Daniel J. Grecco: 2021 candidate for Lisle Village Board
Seven candidates are competing for three, 4-year seats on the Lisle Village Board in the April 6 election. They are incumbent Marie Hasse; and challengers Robert Taylor; Lisle First slate members William Trussell and Dan Grecco; and Be Lisle (Lisle Forward) slate members Thomas Duffy, David Richter and Mary Jo Mullen, Lisle Township supervisor whose term is expiring.
Occupation: Professional Civil Engineer
Civic involvement: Currently serving on Lisle's Pedestrian & Bike Committee; previous Lisle Technology Chair; and previous Lisle Ad-hoc committee member to Illinois American-Oakview Subdivision; former Scout Leader for Troop 108 Lisle, and current trustee for Lisle Methodist Church. Have been involved in many other volunteer activities, including the Illinois and National Society of Professional Engineers.
Party slate: Lisle First
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: Combination of both. The Village itself will need to respond as an organization at a minimum to keep its citizens, employees, volunteers, and other elected officials informed and most importantly safe. There is a wide spectrum of opinions on the virus, but personally playing it safe is of utmost importance to me, as I have an elderly mother that I currently take care of daily, plus another household member with a compromised immune system. To support my family, I opt to do most of the shopping and minimize everyone else's exposure.
As a society, the current condition is not sustainable (suicides, loss of income or business, depression, ETC.). Perhaps how we function as nation compared to others, is that our citizens need to work and interact more with one another.
I am prepared to cooperate with our state and federal authorities to survive, and post pandemic to be better prepared. Current science clearly does not support the Governor's restrictions on restaurants and school closing. Proof is in private schools and neighboring states have been open since the fall. Nursing homes and the elderly have taken the brunt of this pandemic. This should be a nonpolitical issue, but we were clearly unprepared as a State.
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: Yes, with minimal disruption in toward both essential and nonessential services. And even more amazing throughout all this, I am immensely proud of the Village of Lisle with Mayor Pecak's lead to freeze and maintain the same tax levy with a consistent no increase over his past four years, also all while paying down debt. To my knowledge that has never been done before. We asked for a positive change four years ago and I wish to keep that momentum of proven accountability moving forward. I wish that our other sister agencies could have followed the Village's lead, but instead have increased their tax levies, including throughout this crisis when the general population is most vulnerable.
This is my first time running for public office. I encourage anyone else seeking accountability in your government either run for public office, or carefully vet those that are currently running.
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: Previous pandemics, including the Spanish flu of 1918-1920, indicate that public gatherings such as parades welcoming home troops after the WW1 were spreader events. At the same time, open air was a prescribed treatment versus being confined in a hospital. I suspect it was not the parade, but rather people traveling (often by crowed train) and staying with family and friends where contact and spreading occurred. The Eyes to the Skies fest has already been canceled for 2021, but I would be in favor of 2022 if the trend looks right and utilizing personal protection gear if still necessary.
While I am for following State and Federal CDC guidelines, I am amazed that air travel and trains are not further restricted, but indoor dining at restaurants are. Eating is an essential local function that should always take precedent over nonessential travel.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: During the initial stages of a pandemic, first thing would be a temporary freeze on new hiring. While the Village's services are non-health care related, still having a stockpile of personal protection equipment pre-purchased at non-pandemic levels would be helpful for employees and volunteers.
Also, a hard look at nonessential expenses versus essential expenses. Approving a budget with conscience choices toward saving wherever practically possible.
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: Stormwater. Lisle has the DuPage River running through the middle of it, which is the collecting point of many tributary rivers from neighboring communities. Previously serving as a 20-year municipal engineering employee, and now a private practice Professional Civil Engineer for 10 years, I am the most qualified trustee candidate to advocate on this issue for the Village of Lisle. Having a master plan in effect would require both a long-term commitment, in both funding and policy decisions. It would be implemented by a combination of grants, private development, and Village endeavors.
As a previous stormwater administrator, I can tell you that every dollar spent directly affects (lowers) our FEMA insurance rates for those located within the floodplain. There is also an extraordinarily strong argument to be made that the rest of DuPage County should be responsible for river maintenance and flooding. Toward this effort, I would be in favor of a DuPage County wide stormwater utility tax, but only if its benefits Lisle more.
Larger components of a stormwater management plan could be placed on the back burner until the crisis passes.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance if you could?
A: I agree. As clear as possible, I am pro liberty, choice, and freedom as one can be. This especially includes the sale and dispense of recreational and medical marijuana sales within our community. Just like alcohol and anything else that could impair a driver, I agree that a tax should be collected and used to enforce and prevent impaired driving.
Colorado was the first and may have touted the revenue's gained, but it was at the expense of public safety. If a government is going to gain a tax revenue, it should also properly reserve a portion of that funding and apply toward public awareness, detection devices, enforcement, etc. The state of Illinois taxes the most compared to other legalized States. This is a problem, as over tax and regulation will simply encourage a black market.
Where something is located is a matter of our local zoning codes. We are currently in the process of an update, and I would be certain to make sure that our schools and community are protected based upon acceptable locations.
Q: What is one good idea do you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: The Monorail. No, but similarly and seriously I am currently a member of the Village's Pedestrian and Bicycle committee. While a municipal employed engineer, I designed and managed the installation of over 30 miles of new public sidewalk and assisted or acted as the Liaison to the Village's Parking and Traffic Commission. I managed a lot of public meetings with the public for every block built, considering the needs of the many while still considering the requests of each resident. If elected as Trustee, I would look forward to serving our residents in implementing our most recently pedestrian and bikeway recommendations to the Village Board. Ideally, I would work as a team with other trustees to help implement an initial network of bicycle and pedestrian routes to our most underserved locations.
Development along Ogden Avenue should be managed to include safe pedestrian walking routes. After the initial network is established, we could partner with adjacent communities to connect, toward Ogden and other roadway and path locations. Grant funding will be more easily secured with county and neighboring jurisdiction partnerships, and even more so if we have a local network and plan established.