Marianne Bruss: 2021 candidate for Winfield trustee
Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Winfield village board.
Age: Didn't respond
Occupation: Trustee at Village of Winfield
Civic involvement: Served on Winfield Fire protection District Board as trustee and treasurer; served several years on Village Environmental Concerns Commission and have always participated in various food drives
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. By working with the Village Board and administration to follow DuPage County Health Department best practices and to protect residents to the best of my ability.
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 Village of Winfield follows DuPage County guidelines so, when appropriate, instituted social distancing, shields, mask requirements and temperature checks for staff and visitors to village hall. Initially, all residents were prohibited from entering village hall until we received word that we could safely allow access. The village has been absolutely diligent in keeping staff and residents safe.
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. The village should continue to coordinate with the health authorities to establish and implement health-related best practices and provide fact-based information to the public in a timely manner.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. The Village of Winfield has done much to provide relief and support to local businesses and residents with fee forgiveness, grants for businesses to alleviate burdens because of pandemic restrictions and flexibility when evaluating various requests. The village understands the struggles endured by residents and business and tries to help in any way 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. The Village of Winfield, like all communities, has key infrastructure projects such as roads, sewer and water; failed roads, backed-up sewers and contaminated water could not nor should not ever be acceptable or put on the back burner. The village should, however, put its proposed new $10 million village hall on the back burner as it is certainly not critical in a time of such financial uncertainty.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A. Winfield is not a home-rule community and does not have the authority to enforce health-related directives from the DuPage County Health Dept. or Illinois Dept. of Public Health. Instead, we have provided information, guidance and encouragement for everyone to follow those directives.
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. The village has already approved the sale of recreational marijuana with restrictions in commercial areas, but, as yet, there have been no applications to establish such an outlet. If and when that occurs, then it is a matter of choice for the residents to buy or not to buy.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. I very much disagree with the village's proposal to establish a new Tax Increment Finance (TIF) district in town center. This TIF district has very little to do with "economic development" and everything to do with a new village hall. Using TIF funds for a new village hall is an inappropriate use of those funds and will result in a tax shift/increase for all other Winfield residents. A new village hall should be paid for from general revenue (which the village cannot afford) or by a binding property tax referendum so the taxpayers have their say on the matter. When I brought a nonbinding referendum on this issue to the board, a majority on the board rejected the idea of putting this issue before the taxpayers, so I did. Over the holidays worked to get the required number of signatures to get this on the ballot in April so voters have some input as to how and on what their money is spent. With so much job loss, pay cuts, price increases, now is not the time to take money from schools or other taxing bodies nor raise taxes.