Tom Strauss: 2021 candidate for Barrington Hills village board
Six candidates for three seats
City: Barrington Hills
Occupation: Executive/business owner at Vaughn Associates, Inc.
Civic involvement: Neighborhood associations
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: A key role of any village government is to do whatever possible to insure the safety of all residents. Barrington Hills, being a residential community, did not face the same challenges as most villages where commerce is a large part of the community. My direction as a trustee in our community would be to insure there is proper communication on the need for social distancing and mask wearing when in public.
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 did a wonderful job of servicing the community while adhering to safety protocols in my limited interaction over the past year. My best example would be with my recent submissions for our candidacy. The village was open with staff in the office. The staff insured all candidates maintained a distance while in the hallway waiting to submit our applications; they met everyone individually in a safe controlled conference room; they escorted us out and asked that we not linger with other candidates. The staff did a wonderful job of being polite and professional in our process, so I can only assume the same was experienced with anyone else needing village services.
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: I believe we continue to encourage residents to use their best judgment when in public: Wearing a mask and maintaining social distance when in public and limiting group sizes.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: Our village has been operating under strong fiscal guidance prior to the pandemic. I feel the pandemic does not have the same impact on a residential community as it would on a residential/commercial community. If elected I certainly will evaluate spending and look for any possible opportunities to save while insuring to not diminish any services to the 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: As above, our village has been operating under strong fiscal guidance prior to the pandemic. I feel the pandemic does not have the same impact on a residential community as it would on a residential/commercial community. I feel we should continue with the infrastructure improvements focusing on roads and bridges.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: N/A -- residential community
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: N/A -- residential community
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Being a residential village there is not a lot of innovative or unique ideas or projects. I do believe we should try to instill an even greater sense of "community" through the addition of village gatherings where all residents would be invited allowing residents to meet each other and share thoughts and ideas with the president and trustees.