George E. Duberstein: 2023 candidate for Hainesville Village Board
Age on Election Day: 83
Occupation: US Army. retiree. Now HainesvilleTrustee & professional actor
Employer: Hainesvillre trustee; not employee
Previous offices held: Hainesville trustee; SWALCO Board member, SAG-AFTRA Chicago local board member
Q: What is the most serious issue your community will face in the coming years and how should the city council or village board respond to it?
A: The most serious issue facing the village is the need for an additional well to provide water to the village's
residents and businesses. We had three wells, but one was not producing and needed significant repairs, so it was disabled. If one of the remaining two goes down, or needs minor repair, the village is left without a backup and in a precarious position; hence, the need for an additional well (see also Question 5- Infrastructure).
Q: How would you describe the state of your community's finances?
A: Our community finances are excellent. At present, we are debt free. Several years ago, we went to a zero based budget approach versus a baseline budget approach when establishing an annual village budget. That means starting from scratch and justifying each expense item each year, rather than starting from the previous year's budget and adding from there. Zero-based budgeting is more fiscally responsible.
Q: What should be the three top priorities for spending in your community during the next four years?
A: The top three spending priorities I feel should be:
-Building an additional water well to add redundancy to our system.
-Continue with the program to map every infrastructure support item in the village to locate and catalogue them in a computer program so they can be quickly found in an emergency.
-Continue the annual road resurfacing and repair program to prevent major issues.
Q: Are there areas of spending that need to be curtailed? If so, what are they?
A: The village spends significant funds on contracts that support a variety of important functions that the village is too small to provide itself. An opportunity for savings does occur when these contracts are ready for renewal. Conducting a competitive bid process or negotiating more favorable terms with existing contractors are ways we use to reduce costs.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project the community must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what project(s) can be put on the back burner?
A: Over the past several years we have been able to address many of the infrastructure needs of this village. Building an additional water well remains a major infrastructure project. While we have established a contingency fund that provides money to satisfy these other projects, drawing it down, however, to accomplish the well project would leave the village with less resources to address emergencies. Therefore, it was decided to acquire a loan to fund this project. However, it would be in a form like a home equity loan so that we would draw only those funds as needed in each phase of the project thereby paying interest on only the funds used. As our contingency fund grows, we could pay off the smaller amount left more quickly. Should financial challenges dictate, we could stretch out either the mapping program or the road resurfacing program, although there should be the funds available to continue these projects as is.
Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage local government? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions with your village board or city council.
A: My experience working on the Hainesville Board has been a positive one. This board works well together. My style is to listen to others to avoid preconceived notions and ask questions to ascertain the facts and the details to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable at those times when we might differ. Using this approach has been useful in arriving at a joint final decision.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I believe I am the best candidate for the job based on my knowledge, education, varied real-world experience and previous accomplishments. As a decorated 27-year officer in the US Army, I gained valuable experience in successfully commanding/managing large numbers of personnel, significant levels of material and great amounts of financial resources. As a business owner, I saved my clients thousands of dollars. As a Hainesville trustee, beyond my required legislative duties at board meetings, I accomplished a variety of additional duties such as the developing and managing the village's annual Civil War Event and the annual document shredding and recycling event; chairing the committee that established a village contingency fund, and writing the current village Emergency Operation Plan saving the village the $12,000 contactor cost. I represent the village on the board of the Solid Waste Agency of Lake County and have a productive relationship with other agencies as well.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Adding a hotel/motel in the village would provide adjacent accommodations for the out-of-town visitors to and participants in the various national and international competitions held throughout the year at the Northbrook Sports Club in Hainesville. Similarly, nearby corporations would have a convenient place to house out-of-town employees who come to corporate headquarters for conferences and events. There would also be a place to house visitors to village residents. The resulting expanded tax base as well as the increase in customers at locale businesses would be a boon for the village.