Bruce R. Hanson: Candidate profile
Name: Bruce R. Hanson
Office sought: City Council
Family: Married with two children
Education: Master of Arts, New York University
Civic involvement: Secretary, Planning and Zoning Commission; Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA); Library Trustee; Chairman, Financial Advisory Board
Previous elected offices held: N/A
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?
People are concerned about property taxes, the impact of real estate development in our community, and that we prioritize Mental Health and Public Safety for our children, families and seniors.
Fiscal Responsibility. My business experience and role as a past Naperville Financial Advisory Board Chairman has prepared me well to understand our City finances and to keep property taxes low. I will continue my focus on reining in City spending and reducing the tax levy, but I will never compromise public safety to do so.
Vibrant Naperville. Responsible real estate development means balancing growth while remaining vigilant about and respectful to our neighborhoods and sense of community.
Public Safety and Mental Health Awareness. Intentional and smart leadership result in a Healthy, Safe Naperville. Naperville is one of the safest cities in the country, yet we can do more to support our public safety professionals, residents, and local social services agencies to keep everyone safe.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
Experience, passion, dedication and relationships. Historically, most councilmen and women have spent many years on city commissions before being on council. I have 16 years of Commission experience, and it has prepared me well for the job.
With nearly two decades of local non-profit board experience, church youth leadership and 16 years' service on four Naperville City Commissions, added to my business strategy background, I am ready to serve in this important role.
I am passionate about Naperville! And I believe that serving is a reflection of the opportunities in life that I have been given.
Mayor Pradel first appointed me to the Financial Advisory Board as its Chairman in 2003. I have served continually on commissions ever since: The Library Board, the Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) Board and now I am Secretary of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Relationships are key to me, so I have extensively invested my time to know how our city works, who our city and community leaders are, and how to make sure we have a Healthy, Safe Naperville for our children, families and seniors.
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.
The Naperville-based business I co-own is a leadership development and strategy consulting firm, specializing in building teams that execute change. When strong leaders do not come together as a team, plans can fail, or may never be formed.
Our approach to leadership, therefore, is to create genuine teams, coalesced around common sets of goals, with clear plans that can be executed and measured for success. This way teams execute change, rather than react to circumstances.
As one member of a nine-person body, I would add a strategic perspective and provide insight into creating a healthy team to solve problems. Our role is to serve all residents, fully inclusive, which is in all our best interests: We live in and raise our families in the City we are tasked to lead. I am a relational leader, both a cheerleader and champion for the positive, with the ability to cut to the chase when it matters. I will pursue all points until consensus is achieved, and then vigorously support the decision that has been made.
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?
Naperville is on strong financial ground. Our budget is structurally balanced year after year, our debt is decreasing, our AAA bond rating is maintained, and previously deferred capital improvements are being made. Service levels are met or exceeded, and much-needed technology improvements are being implemented which will yield even greater efficiencies in the future. Our electric utility is financially strong, with rates declining, and we have among the best-funded public safety pensions in Illinois.
This has all happened while the City portion of the property tax bill has decreased by about 15% over the last 3 years. Fiscal vigilance, careful planning and diverse revenue sources are critical in operating a city such as Naperville.
Leading in times of growth can provide temptation to expand. I will ensure we implement carefully-crafted long-term plans, and stay with them, to provide property tax relief to our residents. This requires knowledge, experience and resolve.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
We must take a leadership position in addressing Mental Health Awareness. A high percentage of public safety calls are due to mental health crises and drug / opioid abuse.
Because there is a direct correlation between drug abuse and crime, this takes a heavy toll not only on our citizens, but also on our public safety professionals, as they are the first responders to the calls for help. Our police, firefighters and paramedics have to deal with these issues in our community at an ever-increasing rate. This is a real burden which we need to be sensitive to and address.
The more we can raise awareness of the resources that help, the better off we all are.
Naperville leads in so many categories, including public safety, that leading in this category should be possible. I propose we look more closely at allocating a portion of the Food and Beverage Tax to bolster our Social Services Grant which helps many local non-profits provide mental health support services for our residents.
We must also insist on appropriate resources and training for our public safety professionals to protect them and those whom they are called to help.