpayers.