Casey Urlacher: 2021 candidate for Mettawa mayor
Incumbent Casey Urlacher is running as a write-in for mayor in Mettawa; his name will not appear on the ballot.
Occupation: Construction at Englewood Construction
Civic involvement: None given
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. Our village, a rural oasis, in the middle of Lake County was affected by the pandemic, just like everyone else. As with anything else in the village, I have been available to residents to help them during this challenging time. Our residents have been respectful of the governor's orders, and I have found my role during the pandemic to be one that serves as a go between for residents with the health department and other units of government who are most involved in the pandemic response.
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. As a small village we did not have any significant disruptions. Our only retail store it remained open and followed all the state guidelines.
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. We have a very small government in the Village of Mettawa. As Mayor, I am unpaid, and our entire village board is unpaid. Our residents demand this type of efficiency to keep property tax rates as low as possible. With the experience we have had during the pandemic, the most important lesson that we've learned and already implemented is to work with all our surrounding local units of government, especially our health department
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden o the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. Our village is in excellent financial shape. Our real estate taxes for our village have not changed for 22 years. We also give every year a fiscally responsible act rebate and next year we plan on giving a larger rebate to our residents.
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. During the last eight years we've made tremendous progress on our infrastructure in the village. Looking forward we plan on trying to find ways to keep improving our infrastructure. All of our roads are no older than 7 years and we are working on a water shed program currently. Because of our proactive fiscal management, we do not expect delays to ongoing projects.
Q. Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A. Our biggest businesses including Costco, Grainger, and local hotels have all adhered to the governor's orders and this has not been an issue.
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. We are not currently looking to bring cannabis sales into the village. Our residents have spoken out against this subject so listened to our residents.
Q. Describe your leadership style and explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions with your village board or city council.
A. People in our village know me, they know my wife, and they know I am a trusted and loyal friend and neighbor. I work together with everyone, no matter their political affiliation to continuously improve our wonderful village.
Q. What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A. I am the best candidate for the job because I am the only candidate for mayor who has a track record of actual success. My opponent wanted to take the mayor's position which is a volunteer position and turn it into a paid job with over $40,000 in salary and he wanted the village to purchase a vehicle for him. When the village board turned down his ask for a salary and a car, he decided to not run for reelection. People in our town know I am looking out for their best interests and not my self-interest.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. I have been working on or exploring how to get our residents sewer disposal. All of our residents have septic systems. So I think this is something that would be a tremendous asset to our residents both financially and for real estate values.