News 2009 Election Question Inquiry:
Why are you running for alderman? Why do you think you would/you
will continue to make a good alderman?
I am running
for Alderman to serve and give back to not only Ward 5 but the entire
city. I was brought up to put service above self and being a public
servant is an excellent way to make this happen. I will continue to
be a good Alderman by being accessible, responsive to my constituents
concerns and involved in neighborhood groups and meetings. I take
this position very seriously and I vote after carefully reviewing the
issues and weighing the impacts of my decisions.
2. What are the three
biggest issues facing the city council? Explain your answer and how
you’ll address them.
biggest issues facing the city council are:
1- Our aging
infrastructure, 2- Pensions and IMRF, 3- Declining revenues
1. Our aging
infrastructure takes in everything from the 187 miles of streets, to
the miles of sewer under them and of course bridges and the subway.
These have been ongoing and we have proactively implemented strategies
to address them. While serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee
we put a program in place which took the city from a 1000 year sewer
replacement cycle to 100 year. With the City Infrastructure
Development and Improvement Fund and MFT funds we are able to increase
the amount of overlay and oil and chip done each year. By continuing
to work with our state and federal officials funds are obtained to
help with bridge replacement and other major projects.
2. Pensions and
IMRF will continue to drive up personnel costs. As with everyone’s
investments our returns will be down significantly and thus the
amounts which must be levied will rise sharply. We need to continue
to provide the same level of service with fewer personnel, which we
just did in the reorganizing and job cuts.
revenues and an ever shrinking General Fund reserve will prove to be
another challenge. The creation of enterprise funds has helped remove
the Sewer Department and Solid Waste Department from the General
Fund. Finding additional revenue sources for the Fire Department will
also help offset the cost to the General Fund. The new TIF districts
which we have created will help spur development and thus additional
sales and property tax revenue.
3. Do you support the
city’s reorganized departments and budget cuts? What would you do
different? How would you save money elsewhere?
I do and did
support the reorganization and proposed budget cuts. In my tenure as
Alderman this isn’t the first time we have reorganized departments.
As needs and circumstances change, positions that might have been
needed previously may not be practical now. Combining positions,
streamlining departments and relying on our employees to do more, has
been successful in the past. Utilizing the skills of our employees to
do as much in house as possible also saves money. We need to continue
to review bids and proposals for insurance, etc as ways to save
4. Under the city’s
reorganization, the planning manager will work more directly with
Vermilion Advantage and Downtown Danville Inc. to facilitate economic
development and growth. How can the city specifically encourage more
development and the use of local labor?
are in place incentive programs which encourage development and the
use of local labor. The establishment of the various TIF Districts is
one program that was utilized for the Carle project and will be
utilized for the Walgreen’s relocation and DACC development. The city
also has rebate programs for using local labor on expansions and new
developments. In working with the Village Mall to keep existing
tenants and encourage new tenants, sales tax rebates are also used.
5. The city’s 2008 tax
levy is almost an 8 percent increase from last year’s. Will you
support future property tax increases? Why or why not?
No one likes
property taxes! However the city receives nothing from that levy to
operate its General Fund budget. Most of the levy goes to pay,
pensions, FICA, Bonds and the Library, all obligations required to be
funded by property taxes. Everyone has seen what the investment
market has done in the past year and the city has already received
work to be prepared for even higher mandated pension amounts which
will dramatically increase the levy. Without finding additional
revenue sources or cutting services even more, I would have to
reluctantly support a property tax increase.
6. The city cut funding
to Renaissance Danville and will oversee the organization’s goals and
objectives. What should the city’s role be with Renaissance Danville?
Renaissance was never funded at its full level and the level has
decreased annually until finally being eliminated this past year. The
program made remarkable strides in transforming a neighborhood into a
desirable place to live. The city’s role should of course be board
appointments, code enforcement and support of the West Downtown
7. A $4.75 million bond
issue will partly pay for Fairchild Subway engineering to take the
street over the railroad tracks. Do you support the massive
construction project? Why or why not?
Yes I support
this project. The subway when constructed in 1916, as today is a
vital conduit for the east/west corridor of the city with no train
interference. It is used by emergency vehicles, mass transit and the
school district as a quick and safe route. The subway supports 6
tracks of the Norfolk and Southern and CSX railroads. It is believed
the tunnel walls may have structurally failed in 1922 and they have
moved over 10 inches in that time. Bracing has been done several
times in the past twenty years to delay the end costly result of
rebuilding. This project will need federal, state and ICC
participation to move forward as the city doesn’t have the funds for
such a massive undertaking.
8. The city has started
the Jackson Street Corridor Community Design Project to improve
problems with the pavement, curb and sidewalk conditions,
intersections, vehicular speed and pedestrian accommodations. Why or
why not should this be a priority for the city?
identified as a major north- south arterial street and from various
surveys and comments received priority status. It also serves as a
major delivery street for three schools and a route to our shopping
centers. This is a project that will move forward with input from
various stakeholder groups comprised of everything from an education
committee to aesthetics committee. It is a project that will
undoubtedly have to be done in stages as a final design is presented
and funding becomes available.
9. Mayor Scott Eisenhauer
wants to amend the city’s consolidated plan to reduce the number of
public housing and Section 8 units in the city. Do you support this?
Why or why not?
the proposal and the potential impact it would have on State and
Federal Revenues, CDBG dollars, property taxes and increased vacant
structures, I would have to say maybe. There are many aspects of
Public Housing and even more with the many components of the Section 8
program, whether it is unit based or tenant based, senior based,
family unification based, etc. So again without seeing the plan and
the impact it would have on our Senior Citizens and the working poor I
would again say maybe. Since these are Federal Programs administered
by local boards and authorities and governed by HUD, I don’t know how
much authority the Mayor has other than to make board appointments.
We have a great community
made up of some wonderful people and it is my honor and privilege to
serve you as Alderman Ward 5.