Patrick A. Powers: 2021 candidate for Itasca village board

Seven candidates are squaring off for three 4-year seats on Itasca Village Board in the April 6 election. They are incumbents Jeffrey T. Aiani and Frank J. Madaras, and challengers Joshua Beauchamp, Patrick A. Powers, Dustin Sneath, Eric J. Swets, and Jennifer C. Troutman.

The Daily Herald asked the candidates several questions about issues facing the village.

Below are Powers' responses.

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City: Itasca

Age: 64

Occupation: VP Finance and Treasurer at Fellowes, Inc.

Civic involvement: School board member (8 Years), youth softball, baseball and basketball coach, lecture St. Peter's Church


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: To provide leadership to, and solicit input from, the community. Serve as a conduit to share insights learned from the federal, state, county and local governmental agencies with the residents and businesses of Itasca so they are able to react and adapt to the challenges that COVID has created. Also communicate back to the various governmental agencies actions the village is taking as a result of the pandemic.

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: Yes, I felt it did. In this time of crisis is when government is needed the most, and when it should step up and support its residents and businesses. The village offices remained open throughout the pandemic. There were little, if any, disruptions in services that the village provided to the community.

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: Would like to see the level of communication to the community regarding guidelines in place, and updates in how the village board was dealing with the pandemic, as an outcome to this. I felt like most communications I received were via the internet or TV coming from the state level. I think this is a take-away in case something of this magnitude were to occur in the future.

Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?

A: I feel the village board was very proactive in this regard. They eliminated shut-offs of water, eliminated late fees on water bills, provided residents $200 in "Itasca Bucks" to spend with local restaurants (win for the restaurants as well), reduced business license fee renewals, provided grants to businesses especially hard-hit by COVID, and delayed certain capital improvements to keep the village on sound financial ground. The only additional item to consider may be to defer water bills for hardship cases.

Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? What infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?

A: Continued focus on stormwater and flooding remediation. While much has been completed in the past 10 years, there is still more that needs to be accomplished. This needs to be a continued area of focus for the board, which I believe it is. This project is currently being funded by residents' taxes. An item that could be considered for delay if the funds were needed elsewhere could be the Elm Street "ancient" sewer project.

Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?

A: I feel the village board handled this very well. As orders were issued a second time by the governor to further restrict gatherings which would have closed businesses yet again and forced many of them to close permanently, the village worked with the local businesses to allow them to continue to operate under reasonable restrictions. If the businesses violated these more relaxed restrictions and complaints were raised the village would work with the business to get them in compliance. It is my understanding this did not occur very often.

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 board has zoning in place which would not allow recreational marijuana sales in a number of locations throughout the village, especially in the downtown area, and as a resident I support this.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?

A: Look to provide for more designated walking, running, and biking paths throughout the village.

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