Matt Chudy: 2021 candidate for Mettawa village board
Six candidates are running for three trustee seats on the Mettawa village board
Occupation: Director of operations, Research Products International
Civic involvement: Vernon Hills Community Baseball Coach and Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 197 in Green Oaks
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: My main concern is knowing the needs of each of the village residents. This pandemic has affected everyone differently. Some residents only require to be kept up to date on latest events. Other residents need more assistance. I would not rely on the Village Newsletter to communicate with residents during this or any crisis. Instead, we should split up the village residents between board members and contact them personally, preferably by phone. If this assistance can be provided at a local level using village resources then we should arrange it. If not, we should be the conduit for getting help at the State or Federal level.
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: The initial months of the pandemic were very uncertain times. I don't want to fault anyone on the current village board for the decisions made at the local level. As with most governments they did what they thought was appropriate at the time.
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: I'm sure everyone would hope that we can learn from the past to plan better for future events. It starts with knowing the resources in the village before critical resources required. The communication level in the village must improve especially during a pandemic. Sending out quarterly newsletters and one way emails is not adequate in a crisis. We need a community where all residents feel comfortable raising concerns and volunteering their resources. For example, my company at the start of the pandemic switched a production line over to producing hand sanitizer for donation purposes only. A local Boy Scout Troop then volunteered to distribute bottles to nursing homes. Other employees stepped-up to help distribute to Police Departments and Day Cares. If the Village had better communications with residents we could have established a distribution system within our village for those in need.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Our Village board should work better with residents to reduce legal expenses and consultant fees. The Village board should not manage the village with restrictive ordinances that will lead to decreased property values, increased tax burdens on property owners, and increase costly lawsuits from residents or property owners.
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: Protecting our resident's homes and property should take priority. Our village has no sewers, flooding is an ever-present issue for our residents. Proper review of our stormwater management practices and maintenance of our current infrastructure needs to proceed.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: I sympathize with all businesses that are affected negatively by the pandemic. I always prefer not to over-regulate or mandate. Our Village is fortunate to have great business partners that have done an excellent job adhering to the governor's orders. Once it is safe to do so we need to get back to encouraging our residents to use these businesses on a regular basis. Those in the Village with businesses can use Grainger for their supplies over Amazon and residence can buy from Costco for their food and home needs. Without these two businesses our village revenue could suffer even more. The village board should start by going back to in person board meetings at the Hilton Garden Inn as soon as it safe to do so.
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: On important policy decisions such as marijuana sales residents should decide directly by referendum. The Village board should make policies that are in agreement with the majority of the residents wishes.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Working on ways to give our village more of sense of community. We do not have a town center so it is difficult to bring together residents especially during a pandemic. When I speak to residents I learn that many do not know their neighbors. Hosting more events and helping organize groups with similar interests. Like my family, we have more young families moving into the village. Our party has discussed establishing a 4-H Club as a means to help educate children in the village about rural life hobbies.