Proven Results

Below is a list of actions that I consider to be some of the larger wins for residents since I became a Trustee, a period of just over four years. Some of these were initiated and developed by me while others were directions that I championed and fully supported. None of these would have been possible without agreement from the majority of the rest of the Village Board and the hard work of staff.

Abolished the vehicle sticker tax

I have many issues with this form of tax.  It was an inefficient use of staff’s time and a horrible utilization of our police force.  To make matters worse, the village had a policy in place where police were canvassing local businesses in order to write tickets. Residents commented to me on more than one occasion that they were no longer supporting local businesses over the practice. The entire tax had to go.

Lowered the (non-pension) property tax levy

There are three main components to Carpentersville’s property taxes: the daily operating levy, the debt service (bond repayment) levy and the pension levy. As chairman of the Audit & Finance commission, I strongly advocated for a freeze to the daily operating fund levy for the upcoming fiscal year. We also lowered the debt service levy, meaning with the exception of pensions we actually managed to lower the property tax levy.

Unfortunately, unfunded pension mandates handed down from the state obliterated those taxpayer gains.  This will be a continuing challenge and fight for every taxpayer advocate.

Enacted the most transparent Carpentersville government in history

When I was sworn into office, Carpentersville had a transparency score of approximately 40%. Better than some municipalities but still nowhere close to where we needed to be. At my urging, we added to full public view the spending and operating data necessary to increase that score to over 90%, winning a Sunshine Award for Transparency in the process.

We still have work to do to reach 100%, which is an ongoing goal of mine.

We also instituted a new Freedom of Information Act digital initiative that posts all requests online, saving staff and resident time with subsequent requests for the same information.

Made Village board meetings accessible to anyone, anytime

When I was sworn in, board meetings were videotaped and then replayed on a community access channel. Only Comcast subscribers had access to it and even then, only in one hour increments per week. If a board meeting lasted longer than two hours, the remainder simply was never even broadcast. If you were busy at 7PM on a Friday night, as most of us are, you missed that hour entirely.

I successfully pushed to have all board meetings livestreamed via the internet, and also archived so anyone at any time could go back and review any portion of a board meeting.

This also made it much easier for local reporters to cover board meetings, resulting in shareable news stories that reach far more residents via social media than any videotaped board meeting could have ever hoped to.

Best-in-class financial reporting of taxpayer dollars

Continuing the theme of full transparency, Village staff was recognized with GFOA and CAFR awards for our budget presentation and excellence in financial reporting.

Reduced the number of pensionable full-time employees

Full time Village staff has been reduced nearly 25%. This was accomplished without sacrificing efficiencies thanks in large part to the efforts of remaining staff and advancements in technology that automated many previously manual tasks.

Facilitated Carpentersville business growth

Growing Carpentersville’s sales tax revenue is essential to relieving overtaxed homeowners. Over the past 5 years, Carpentersville’s sales tax revenue has increased 17%. To put that in perspective, Algonquin’s sales tax revenue has increased 7% over that approximate time. This trend needs to continue.

Implemented skills-based rankings of public union employees

In our most recent Public Works SEIU contract, we managed to replace seniority-based rankings with rankings based on knowledge, skills and ability. This means that if any layoffs occur, the least knowledgeable will be let go first. It replaces the old highly inefficient system that protected lower-skilled employees simply because they had successfully managed to punch a clock longer than their colleagues.

If you know how much control public unions hold over local governments in Illinois, you’ll understand why this is a substantial step forward in value and efficiency for residents.

Reinstituted a ride-sharing service for senior citizen and disabled residents

Funding to this ride-providing service for seniors and the disabled had been discontinued by a previous board. I voted to apply video game revenue towards renewing funding so that Carpentersville’s seniors and disabled residents could once again have access to affordable transportation.

Initiated a Spring Hill Mall revitalization

This is most likely the last ‘best effort’ to revitalize Spring Hill Mall.  As consumer preferences have shifted and the internet became a primary and convenient way to shop, places like Spring Hill Mall struggled to maintain viability. Working together with West Dundee, Carpentersville was able to create a revitalization agreement that doesn’t gamble up front with our taxpayer’s dollars.

That said, I will most likely not support any further TIF incentives here beyond this agreement. I do not want Spring Hill Mall turning into the next downtown Elgin where elected officials threw good money after bad in failed attempts to swim upstream against the current of free market shopping habits.

Initiated Carpenter Park redevelopment

Carpenter Park has been an underutilized asset within the village for decades. It’s central location within walking distance of so many residents created a prime opportunity for upgrades.

A victim of the Illinois budget stalemate, construction languished for over a year. The board, correctly as it turned out, decided to stay the course as opposed to foregoing nearly half a million dollars in state grant funding.

The park is currently under budget, as well, and should be completed this Spring. The addition of a full featured park should help to increase the home values for many Old Town residents.

Kept Carpentersville free of red light cameras

East Dundee has them, West Dundee has them, Elgin has them, Algonquin and Lake in the Hills have booby trapped their entire Randall road shopping corridor with them.

I’m proud of the fact that Carpentersville remains one of the few area municipalities of any size that has said ‘no’ to red light cameras, and I will continue to fight to ensure it stays that way.

Completed Maple Avenue reconstruction

As one of the main arteries through town, Maple Avenue had fallen into disrepair to the point where business owners were mandating to their employees to take alternate routes around the pothole-strewn roadway.

The road was successfully widened, beautified with landscaping and had a bike path added that connects to Carpenter Park.

Eliminated last of Carpentersville’s blue laws

Blue laws refer to alcohol sale restrictions that communities put in place around the turn of the 20th century, typically for religious purposes.

When I became Trustee, Carpentersville still had their own blue law on the books which prohibited alcohol sales before 10AM on Sundays. Folks shopping at Woodmans would get frustrated as the liquor store was closed while everything else was open. They usually just went outside the village to purchase their alcohol, and Carpentersville residents lost out on that sales tax revenue.

I brought this to the forefront and directed staff to get our Sunday liquor sale hours in line with the rest of the week. This effectively eliminated the last of Carpentersville’s overly restrictive blue laws.

Administrator of ‘Illinois Cares About Taxpayers’ Facebook page

I have been a vocal opponent of almost every tax increase referendum over the last 16 years.

In that capacity, I am also a site administrator for the Facebook page ‘Illinois Cares About Taxpayers’.  It acts as an effective tool to mobilize grassroots opposition to the steady diet of proposed tax increases that are thrown at area residents.

Addressed human trafficking

Human trafficking is something of an unspoken epidemic in the Chicago suburbs. Illegitimate ‘massage parlors’ open and immediately devalue surrounding commercial real estate. The far greater concern is that the women providing this service are not doing it through their own free will. They are modern day slaves. The owners of these establishments withhold their immigration documentation from them and subject them to emotional and physical abuse, making it impossible for them to leave.

At my urging, Village staff has taken big steps to shut down these fronts for human trafficking, but more needs to be done. We also need to share our wins with surrounding communities so they can implement similar changes to their municipal code.

Introduced puppy mill-focused consumer protections

I never envisioned making this a priority as Trustee, however a Cook county ban on puppy mill pet shops lead me to believe that these unethical businesses wouldn’t close their doors – they would simply relocate to just outside the county line. That meant Carpentersville would be one of the logical choices. Spring Hill Mall had already hosted multiple puppy mill pet shops in the past.

I set about collaborating with an anti-animal abuse group to craft an ordinance which virtually guarantees that no puppy mill dogs or cats would be sold in Carpentersville pet shops.

Led efforts to address rush hour traffic backups

One thing we tend to undervalue is our time. We sit in unnecessary traffic backups and come to accept them as just the way things are. It doesn’t have to be that way, and there is no reason why we should accept failing intersections.

Village staff listened to the board’s concerns and for the first time I am aware of, new traffic patterns were instituted.  Feedback has been mixed but we continue to monitor and adjust in an effort to give residents a significant portion of their day back.

Opposed the Longmeadow tollway

One of the main campaign issues of my 2013 campaign for Trustee was opposition to the Longmeadow tollway. This was approx. a full year before the current opposition groups formed.

Establishing a toll to pay for regional infrastructure is a dangerous precedent to set when your neighbor to the east is Cook county. I have had several meetings with Kane county board official to voice my concern.

The link below is to my 2013 candidate survey. Note Key Issue #2.


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