Michael Sarlitto: Candidate profile
Name: Michael Sarlitto
City: Village of Long Grove
Office sought: Trustee
Age (on Election Day): 59
Family: Marilee (wife of 37 years), 3 Children (Christina, Diana & Mark), 2 Grandchildren (Carter & Mason)
Occupation: Management Consultant, Business Owner
Education: BSME Purdue University, MBA Northwestern -- Kellogg Graduate School of Management
Civic involvement: Treasurer, Mardan Lake HOA, Long Grove (Current); LG Village Infrastructure Workshop Committee Member; Boy Scouts of America -- Troop/Crew Scoutmaster, Committee Member, High Adventure Program Leader; Climb for Clean Air -- Mt. Rainier, American Lung Association Annual Fundraising Climb/ Team Chicago; Board Member (Past), Charis Ministries -- Jesuit Retreats for People in their 20s and 30s; Board Member, St. Mary of Buffalo Grove Men's Club; Youth Director, Knights of Columbus Council #13448
Previous elected offices held: Current Trustee -- Village of Long Grove;
Incumbent? If yes, when were you first elected?
What are the most important issues facing your community and how do you intend to address them?
Thoughtful economic development designed to create more sustainable, long term financial stability; one of the benefits of being a non-home rule community is absence of a Long Grove tax piled onto the backs of currently overtaxed residents … however, one of the drawbacks of non-home rule status is less predictable revenue streams hence the need for a higher funded reserve. I have led (and plan to continue if re-elected) the Village's newly formed (since Spring 2018) Economic Development Commission which has established a "Top 10" list of priorities and is actively implementing those plans. Infrastructure investment in our downtown is also considered a key enabler to attracting private investment in the form of property ownership and building improvements to the Village … we are well underway with significant projects involving new streetscape, water and road resurfacing in the heart of our downtown.
What makes you the best candidate for the job?
Passion mostly. I love where I live and believe it is important to maintain a critical mass of skills in Board level positions and the Village President role in order to lead and guide the Village competently into the future. This is a team effort and having an ability to work together is crucial to success … clear objectives, ability to define success and map specific actions to achieve goals is also important. Having participated in business turnarounds and planning efforts designed to handle very challenging business situations seems to have come in handy over the past 4 years in my current role as Trustee and it would be an honor and a privilege if entrusted again by my fellow residents to continue contributing to our Village's profound turnaround.
Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing actions and decisions with your
Leadership through thoughtful action and decisiveness, collaborative vision, financial stewardship & teamwork: Our community needs to be united in order to meet the challenges we face. It is necessary to expand our view of economic "engines", including retail, capable of ushering in a more prosperous future for all of Long Grove. Several options aside from retail include technology, secondary education and financial investment industries. I have many thoughts in how we may utilize non-Village Center assets in driving revenues to the Village and I believe I bring an energy and enthusiasm to executing plans that deliver results. Thus enabling more thoughtful decision-making in guiding development of privately-owned Village-Center assets to be more beneficial to the community at-large. As a general rule, I believe public money should never be spent to the sole benefit of an individual or a private enterprise with notable exceptions given to special circumstances involving tax abatement designed to improve Long Grove competitiveness, public safety & welfare or collective convenience.
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?
At this writing, our funded reserve sits at 160+% meaning the Village should hypothetically be able to survive roughly 1.6 years assuming average annual expenses and a total loss of income. This is a very interesting question in light of the results of a villagewide survey conducted in 2015 (in which we had a 42 percent response rate) wherein 94 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat strongly supported commercial development as a means to generating more sales taxes as a solution to a potential general fund shortfall. Conversely, 57 percent of those same respondents identified reduction in services as a supportable solution whereas, 77 percent strongly or somewhat strongly opposed assessing a village property tax to cover that same shortfall. These responses further validated the notion that our residents are fiercely independent, will do without if need be and want to keep as much of their hard-earned income as possible … all consistent with my personal views. I believe having personally contributed to defeating an attempt to enact the first ever property tax referendum (83 percent to 17 percent) a few short years before running for Trustee in 2015 fueled that victory.
What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
Expand our thinking beyond traditional retail business development … these are examples of ideas that I like to talk about but haven't quite convinced others just yet! Cracker Barrel or "Tool Box Café" (my wife Marilee's idea for the name) at the Menards outlots near Lake /Cook Road and Hicks intersection; launch a once-a-year 4-day Country Music Festival (similar to Country Thunder held in Twin Lakes WI every Summer) at the shuttered 36 acre CFI facility off Rte. 22; find a spot for an upscale dinner/theater … and the list goes on!