My accomplishments on the City Council have centered on fiscal responsibility, maintaining a safe and family-friendly community, replacing our aging infrastructure, and addressing issues such as flooding, traffic safety and sidewalks. I support our police and fire departments and will work to maintain the City's record of public safety. I support our public library and will continue to ensure that it meets the needs of our residents.
With long term financial planning and prioritization, we can address our most urgent capital improvement projects without raising property taxes. I have consistently voted NO to increasing the property tax levy, and I voted NO to increasing the storm sewer rate and the flat fee on the City's water bill. The City is financially strong and our pension funds (police, fire and IMRF) are well funded.
The best way to ensure that the needs of our residents are met without increasing revenue is to prioritize discretionary capital projects. We need a new policy that involves gathering input from our residents, boards and commissions. Every discretionary project should be weighed against other competing projects and have widespread community support. A new policy for prioritization will allow the City to spend its limited resources more responsibly and without the need to raise taxes or fees. The City also needs to identify cost savings and efficiency improvements in each department so we can reduce the yearly increases in our operating expenses.
One of my initiatives was a rewrite of the City's policy on sidewalks. We have too many neighborhoods without sidewalks for children to walk safely to school or sidewalks that are incomplete. The old policy only addressed replacing existing sidewalks and had a resident cost sharing program that was ineffective because of lack of participation. The City continues to inspect and replace deficient sidewalks on a rotating basis, and under the new policy, the City will construct new sidewalks within a set radius of our elementary schools.
We need to continue to invest in our aging infrastructure and roads and find ways to improve our storm water management to mitigate flooding. The City recently completed flood prone area studies which the city staff will use to complete a cost-benefit analysis and make recommendations for storm water projects.
As a council member, I have advocated for more open and transparent government. I have been accessible to residents and regularly attend the monthly Coffee with Council meetings where residents can share concerns and ideas in an informal setting.
We need to ensure that the City remains a great place to live, raise a family and do business. Prior to being elected to the City Council, I served on the City's Planning and Zoning Board for six years. Over the past ten years, I have seen a lot of private investment in the City. This has expanded our tax base which will help to lessen the tax burden on our residents.