Richard J Hayes Jr.: 2021 candidate for Lake Barrington village board
Five candidates for three seats
City: Lake Barrington
Occupation: Senior Executive Engineering and Construction at Middough Inc.
Civic involvement: Senior Advisory Board Member Department of Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute, Board Member VetJobs.org, Chicago Memorial Day Planning Committee Member Lake Barrington Shores Veterans Group
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: This pandemic played out much like the Spanish Flu pandemic during WWI in 1918. Reflecting on the world wide response to this current COVID-19 pandemic in light of history, many of the lessons learned from 100 years ago were applied. A key differentiator between then and now is science and advances in medicines. The unfortunate thing here was the pollicization of this pandemic. We must stick to the science and take politics out of the equation now and in the future. The Village did a good job providing consistent communications on Village actions to support local businesses, messaging on thank you to first responders and health care workers and by providing consistent communications on safety protocols.
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: I think the Village of Lake Barrington was postured well to operate in a remote and isolated manner driven by the COVID-19 protective measures enacted by the State of Illinois. Through forward thinking, the Village transition over a period of years providing more online services. The Village moved services online at the beginning of the pandemic. This followed a pre-pandemic move of Village IT to the cloud. Likewise, concerted efforts were made to make outdoor facilities (i.e., the splash lot at Village Hall) even more usable in accommodating weather. enhanced the Village's ability to provide services to the community. The lessons learned from this pandemic are an opportunity to enhance how the Village can deliver services in the future.
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: Study previous pandemics, follow the science, educate, communicate, and reinforce the message consistently. The Village needs to continue to keep and move more Village operations online as well as posture policy to continue to support restaurants in their ability to serve the public in a COVID-responsible manner. Pandemic response is a whole of society effort and it takes everyone's proactive participation to avoid unnecessary suffering.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: The bulk of our property taxes fund District 220. The Village's share of the tax bill is quite small at 4%. At the beginning of the pandemic, the Village took actions to eliminate a lot of business taxes and fees to provide economic relief to assure the economic viability of businesses in our community through the pandemic. Clearly this is taxpayer money not the Village's. A key tenet that is effective in holding costs down it to continue the Village's strong use of outsourcing to keep expenses low for key expenditures (police, fire, snow plowing, road maintenance, trash & recycling collection). We will come out of this pandemic stronger, and I expect by late 2021 things will return to normal.
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: Well maintained roads, sewers, water, and flood control all remain critical elements for our residents to enjoy the gracious countryside living we are afforded here in Lake Barrington. The Village planning board does a good job of looking well into the future to model and plan for expenditures to keep our infrastructure in good shape.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: As I stated earlier, responding to a pandemic is a whole of society issue. Everyone must do their part including the businesses. There have been many creative innovations developed during this pandemic that will serve businesses well into the future. The Village has communicated the requirements of the law to the business community. To date, as I understand it there haven't been resident complaints about such issues.
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 personally believe that recreation marijuana sales in our community is a distraction and not in our community's best interests.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Leveraging all the great things our Village has to offer by further extending what a fantastic place this is to live and work. We need to get likewise engaged in the ongoing fiscal crisis debate the state is in and force a hard discussion around the future our fiscal well-being to assure the looming crisis is addressed now so we don't unduly burden the future generations.