Matthew D'Alessandro: 2021 candidate for Villa Park Village Board
Town: Villa Park
Occupation: Equipment optimization analyst at Hub Group
Civic involvement: None at the moment.
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: I believe all three options are necessary. I need to provide leadership in the sense of educating others on the risks and following all guidelines in place. We do also need to give constituents a voice to hear what concerns they have and find a way to address them. Finally, we do need defer to state and federal guidelines to keep this situation under control and allow us to return to a sense of normalcy quickly.
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: I think they did do a good job handling the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Village buildings are cleaned once a day, Board meetings were done via the internet while individuals could still address issues either through email or socially distanced in person, and social media posts were done educating the public on the risks of the pandemic and the precautions that were put in place.
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: Safeguards and guidelines that could be put in place would be continued communication of preventive measures such as washing your hands as well as the continued frequent cleaning of government location.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: We should look over our budget and see where there is discretionary income that is not needed that would be able to cut and reduce cost.
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 most important infrastructure project that we need to address is the continued improvement of the roads. We currently have a road referendum project that is almost complete and there will still be a lot of roads that need to be addressed. This is important because it allows for safer driving and walking conditions, increases property taxes, and attracts businesses. We need to start looking at being able to bring in businesses to expand our tax base to help fund these continued projects.
On the counter, we need to put off any non-necessary upgrades to village buildings. If they are suitable to use, then we can continue to use them without upgrades until things are more suitable.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: With minimal help from the federal government to aid these businesses during the restrictions, these businesses should be open to be able to survive, however they should be following all Centers for Disease Control and other recommended guidelines to allow for their employees and customers to have as safe an experience as possible.
Q: Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A: As long as the businesses are following all regulations put down by the state of Illinois regarding recreational marijuana sales then it should be allowed if it brings a source of revenue to the village.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: The Lufkin Park location needs to be used for recreational purposes. I want to have that area turned into a small disc golf course. A disc golf course will be low cost as all that is needed is the baskets and hole markings. It promotes a healthy living, keeps the natural greenery of the area, and helps bring in a new generation to an ever growing sport. As an avid disc golfer, I think this would be a great addition for our town.