Mark Guethle: Candidate profile
Name: Mark Guethle
City: North Aurora
Office sought: North Aurora Village Trustee
Family: My wife and I have lived in North Aurora for over twenty years. We have raised two grown sons and enjoy three grandchildren.
Occupation: Director of Governmental Affairs, Painters District Council #30
Education: After high school, I graduated from the Washburn Trade School, George Meany Center
Civic involvement: North Aurora Days Committee, North Aurora Lions Club, North Aurora Baseball, Blessed Sacrament Church music ministry.
Previous elected offices held: North Aurora Village Trustee
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected? Yes, I was first elected in 2003-2005, and have served from 2009- present
Facebook: Friends of Mark Guethle
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
Key issues include: Redevelopment of Route 31, retaining sustainable businesses, and continuing to expand our tax base. The Route 31 Corridor is an ongoing project. For the past six years, the Village Board and staff have been working diligently to attract quality businesses on Route 31. Some of our new businesses include Moca Coffee, Garage 31 and Next -Door Self-Storage. Our strategic plan seeks to redevelop the corner of "State Street and Highway 31," or "Block 1." This effort will likely necessitate working with the fire district on their future needs. The use of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funding will allow us to attract construction companies, who will give the Village the best development possible to meet our needs. We will, also, launch our "Silo Project" later this year to serve as a point of interest destination to attract people to our riverfront and businesses along Route 31. This is a project designed to leverage a historic landmark in North Aurora, near the riverfront and adjoining Route 31. The goal is to increase "foot traffic" which, in turn, will help our existing local businesses. Working with our partners, the Fox Valley Park District and Harner's Restaurant, the "Silo Project" will take advantage of its proximity to the river and give us an opportunity to attract more sustainable businesses to further expand our tax base to keep taxes in check.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
Being active in North Aurora for over twenty years, I know the pulse of our community and direction our Village Board, staff, and involved citizens wish to pursue. I also understand how best to implement their wishes. I understand that when people ask questions or tell me what they are looking for, they are sincerely trying to help our community grow and prosper. Their feedback is something I take very seriously, and I am always readily accessible and approachable. A good listener, I consistently follow up with residents' concerns. Most importantly, though, I have been working congenially and cooperatively with the other village board members in our rather successful efforts to advance the identity and branding of North Aurora as we move into the future. North Aurora Village Board members have worked in unison for several years now, and the results of our efforts are obvious. The Route 31 corridor is gradually improving with the addition of new businesses. As for our capital needs, we are completing the construction of two new wells to address the growing demands of the increasing population. We are working in concert with the Fox Valley Park District to beautify our riverfront. We worked together to replace our streetlights with cost-effective and better functioning LED lights. We have also repaired and/or replaced sidewalks throughout the village and have replaced dying parkway trees. The Village President and Village Board have agreed on all matters related to the expansion of our tax base and continue to work harmoniously in improving North Aurora. For example, we have seen 64 businesses registered in the last five years. This is also our eighth consecutive year of a 6 percent increase in sales tax as a result of our commercial expansion plan. These and other efforts have resulted in an increase in our Village's total net position of over one million dollars. All of this was accomplished with NO tax increase for our residents. Needless to say, I am very proud to be a part of this effective team.
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.
Good leaders also make good followers. Leadership is done by example, not commands or harsh demands. A successful leader creates a positive environment and is much like a good coach who encourages and compliments others on their effort and production but expects dedication to the overall goal of the organization. My ability to work with the Village President and all other Village Board members in coming to a consensus on decisions is paramount to our continued success and has contributed to the Village's accomplishments. That is why the Village President and entire Village Board are supporting me in my re-election. No one person can succeed alone and, should I be re-elected, I will continue working as a team member with both our community's elected officials and village staff on behalf of the people of North Aurora to implement a plan of action. I have worked very well with my colleagues and other key stakeholders.
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?
As Chair of the Operations Committee, (renamed from Economic Development Chair), the health of our budget is paramount. Currently, we are running "in the black" and have done so during my entire tenure with the Board. The Village has accomplished seventeen consecutive years receiving a certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Also, this is the thirteenth year we have received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from GFOA, and we have an AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor's. The level of services the Village provides is maintained by our sustainable economic growth, which, I am pleased to say, has contributed to North Aurora citizens' good fortune of no new taxes during this past year.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
I would like to see the Village lease approximately five acres of our vacant property on Orchard Gateway Boulevard to a solar farm company. This would accomplish several goals for our community, including 1) The development of vacant land in the production of renewable energy; 2) Providing a local employment opportunity; 3) Securing additional revenue for the village on land we have had a hard time marketing; 4) Providing cost savings on the Village's electricity use. Other cities and villages are realizing benefits from similar efforts. I would like the Village staff to study the "pros and cons" of implementing this idea.