John Hoscheit: 2021 candidate for St. Charles City Council, Ward 4
Three candidates for one seat from the 4th Ward
City: St. Charles
Employer: Hoscheit, McGuirk, McCracken & Cuscaden, P.C.
Civic involvement: 24 years, Kane County Board and Forest Preserve Commission; 4 years, Alderman, City of St. Charles; 6 years, St. Charles Park District Board
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. The role of the City Council should be to support its residences and businesses. The Kane County Health Department is in charge of providing education, vaccine delivery and suggestions regarding the appropriate approaches for municipalities to take in dealing with the pandemic. The City should work closely with the County Health Department to develop a plan that is best suited for the City's residents and businesses.
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 City did a good job of working with local businesses by providing such things as outdoor dining, closing down downtown streets, and reducing certain fees in order to allow the businesses to succeed and adapt to the COVID restrictions. I believe that program would have been enhanced if a council of businesses were conveyed to provide input to the City Council to develop other programs or steps that could have facilitated better outcomes during that time frame.
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. Our experience with the COVID-19 pandemic should prepare us to deal with any such future crisis. The logistics for communicating, public health concerns, distribution of PPE, and vaccine distribution are now in place and it would certainly be easier to mobilize these if a future crisis like this occurred. I do feel that a more measured approach to deal with the crisis may be appropriate, instead of the initial panic that was caused in addressing the COVID crisis. Hopefully if there is a next time, a more reasoned approach could be taken to avoid undue stress for residents and businesses.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. With remote working and meetings, the City could theoretically reduce its need for maintaining offices for jobs that could be effectively managed remotely. The City should use continual technological advances to improve employee efficiency.
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 now facing the City is the completion of the First Street Development Project at the corner of 1st Street and Route 64. A concept plan has been developed and initial funds have been raised for this project. The ultimate cost of construction should continue to be funded via a public-private partnership. To date a significant portion of the costs have come from grants and donations. The City should propose a continued philanthropic program so that the project can be funded with both charitable and City resources.
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. Given the fact that the surrounding communities have permitted recreational marijuana sales, I am not opposed to the City of St. Charles doing so. The revenue stream will assist the City in reducing the real estate tax burden on our homeowners and businesses. I do think the City should revisit its zoning requirements, as recreational sales may be better for nonindustrial park areas.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. The City should work regionally with the Park District and the Forest Preserve District to extend the Great Western Bike Trail through downtown St. Charles. The rail line has been abandoned for several years and improvement of that rail line for hiking, biking and recreational use would be a huge asset to the community. Again, this could be funded through grants and intergovernmental cooperation between local and regional open space entities.