Paul Hinterlong: Candidate profile
Name: Paul Hinterlong
Office sought: Naperville City Council
Occupation: Licensed plumber/business representative
Education: Naperville North Class of 1983, Attended College of DuPage, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship
Civic involvement: Naperville Advisory Commission on Disabilities; Naperville Special Events Committee; Naperville Healing Fields Board Member 2012, 2015, 2019; Naperville Plan Commission / Naperville Planning & Zoning Commission
Previous elected offices held: Naperville City Council
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? 2009
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
Economic growth, affordable housing, mental health awareness, and the opioid epidemic.
We must work harder to attract more businesses to Naperville to bolster economic growth. From our small businesses to our large corporations, we must find sustainable solutions to increase our revenues to cover our adopted principles to pay down our debt and increase our reserves to secure a sustainable future.
Whether you're a senior, empty nester, just out of college, or a young family trying to stay in Naperville or move to Naperville, it's extremely hard to find something cost effective to meet your needs. It's imperative that we concentrate on finding solutions in our ordinances and zoning codes to address affordable housing.
Mental health situations have become a priority for our public safety departments. Currently all of our fire personnel, about 30% of our police officers, and other city personnel are trained in our crisis intervention program. We need to put all of our public safety employees through the training to give them what they need to help them cope with situations that arise in their jobs every day.
The opioid epidemic in DuPage County remains a challenge. Deaths associated with opioid use are up 13% and deaths caused by fentanyl use alone are up 76% from last year. We need to aggressively continue to work with other government agencies and social service groups to get these statistics down to zero.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
Experience and commitment.
I have more experience than any other candidate in this race. I started out as a planning and zoning commissioner for three and a half years. Then in 2009 I was elected to City Council. I helped manage this city through the Great Recession without real estate tax increases--stressing more efficient ways of providing services and doing more with less. Since then I've been involved in the creation of every one of our master land use plans and their revisions.
My community involvement spans over the last 25 years as an active member of numerous boards, commissions, and nonprofits. This experience has allowed me to get a great feel for the pulse of this community and in turn has made me a good listener and a voice of reason because of it. I am committed to being a civil servant and committed to keep Naperville the best place to live and raise a family.
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?
I'm proud of this council in the jobs and actions we've taken to get to the decisions we've made for the betterment of Naperville. Whether it's balancing the budget, zoning issues, developments, or just neighborhood issues, I lead within it as a consensus builder. It can be hard at times to achieve unity, yet that's where I believe myself to be at my best. I'm able to find and articulate a common ground--to do what is best long term for Naperville as a whole.
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?
Principled and ahead of targets.
In 2015 we adopted a policy that charges us specific goals and ends policies. We established these three principles: 1) the city will pass a structurally balanced budget annually, 2) the city commits to continuous improvement in the delivery of necessary and cost-effective services, and 3) the city will actively seek to increase its reserves to 25% and reduce its debt by 25% in the next eight years.
With these goals in place for the last 4 years, we are ahead of our targets on both our reserves and the reduction of debt. This allowed us to reduce our tax rate from .8081 in 2015 to .6815 this year. This equates roughly to a $150 savings on the average household property tax bill. Through our efforts we have continued to maintain a AAA bond rating since 1995 and through the Great Recession--which very few communities have been able to do.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one else is talking about yet?
In-town circulator bus.
On a trip to Hawaii I was impressed by the way people moved around the island. There was a government-run busing system that for $2 a day you could travel anywhere on the island--hopping on and off wherever you please. I was so impressed by the number of people that used the system and by how well it worked. This would be a great amenity for Naperville to consider to remove countless vehicles from the roads and alleviate some traffic congestion. It could circle Naperville during the day--using a few buses so the wait time for the bus would be reduced. We could do a survey of all the stops people would want and design a route that fits the needs of the residents from young adults to our seniors. Of course we would need to find a funding source for the service, yet if it's used like I imagine it would be, it's worth investigating.