Tonya Frosheiser: 2021 candidate for Hanover Park Trustee
Five candidates for three 4-year terms
Hometown: Hanover Park
Occupation: Retired Military/Self-employed
Civic involvement: Member of Development Commission for Village of Hanover Park. Life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars; Former Commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5151; Judge Advocate, Fourth District Illinois Veterans of Foreign Wars; Involved in Patriot Pen and Voice of Democracy Scholarship Programs and Fisher House events.
Q. What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A. It's exciting to watch Hanover Park as it continues to grow and develop into a stronger, more closely bonded community. I enjoy being a part of that and look forward to working with Village staff, elected officials, residents and business owners alike because I believe it requires everyone's voice and contributions in making OUR Village a place where people want to raise families, work and feel safe. Although the upcoming April election is at a local level, we would be foolish to think we are not affected by what is happening on a national level. Everyone has the right to respect, acceptance and safety and I feel by building strong relationships based on honesty, trust and inclusion, we can achieve this while continuing to grow into an even stronger community.
Q. How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree -- or defer to state and federal authorities?
A. Elected officials have an obligation to lead by example while consistently maintaining a profound understanding and level of awareness regarding the varying degrees of thought on the pandemic. For instance, when the VFW reopened its doors for the purpose of hosting bingo, we had an undeniable responsibility to provide an increased level of health and safety measures to all who crossed our threshold. In spite of great resistance, it was my role to lead this endeavor. My team and I referred to, relied on and implemented CDC, state and local government recommendations and mandates. And in some cases we went above and beyond. Were all these changes popular -- absolutely not! Were they necessary as our contribution to fighting this unseen enemy and in keeping our customers and volunteers safe -- absolutely yes! Were we successful from a public health perspective -- yes! Was it worth it for the sake of the lives entrusted to us -- yes! Are there any regrets in going against the unpopular voices -- no!
Q. Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. Given the countless uncertainties experienced during the pandemic and the constant curveballs it has thrown, I believe they did. By making the welfare of all our community members their primary focus, we benefited from joint efforts with Cook and DuPage counties and Hanover, Wayne, Bloomingdale and Schaumburg townships. Resources for many services were made available through these relationships thus bridging gaps and bringing necessary relief. Examples include: Township food pantries, ComEd bill assistance; Use of Village funds to provide for COVID testing, extensive education and communication; The addition of multiple languages on the website for more effective communication of vital information; The purchase of laptops for Village staff to facilitate continued service while working from home and remaining safe; Extending flexibility to businesses regarding sign ordinances and residents regarding overnight parking ordinances.
Q. In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A. With this all being new to me and COVID catching us all off guard, I feel it important to not lose sight of all that was done to manage through this experience while gaining invaluable knowledge of how to be better prepared in the future. I'm impressed with the Village's response to hire a part-time Emergency Management Coordinator to oversee future potential needs as a means of providing ongoing sustainability. To that, I suspect they may be looking into having an Emergency Fund set aside for such future challenges. But let's not forget that with current money management practices already in place, the Village of Hanover Park was spared from many challenges others have faced and for that I am grateful.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. While there may be other possible cuts, perhaps a reduction, or even a brief moratorium of the $12.50 service fee on our water bills should be considered. Times are hard and savings of any amount helpful. Also, let us not overlook those cuts already implemented within the Village. Ex: Hiring delays; Delayed salary increases and reduced work hours; Continued scrutiny of proposed tax increases for Village of Hanover Park SSAs; Continued application of current money management practices to work within funds and aggressive application for grants.
Q. What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A. The Village is positioned to invest over $2 million dollars into the resurfacing of streets which is important from a flooding standpoint. In the past, Hanover Park was notorious for applying overlays to Village streets thus causing grade changes leading to flooding of homeowner properties. It's my understanding this practice has ceased and more appropriate and effective street repairs are planned thus alleviating these concerns. As for projects that could be delayed, I've heard from residents regarding the transition from the street into their driveway. These are very abrupt and could cause potential damage to vehicles. As streets are being repaired, perhaps there will be room for correction of these nuisances.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your municipality has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. Yes. While I personally do not choose to partake in this type of recreation, as a member of the Development Commission, I did support the permitting of recreational marijuana but only after listening and learning from members of the community and experts such as police and fire department personnel. After developing a more informed perspective, I felt much more comfortable in my decision to support this in my community.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. I very much enjoy the idea of a community event, a food festival possibly, that would serve several purposes. The idea of our community connecting over food from different cultures makes me happy. Benefits include: Exposure for our many culturally diverse restaurants; Opportunities to meet our neighbors, learn more about each other and celebrate our diversity and the establishment of a scholarship fund for young adults preparing to enter college.