Al Murphy: 2022 candidate for DuPage County Forest Preserve Board District 2
Office sought: DuPage County Forest Preserve Board District 2
City: West Chicago
Occupation: Owner Murphy Ace Hardware
Previous offices held: Current Commissioner Du Page County Forest Preserve, Aldermen City of West Chicago
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
I am honored and proud to have been a DuPage County Forest Preserve Commissioner for the past 7 years. There are many important past and present projects I have been fortunate to work on. I am running for this office because there also many future projects that I am looking forward to being involved with in order to continue to protect and support the Forest Preserve.
I believe the Forest Preserve of DuPage County is vitally important for all future generations and the ecology of our society. I want to be a part of that.
If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
Over the last 7 years:
-I have voted to keep Forest Preserve Real Estate taxes lower or flat.
-I am fortunate to have been part of establishing two Nature Preserves that protect
endangered species with in the District.
-I was able to push for a new dog park in the Hanover Park/Bartlett area using non-tax
dollars to build.
-We were able to secure from the state over $15 million dollars for the St. James
Farm/Blackwell Restoration that took place over the last 2-4 years. -St. James Farm has renewed the riding arena.
Future projects I am interested in include the final connection of the West Branch trail to the Blackwell Trail with a bridge over the West Branch Du Page River and Route 38.The Cromwell trail connection in the Herrick Lake preserve is on my personal agenda to see completed and I would like to establish a reforestation policy.
What are the county's open space needs and how should this board address them?
Currently the District has over 26,000 acres of land that it maintains. Future land purchases should be sensitive to continuing to connect preserve's and protect endangered species.
I believe in the 90/10 rule. Ninety percent of the land is to be preserved, 10 percent for recreation.
Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them.
My focus is on DuPage County Forest Preserve, not the DuPage County Board. I am not qualified to comment on their budget or future threats.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
The Forest Preserve District has taken great strives to be transparent, as well as, give the public access to their records. I am not aware of any instances where transparency has been denied. It is very important to me, as a commissioner, that all activities are accessible to the tax payers.
Describe your position regarding the state of the forest preserve district's budget, describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the district should handle them.
For the past several years, DuPage County Forest Preserve has maintained a very consistent revenue/spending stream. There is currently a large bond that is nearing the end of its term. It is my belief that the district should bring forward a referendum for a future bond issuance that would allow for future land acquisitions, as well as, allow for lowering taxes. The voters should be able to decide such an important financial decision. Also, the District must maintain the current landfill trust fund balance in order to ensure any problems that will arise at the different landfills are taken care of.
Name one concrete program you'll create or personnel move you'll make to improve efficiency in the office or make it more successful. Explain how it will be funded and how you will overcome any obstacles to initiating it.
One of my most important future interests: There is a great deal of land in need of continued restoration in order to flourish without harming the surrounding ecosystems along with exploring the possibilities for expanded access for all abilities, including sensory gardens.