Yes, of course, opportunities to consolidate or merge services is always a goal. The city pursued the opportunity to assume the road maintenance of Naperville Township, but that did not work out. Naperville Township and Lisle Township will now combine their road services, and we’ll see if that arrangement can be sustained. (Practically speaking, merging road districts, or the city absorbing a township’s road district, means that some separate facilities and equipment could be sold, and staffs could be combined, ideally with a need for fewer employees.) As the number of miles that a township takes care of shrinks, the need for it to have its own road department diminishes. We are already cooperating with Lisle in sharing an ambulance; on March 7 the City Council voted to approve an intergovernmental agreement to allow Naperville and Aurora to transfer Aurora and North Aurora’s 911 Service to the Naperville ETSB. In DuPage County, there is a concerted effort to reduce government units. The City of Naperville is always looking for opportunities to cooperate to save money and resources when it makes sense.
Multiple efforts to make the city greener have been going on for more than a decade, some of which have become so incorporated into our daily lives that residents may take them for granted, including recycling, which has increased with the use of dedicated carts, and parking guidance systems that let people know how many parking spaces are available at our downtown decks, both for convenience and to reduce the number of trips cars have to make to find a parking space.
Other efforts are less visible, like sustainable infrastructure, including sanitary sewer lining and maintaining storm sewers. Many of our residents enjoy the annual Arbor Day tree sale; all but one of the now-mature trees in my yard has been purchased at that sale over the past 30 years, as an example of an effort that has lasted more than a generation. For decades we have encouraged cross-access as commercial areas, both for safety and to prevent additional numbers of trips in and out of traffic. We encourage the use of park-and-rides so that commuters can use the PACE buses.
Over the next ten years we will be investing in the removal of phosphorus from our wastewater, primarily caused by human urine, rather than pollution. The IEPA now requires it, although Illinois has been slower than most other states in requiring its removal. Phosphorus travels via our watershed to the Mississippi and has resulted in dead spots in the Gulf of Mexico so polluted with phosphorus that nothing will grow.
By Mom-and-Pops, I assume we are discussing independent stores rather than national or regional chains. They certainly do give towns and cities a unique character in our downtown as well as other retail areas. It’s also important to realize that many of the franchises in town are in fact mom and pop businesses in which our local families have invested. (Before my husband retired we considered doing this ourselves.) The city does not control what rents are charged, but can support independents by offering excellent utility services, including independent representation on the Downtown Advisory Commission, and assist with marketing through the Naperville Development Partnership and Convention and Visitors Bureau. I encourage mom and pops to join organizations like Indie Bound, which support local independent businesses. The Chamber of Commerce also supports many small businesses that would count as “mom and pop.”
If we are discussing the middle and high school-age population in District 203 and 204, we know this is not the case; in fact, it is the opposite. We have data from the Illinois Youth Survey dating back to 2003. Their Spring 2016 results shows that 81% of high school students had not had a drink in the past 30 days, 89% had not smoked marijuana in the past 30 days, 98% had not used over the counter medication for a non-medical reason in the past year, 97% had never used heroin. In the past 14 years, the data for Naperville students has improved significantly, as much as by 20%. Take a look at the data and compare it to the rest of DuPage County and to the rest of Illinois. It’s important to look at data, and not rely on anecdotal information or a few headline-grabbing incidents. We have had more heroin deaths and prescription drug overdoses and deaths, but they are also in an older population, and for prescription drugs, sometimes a much older population.
The city administers about $440,000 in CDBG grants (from federal funds) and $500,000 in social service grants to non-profits, a substantial portion of which goes to combat drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues. The city supports anti-drug efforts through its prescription drug drop boxes at fire stations and the police station, and the police department’s coordination with school districts and social service agencies.
It’s incumbent on the city to make sure our policies and ordinances discourage dangerous behavior from restaurant and bar patrons, and to encourage policies (such as those outlined in the Safe Celebrating guidelines promoted by the Restaurant Association and Naper Development Partnership) that prevent incidents related to alcohol consumption.
I think this question is about a proposed new SSA (Special Service Area) agreement proposed for the downtown in order to finance streetscape improvements, including sidewalk replacement and way finding signage, to be shared by the property owners and the city. There are specific blocks of the downtown that need some updating soon. We have a number of SSAs in place that already cover a shared cost of parking (to help pay for deck construction and maintenance) and existing street improvements (sidewalks, flowerpots, etc.). Usually the cost of an SSA is absorbed fully by the property owners rather than being shared by the city, but in this case the city would also benefit, so there is a preliminary proposal that the cost would be shared 50-50, like sidewalk replacements are now. This is still early in the process and has not yet been presented to the City Council. Since the cost is estimated in the millions, there will be considerable discussion before any decision about the scope of the project and cost-sharing is made. However, an SSA may also be appropriate for an area like the East Ogden corridor. Since that was originally developed so long ago, there was not much coordination of landscaping or streetscape. It could definitely use that as a shot in the arm. We are hoping some of our property and business owners in that corridor will be able to provide models for attractive streetscapes.
This is a perennial question, and of course we keep working on traffic and travel problems. The city does have a system that helps to coordinate the lights based on actual traffic patterns that is in place. For instance, in the downtown, we need to maintain Washington Street as both a road that moves traffic but allows pedestrians, including children and parents pushing strollers, to cross from one side to another without traffic moving so fast that walking downtown becomes scary. (The cars that park on Washington actually serve as a buffer for pedestrians.) Those of us who travel on Washington daily for business or pleasure do have to be patient enough and drive slowly enough so that our restaurants and shops can allow their patrons to get to their destinations safely. The new parking deck connected to the Water Street development has added spaces to downtown parking, particularly useful for people going to the restaurants and stores on the south end of the downtown and Naper Settlement. We continue to look at traffic patterns and coordinate with the county for roads like 75th Street (a DuPage County roadway). The Route 59/Route 88 diverging diamond intersection has been quite successful in moving traffic north and south safely, and most commuters who found alternate routes have been happy with the changes.
The Township consolidation proposition was originated to create greater efficiency and eliminate redundancy of road maintenance services. Numbers bear out that by merging road services, tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars can be saved. By eliminating extra equipment, personnel and maintenance facilities additional efficiency is achieved. That is why I chaired the Naperville/Aurora Residences for Lower Taxes which campaigned for the passage of the non-binding referendum.
We are already seeing that intergovernmental agreements can create efficiencies in fire and public safety services. We have entered into group buying for utilities and must continue to explore those relationships to ensure smart purchasing in the future. I see additional opportunities for sharing services for garbage and recycling pick up, yard waste pick up and disposal, as well as 911 services. These are Items I am discussing as a member of the Mayor’s Financial Advisory Board.
I applaud the City for its efforts in leading the way in developing household recycling programs, pioneering the green fuels depot, developing guidelines that allow for wind turbines in businesses, as well as encouraging incorporating solar storage in new construction. And while controversial, the installation of smart meters is the way of the future in energy savings and protecting the energy grid moving forward. We must do more to continue to be leaders in embracing new technologies for energy creation, storage and reselling.
With added recreation opportunities along the DuPage River and the expansion of the Riverwalk, it is important that we work together with the Riverwalk Commission , the Park District, the Forest Preserve District and the County to maintain clean water standards, control flooding and protect our Watershed, while working together to support education regarding littering and dumping and horticultural maintenance.
The mix of different businesses in any retail district is controlled largely by what the market will bear. Rent and available retail space will dictate more than anything who will be able to do business in a particular location. I believe we need to look at the future of retail and service business and recalibrate our space needs as technology and new ways of doing business emerge. As a City, we can promote development that offers a variety of smaller and flexible spaces for entrepreneurs, makers and “mom and pop” businesses. We can encourage incubator spaces and explore pass-along grants and incentives for small business build outs, facade improvements and capital improvements. In addition, by nurturing relationships with area colleges, work force development entities, Choose DuPage and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, we can provide educational opportunities, trained workers and greater marketing opportunities to ensure smaller businesses as greater degree of success.
As a recent graduate of Naperville’s Citizen’s Police Academy, this has shown me the incredible professionalism and dedication of our public safety team. Naperville’s force cooperates with the County and surrounding communities to help fight the heroin epidemic through training, the administering of life-saving Narcan, the development of Connect for Life and the prescription drug take-back program. The Department provides mentoring as well as education for our students in the public schools. In addition, there is great cooperation between KidsMatter, Edward Hospital, Linden Oaks, 360 Youth in educating parents and the community. I would like to see even greater community education and believe these groups and the Collaborative Youth Team are continually working on that. Our investigators continue to cooperate with other municipalities and Counties on ways to deter drug sales and trafficking in our community and we must continue to fund those initiatives.
Special Service Areas (SSAs) have long been an effective tool to help fund improvements that will contribute to the economic vitality and viability of a specific geographic district. Currently SSA’s in Downtown Naperville help fund the Van Buren Parking deck as well as downtown maintenance and joint marketing. It must be agreed to by 51% of the affected businesses in the district in order to be activated. Where economic benefit can be demonstrated and merchants buy in, it could be a powerful tool in other areas. However, where large absentee owners control large areas of property, the likelihood of getting buy-in in questionable.
I am concerned that we must continue to find ways to promote more efficient, cost effective transportation throughout the community, while making the most of parking resources. We need to be examining fuel efficient small-scale people moving within the central core and to satellite locations like 5th Avenue, the colleges, Edward, Fox Valley etc. It might be possible to look at electric car-shares that might be rented by the hour and picked up and dropped off at hubs around the community for short trips around town. Based on continual study and reliable models utilized by the City, I believe we have enough parking in the downtown; we need to convince people that they can park and walk a few blocks to their destination. We need to continue to look at the efficiency and locations of central parking facilities, commuter parking and outlying “kiss and ride” options as the community and traffic patterns change.
Yes, only if it makes fiscal sense and only if there is overwhelming support in the consolidating communities. Even, if both of the above conditions are true, these are very important issues. The process should be followed fully. All stakeholders should be included, with ample availability for numerous venue and options for community comment. If consolidation makes fiscal sense, and the community is overwhelming in support, then the city of Naperville and the other governing body should move forward. It not, then the city of Naperville and the consolidating community should not move forward.
My career includes many projects in the sustainability business sector. My career includes global program manager for converting a FRIEGHTLINER diesel engine over to natural gas, the environmental officer for my company, a member of the steering community for the city's sustainable energy grant committee, and chairman of the chamber of commerce sustainability form. Through the electrical company the city has many sustainable energy programs. As a councilman, I' ve promoted the electrical charging stations for electric vehicles, as well as promoted a natural gas fueling station for natural gas powered vehicles.
Together with the Downtown Naperville Alliance, the Naperville Development Partnership, and the Chamber of Commerce, the city works hard to promote downtown Mom-and-Pop businesses. There are special taxing area called SSA, that help pay for free parking in the down town, and numerous events are always happening in downtown Naperville. All of these are positive actions the city is already doing to attract and keep local business in Naperville.
This is a major concerns for all families and residents. I've attended many presentations through many charitable organizations focused on combating illegal drug use. The police are focuses not on treating those afflicted as criminals, but rather as people with an addiction who need medical attention and mental counseling. I will continue to support education through the combined efforts of schools, charities, health professionals, and the police.
One of the most noticeable areas in need of economic development is along Ogden Ave. The old K-mart site has been underdeveloped for years. I propose a two prong solution.
Many seniors and empty nesters are looking to downsize from single family housing. We should look into converting the old K-mart shopping area, and other neglected properties into town homes, condo's and apartments for those looking to downsize. This type of housing could also attract many younger families who currently maybe priced out of the Naperville community.
The second is to create new jobs. Many office complexes along Diehl and Warrenville road are available or even empty. By bringing in technologies based companies, we can create jobs for the next generation of Naperville. These employees will then shop and eat along Odgen, creating economic activity, and thus more economic investment along Ogden.
In order to move traffic quicker through downtown the city is investing in smart technologies for traffic light signals along Washington Ave. Additionally, by developing more shopping and entertainment areas in both the north and south areas of Naperville, will allow for more choices and opportunities to avoid traffic and crowded venues.
I believe it is critical that all government entities find more mays to share costs and partner with one another. I believe it is without question that there are substantial savings to be saved through the consolidation of highway services. I believe there are any number of other partnership opportunities available between our City and either Will County or DuPage County. For example I believe animal control costs and police protection in unincorporated areas present opportunities to cost share with either County. We have explored a number of partnership opportunities with Aurora as to radio dispatch. We should continue these efforts. The cost of government has become extremely onerous and our tax burden is simply unsustainable. The only way we will make meaningful reductions in our tax burden is to decrease the size of government, prioritize partnering amongst entities, and exert leadership by pushing to find ways to share costs and reduce the heavy real estate tax burden that is placed on our residents.
Naperville is now financially planning for a very substantial investment in clean water through a capital project that will remove phosphorus from the DuPage River. This project might cost in excess of $50 million dollars and is required by the Illinois EPA. Once completed, it will dramatically improved the water quality of the DuPage River. This is a very significant step toward protecting the DuPage River and the fish and wildlife that depend upon it.
I believe much more could be done. First and foremost, on-line retailers often do not pay their fair share of sales taxes and therefore benefit from a competitive advantage which is causing serious damage to our brick and mortar retailers (the smaller ones in particular). We need to pressure Washington to finally advance meaningful legislation that ends the unfair advantage that on-line retailers have over brick and mortar businesses in the area of sales tax collection.
Secondly, we do have an economic development arm (NDP) that our City works closely with to promote Naperville to the business community. We need to reinforce the ideal that we value and desire small and unique businesses in our community. We need these businesses as means to protecting our City charm. We should not look solely to recruit national chains. We need mom and pop stores and we need to do everything we can to attract them to Naperville.
Naperville should do more to promote its many not-for-profits and civic leaders whom work in this arena. As an attorney that practices in the Naperville area, I have worked with families impacted by drugs abuse. They often have no idea where to begin to look for help. Naperville is blessed to have countless not-for-profits of very high quality that assist people and families whom are struggling with a drug-related issues. These groups need to be better known and we should do what we can to make sure our residents take full advantage of these local resources. I would like to see these groups better promoted on our website and social media.
If the impacted property owners support this concept, as most of the downtown property owners do, I think this could be a great way to improve areas in Naperville that are in need of capital improvements (East Ogden being one prime example). As I would be very hesitant to involve public money in projects that are largely designed to benefit private business, the financial commitment and support of the impacted property owners would be paramount to advance this idea. I would not favor taxing these businesses for such improvements absent their heavy input, and ideally, large support for this idea.
I believe we could improve signage directing residents to our various parking garages. This would be an easy first step toward improving both congestion and parking problems. We have also discussed the development of a parking "ap" for iphone use that could be downloaded by residents and used to give real time information as to where open parking spots are located. This could make parking easier to find and reduce congestion in our downtown. Lets better leverage technology to assist in the effort to make parking easier in Naperville.
Naperville should be out of the electricity business. Rising costs and a contract that holds us captive for decades will continue to hurt our residents and businesses in the pocketbook and threaten the long term health of Naperville’s economy. This is irresponsible to the taxpayers.
Second, there are six townships that cover portions of Naperville. Each township is responsible for:
1. General assistance for the indigent;
2. The assessment of real property for the basis of local taxation;
3. Maintenance of all roads and bridges outside federal, state and other local jurisdictions.
Given there are six different governing bodies, I would look across each of these townships and identify the providers of the highest value at the lowest cost. From there, I would look at the best practices from each and see if is possible to leverage the lessons learned.
Naperville can become a “greener” city by discontinuing burning leaves. The City purchased an incinerator, which it uses to burn the leaves after they are swept off the street and vacuumed up. Then the streets need to be washed. This process uses fuel to operate the incinerator and equipment , employee costs to operate the machinery to collect the leaves, water to wash the streets and creates pollution that is very dangerous for many health conditions. Leaves should be composted, or left to nature so that they may nourish the soil. Also, natural plantings along the banks of our waterways and retention ponds are critical for healthy eco system. Sterile banks do not provide the nutrients needed for life and wildlife in our waters. This will also help the city to reduce the phosphorus levels in our water. We should incorporate landscape options that could reduce our mowing in the parks and cut back on employee costs, fuel and pollution.
High cost of rent and other expenses in Naperville are a difficult obstacle for the Mom-and-Pop businesses throughout the city. We need to understand the cost/benefits of city regulations and look for ways to reduce and/or mange the impact these regulations have on raising the cost of doing business in Naperville. Choosing new development and improvements that have a provable and trackable positive cost benefit will go far in wisely using city resources. We should remember that planning should account for the inevitability of times when the economy will weaken. Our businesses need to be able to withstand these challenging times and this will help us to sustain a healthy local economy.
Give our Police and Fire Departments the resources that they need to focus on apprehending the drug dealers and stopping the supply of drugs into the City. Focus on the businesses and location that frequently require police intervention, work with the owners to address and solve the problem. All neighborhoods in Naperville expect a safe and healthy environment and the citizenry will step up to assist if necessary by providing communication and reporting. Provide further resources and support to our excellent social service organizations that provides intervention, rehabilitation and medical care assistance and family support systems. Naperville citizens are generous and donate hours of their time to others. Given more opportunity, more will give, and the families in the community will benefit with greater public health and safety resources.
I do not support any new taxes. This type of tax will impact the retail operations in Naperville and many customers will choose to visit other city malls. Further, I have not seen a cost benefit analysis that justifies these taxes. Other areas of Naperville need to be addressed, such as the Ogden corridor and the south side of the city which have many empty commercial properties. Improvements would bring in new tenants, tax receipt contributions and improve the appearance of these areas. Unfunded capital improvements should be compared with making strides toward paying our underfunded pensions rather than adding additional debt burdens to the taxpayers. There is a need to focus on the unfunded pension obligations of $157 million (as of December 2015) for our police, fire and government employees.
The parking problem may subside with the increase in the use of Uber and other methods of taxi service. The Tuk Tuk shuttles are very popular and add a distinct charm to Naperville and we could expand that service from other lots. Naperville should have more right turn lanes at intersections. We should also have flashing red left turn lights during non-peak hours. These are used in other locations and they are very effective. Lights need to be better timed, perhaps through improved automation, particularly in downtown Naperville.
Naperville consistently searches for opportunities to consolidate services. The City provides high quality services to our residents. Many of the government entities in our area maintain budgets and attempt to provide services at the same levels as they many years ago. Until the 1970s, Naperville was a small town surrounded by unincorporated areas. DuPage and Will Counties and the Townships provided vital services. Public safety, road maintenance land planning were all provided by these governments and their agencies. The County Sheriffs' provided police protection and the Townships maintained and plowed most of the roads in areas that are now Naperville. Currently, our fire department is working with surrounding communities to work on streamlining fire protection services. The roads that were once plowed by the townships have been annexed into the City. Our neighbors are no longer large farms, but other communities with their own police departments. Both DuPage and Will County should allow and compensate Naperville for providing police service to the vey small unincorporated pockets within our City boundaries. Naperville police can respond more quickly and more efficiently to any emergency that occurs in these unincorporated areas. We need our County and Township elected officials to recognize that the municipalities can now provide public safety and road maintenance services more efficiently and more cost-effectively.
Naperville has long been a leader in environmental awareness. Naperville has just renewed its operating permits for our wastewater treatment facility. We will now be required to remove more materials from our discharge into the DuPage River. The quality of the DuPage River will continue to gradually improve as these changes are implemented. New stormwater management facilities being constructed are encouraged to include natural plantings which filter the runoff before stormwater runs into retention ponds. These natural plantings also serve to attract wildlife to the area and balance our ecosystem. Many areas along the Riverwalk have been improved with natural plantings that serve the same function.
We maintain and operate a household hazardous waste recycling center. This center removes toxic substances from our waste system in a safe manner. Materials that at one time may have been poured down the drain or into a storm sewer are now conveniently disposed of safely.
Naperville has long been a pioneer in recycling and maintains a robust recycling program. The recycling participation rate in our community far exceeds the averages in other cities.
As society migrates away from gasoline powered combustion engines, Naperville has also taken the lead in providing infrastructure for future energy sources for automobiles. We have built electric charging stations in several areas as a convenience to drivers of electric cars. We will soon be completing a compressed natural gas fueling station.
Finally, Naperville maintains and should continue to maintain an aggressive information campaign about our environment and the many services Naperville provides to help maintain a clean and healthy environment.
Naperville maintains a robust downtown and areas in the south part of the City are also developing strong and diverse retail opportunities. There is no shortage of people looking to shop and dine in Naperville. Starting a small business in any community is a challenging proposition. Many of the challenges facing a n entrepreneur are beyond the City's control. The cost of capital and the impact of the internet are some of the many obstacles that must be navigated. Rental rates are beyond the control of the City Council. These rates tend to increase as surrounding businesses thrive.
While many factors that lead to retail success are beyond the control of the City, we do control our zoning and permitting process. Our current ordinances are poorly designed to address these issues. The City needs to modernize its processes in recognition of the challenges. The current process is expensive and time consuming. Too often, Naperville has difficulty finding a path to "Yes". Naperville needs to recognize the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and work streamline the approval process.
Solving drug abuse is really a community effort. Children need to be educated at an early as to the life-threatening dangers of drug use. Parents need to understand the challenges faced by our young people. The internet and social media provide an entirely new and hidden method of luring children into dangerous situations. Many Naperville not-for-profit organizations provide educational programs for families. Naperville first responders carry Narcan to provide life saving treatment to individuals suffering a heroin overdose. The problem extends far beyond Naperville though. Resolving this serious issue requires coordinated efforts between public safety officials throughout the Chicago area as they seek to identify the sources of these drugs.
These improvements would be funded in part through a special service area in downtown that would replace an expiring program. In order for the project to proceed, more than fifty percent (50%) of the downtown property owners would be required to vote to create the special service area. If the property owners vote to create the special service area, the project would proceed, funded by a tax on the downtown properties. Otherwise it would not move forward. The decision whether to proceed therefore rests with the property owners.
A special service area is a common tool used by property owners to pay for expensive improvements. Rather than have the government entity impose a tax to pay for the improvements, the property owners vote to impose the tax on themselves. It is an ideal tool from a governmental perspective because property owners choose the improvements they want and choose to pay taxes today for them.
Naperville has worked for many years to reduce traffic problems. The implementation of a computerized traffic management system in Washington Street will hopefully shorten delays. Many of the congested roads and intersections are beyond the jurisdiction of Naperville. The State of Illinois and DuPage and Will Counties have jurisdiction over many of the more heavily travelled roads. Naperville recently received funding from the IDOT to improve Route 59 from the I-88 interchange to Fox Valley. Travel times have improved as result of these improvements. Ogden Avenue, another state road, is in need of significant improvements in the area near the Raymond Road/North Aurora Road intersection to Route 59. Unfortunately, IDOT is unlikely to fund these improvements in the near future. The State has well documented financial problems and IDOT's attitude is that Naperville has received enough funding for now.
Recent downtown parking studies suggest that parking is getting tighter. However, the City built a new parking deck in conjunction with the Water Street Development. Before working on a new parking deck or improving an existing parking deck, Naperville ought to review the impact of the fully-occupied Water Street properties on the new deck.
Combining road services is clearly the service that most people are talking about. Naperville can save taxpayer money by combining road services such as cleaning, snow removal, and repairs. This has already been proposed for Naperville and Lisle Townships. We should work with other township like Wheatland and DuPage to see if there are cost savings and efficiencies available that would benefit to both sides. Paper services is an area our school districts have combined and the same can be done with Naperville and our neighboring municipalities. As a Commissioner on the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, I can attest that we are already looking at combining emergency dispatch services with the City of Aurora in an effort to save money and improve emergency services. Finally, we need to seriously look at combining water services with some of our neighboring municipalities. Specifically, the federal government has mandated that all municipalities become compliant with clearing phosphorus from the water sources that supply water to our city. This is estimated to cost the city $50M to build a plant to meet compliance standards. We need to look at our neighbors to share in this burden which would potentially lower the cost for each of the governing bodies.
The City is trying to educate the public on our environment by developing effective strategies such as seeking opportunities to partner with other agencies to reach environmental goals and by identifying opportunities that provide incentives to residents and businesses that our socially responsible. The SMART Grid initiative is a good example of establishing energy efficiency for our residents and saving them money in the process. As stated in the prior question, we have been mandated by the federal government to purify phosphorous from the city’s water supply. The city has already looked at raising the water rates to our residents in order to set aside resources for the $50M future phosphorus purification plant. This is expected to cover half the cost of the project. The other half will more than likely come from referendum or deficit spending. Educating the public on the use of salt conservation is important to sustaining our waterways as well. Understanding how to apply salt during the winter is one example in appreciating how to preserve our water supply.
Through the Chamber of Commerce, emphasize and market to the community the importance of buying local products and services. Print ads of Naperville that show our local small businesses would be a good example of this. Other things we could do as a city would be to streamline the process to make it easier for a small business to start by having resources available which offers step by step instructions to start and incorporate a business. Finally, the city could look at opportunities to assist small businesses by connecting them to financial institutions who could provide start-up loans to help them get started or to help them expand their businesses which would provide job opportunities to our residents.
I would like to see continued effort put into attacking the heroin and opioid epidemic that is plaguing DuPage and Will Counties. The formation of a Task Force would be a great initiative to address this concern. 2015 saw a 50% increase from the previous year in heroin related deaths and the number skyrocketed to 78% from 2016 to 2017. This task force could focus on educating our public with a special emphasis on our youth. The task force would work closely with our law enforcement personnel as well as the fire department to help eradicate this threat from our community. Working with groups such as 360 Youth Services and Kids Matter would also go a long toward solving this issue by offering prevention education to mitigate this threat to our kids.
Although we have some of the highest property taxes (primarily based on our high property values) in the state, we actually have one of the lowest sales tax percentages in the area. The sales tax increase is barely noticeable to the consumer and the increase is still less than most of our comparison cities. I don’t have a problem with this minimal increase especially understanding that a large percentage of this increased would be paid by non-Naperville residents who are simply in town to take advantage of our retail stores and restaurants. The extra funding can be used for various projects and improvements around Naperville; thus helping to improve the quality of life for our residents.
Traffic and congestion were the number one issue to our residents based off the recent city survey. This directly affects business because people simply don’t want to deal with the traffic. They find it easier to shop from home instead of going to our local retail stores. This negatively effects sales for our businesses and also prevents the city from collecting sales tax revenues from those sales. This accounts for some of the empty business spaces we find throughout Naperville. Improving our road networks to include widening of streets, fixing pot holes, and increasing public transportation options and efficiencies are potential solutions to this issue. There may be more parking available than what is perceived. This is primarily because the parking garages are not conducive for those shoppers who simply need to make a ten minute stop at one of our local businesses. Many residents feel it is simply an inconvenience to walk an exceptional distance to do a relatively simple shopping task. Finally, the Water Street parking garage will definitely improve the parking downtown and will offset the number of visitors this new area is expected to bring in. It will also accommodate parking for the Naper Settlement.
I am all in for reduced and limited government. The residents of Naperville overwhelmingly voted to merge township government. Naperville township has approximately 15 miles of township road and Lisle township has about 54 miles of roads. It would make sense that one township would work for the other to reduce the costs. I was involved in Wheatland township and our fight to reduce the size of our township footprint. A group called "We the People" coalesced and defeated the construction of a $2.1 million town hall building.
Naperville is a dynamic and vibrant city and our population continues to grow.
The State of Illinois has over 7,000 units of government. Looking at my tax bill we have a college district, park district, library district, school district, forest preserve district, road district etc. It's safe to say there are overlaps that can and should be examined.
Naperville is in the forefront of a green community. We were one of the first communities to initiate curb side recycling. We then moved onto smart meters which many residents might utilize to reduce their energy costs. However, the software has not been introduced to the residents to reduce their energy costs. Over the next few years the city will be replacing nearly every metal halide light fixtures to high output led. The up front costs will be made up quickly in electricity costs.
The DuPage river is vital to our downtown district. Many people consider Naperville and the river area a destination location. Water management is critical to Napervilles economic boom. As a down stream community we need to monitor our section a river to ensure it is safe and healthy. As a graduate from NIU with a degree in Biology I am keenly aware of our river ecosystem.
As a resident of Naperville for 25 years the downtown area has seen many changes. Gone are the days of inexpensive store fronts in the downtown district. Many mom and pop businesses cannot afford the start up costs and the increased regulations to get up and running. The city must understand the risks many owners take by opening their doors and make efforts to help in all means possible. We need to make these areas affordable. Once I'm elected to the City Council, I'll propose a Naperville Revitalization Plan by working with residents and businesses across the whole City. I will focus on areas outside the downtown , like the Ogden corridor and Route 59.
I believe increased education is the key to tackling the heroin problem in our community. We have to understand that the youth in Naperville are bombarded with peer pressure and the need to fit in. The destruction or death caused by heroin should be message echoed to all youth. Let them see the net result of dependency and their opinions will change.
I do not want to see any new taxes and would not support any increases to the already strapped residents. If we want mom and pop shops to re locate to Naperville we need to reduce taxes. I feel the ambiance and atmosphere still have that small town kick. Families with their children walking along the street with the smell of popcorn in the air greet many coming to the downtown area. We need to keep that small town feeling. More tax and more operating expenses imposed on the downtown businesses will drive many mom and pop shops from the downtown corridor. the right approach is to spread out the prosperity to multiple areas within Naperville. This approach is fair, smart and sustainable.
I would not support this proposal for other areas of the city.
Naperville's traffic management system is due to come on line soon. Many North South routes are mainly congested during peak travel times. The current Washington street traffic management is being run efficiently. In the near future we might go to a system they have in Atlanta. They utilize one way traffic patterns at peak travel times.
Parking will always be an issue in the downtown district. Many businesses understand the situation and are effectively dealing with the parking issues. I would oppose borrowing to build more parking decks downtown. Taxpayers are tapped out and the current City Council has the answer, increase our garbage fees, increase our sales tax, increase our water rates, increase our waste water rates and increase our electric rates. When is enough, enough?