Dan Janowick: 2021 candidate for Winfield trustee
Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Winfield village board.
Occupation: Nonprofit executive, The Community House
Civic involvement: Active volunteer at my children's school since moving to Winfield in 2011, including 2 years as co-president of the PTO; coach, Winfield in Action and Winfield Park District; elected twice as Commissioner for Winfield Park District; Den Leader for Pack 575; Rotary Club
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 see the local government's role as one of communicator in helping residents find resources they need. By communicating information and acting as air traffic controller, residents can be directed to the services they need, even when not directly controlled or offered by village government. DuPage County is blessed with an active nonprofit community and resources from the county government and the village should be an informed connector of residents to these services.
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: From my vantage point, Winfield did a nice job of quickly adjusting to best serve residents and village businesses. I am proud of the recommendation and implementation of business fee deferrals and emergency declarations allowing modified dining for local businesses. I also applaud village efforts to consider collections concessions to help residents who have fallen behind on utility bills during these unique times. The village can continue to serve residents by providing information about vaccines and other resources that residents seek.
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: While COVID caught much of the world by surprise, I think elected officials learned the need for collaboration between federal, state, county and local governments. The flow of resources and communications should be improved as the pandemic winds down so we are better prepared for future emergencies. Improving these processes should be explored.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: The Village of Winfield provides services and police protection with a minimum number of staff so we lack the ability to effect significant change through cutting. I believe in taking an approach that focuses on building new revenue streams through commercial development. By prioritizing the recruitment of business in commercial corridors, we allow our lean village staff to have the resources they need to serve 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: The completion of the development of our town center is a key priority. We are fortunate to have a strong partner in Northwestern Medicine to take on the task of revitalizing our town center with new businesses for residents to enjoy. Town Center is not only a quality-of-life improvement that will make Winfield a more enjoyable to place to live and improve property values, but will also provide property and sales tax revenue for the village and all local taxing bodies. Coupled with the creation of the Riverwalk Park, we have the ability to create a walkable destination that can make residents and visitors proud.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: Safety of residents during a health emergency is a priority. As the pandemic has progressed, Winfield businesses have been hit hard and are faced with challenging decisions and finding a way to creatively support these business requires creative thinking and a consideration for the safety of patrons. I would not personally advocate for a business to defy a governor's order but as a trustee I understand that local police lack the authority to enforce these health regulations.
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 with the stance the board has taken to allow federally legal cannabis sales. I also agree with the adopted plan to allow these types of establishments only on the commercial corridors that are not immediately adjacent to residential areas. While there is a long standing stigma associated with cannabis, states that have adopted these policies years before Illinois have proven that these businesses do not have a negative impact on public safety and can be an effective tax revenue generator.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I hope Winfield will consider a series of community events that partner with the local Chambers of Commerce to provide outdoor experiences for residents to enjoy and attract visitors to town center. In addition to Good Old days, some towns have had success with events like Chili Fest, chocolate fest, ice sculpture fest and so much more. These events are enjoyable for residents and also provide great reasons for people to visit our town center.