Robin R. Kelleher: 2021 candidate for North Barrington village board
Seven candidates for three seats
City: North Barrington
Occupation: Attorney at Law Office of Robin R. Kelleher
Civic involvement: This is my first civic endeavor, which I believe is a valuable asset to the Village of North Barrington. I am not a politician with an agenda. I am a working mother with school-age children excited to serve MY Village. I have a legal mind with a pulse on our community.
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: I believe that residents and local government should follow the direction of health care professionals tasked with monitoring the spread of the virus and the measures to lessen spread. I support masks, social distancing, hand sanitation and all ways to best effectuate these prevention methods in public places. I would encourage resident input with respect to implementation of prevention tactics in order to uphold public health, yet allow businesses to remain open and operate safely. Residents' opinions and ideas can benefit the community and should be heard.
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 believe the Village of North Barrington did very well in preventing any lapse in public services during the pandemic. Both garbage and snow removal has been adequate and continued on the pre-pandemic schedule. Village board meetings have been efficiently conducted via Zoom (and open to the public to attend virtually). Access to the Village Hall has been limited in order to safeguard public health, all the while maintaining daily business matters. I am pleased with the amount of local information that is available on the Village website, email updater, as well as the quarterly newsletter.
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 firmly believe as a nation that we have learned a monumental lesson regarding public health and the benefits of taking rather simple measures to reduce the spread of germs. Some examples would be consistent germ mitigation processes at retail shops, restaurants, municipal and other public gathering spaces, such as more hand sanitation stations and methods to clean heavily touched surfaces. Certainly until we can get the spread under control while our most vulnerable citizens are able to be vaccinated, social distancing and masks are a must.
Q: What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A: I was so pleased that our Village has voted to NOT raise 2021 property taxes. I support this measure as being the #1 way to financially assist residents who have been impacted by the pandemic, whether through job loss, decreased business revenue, increased medical expenses or indirect effects from the stagnant economy. Possibly organizing a communitywide job fair event (virtual forum or summer outdoors event), whereby recently unemployed could network with employers who may have been forced to reinvent their business. Facilitating employment should be a priority of local government.
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: My understanding is that the Village board is considering a 5-year capital improvement plan, which I think is an excellent way to address several projects that either currently affect the Village, or are likely to in the near future. In my neighborhood, stormwater drainage is a big issue. We have had Village action recently working with Lake County and the State of Illinois, which has been most welcomed. As a Trustee, I would advocate for a continued alliance with the County and State to ensure that our Village is able to maintain a safe environment pertaining to stormwater. With respect to funding, a 5-year capital plan would be a step in the right direction as to keeping these infrastructure projects "in budget." Another funding possibility, in an effort to keep tax hikes at bay, is seeking federal and/or state grants. Regarding "back burner" infrastructure projects, I believe the conditions of our local roadways are in a state that allows for maintaining the balanced budget that we currently possess. However, myself along with most residents, I believe enjoy having smooth, safe roadways in our neighborhoods. So "back burner" does not mean "off the radar" in my opinion.
Q: Do you plan to address businesses that don't adhere to the governor's order to close or restrict business?
A: Based on my experience, I have not seen businesses in my Village not following the Governor's orders. In fact, the two largest business/revenue generators in our Village are private country clubs which have followed the Governor's orders to a "tee." I am fortunate to be in a community who has abided by government direction and health recommendations.
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: Based on my review, the Village of North Barrington has not approved the sale of recreational marijuana sales. I support flexibility to change zoning rules should this be a topic in the future, on the premise that any changes would benefit our community as a whole.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: I support discussion on ways to increase Village revenue without raising taxes. A comprehensive review of existing, unutilized retail space and how to bring vendors into North Barrington is one possible answer. Another method could be a study on rezoning certain areas that may not be all that attractive zoned as residential, yet commercial use could benefit the community and Village. That being said, we are also very fortunate in North Barrington to have a multitude of open spaces. Having been raised on a farm, I do not discount that fact! I would support implementation of recreational activities on Village owned property such as bike/walking paths and benches. In addition, taking a look at beautification projects and how the Village might improve what nature has started for us.