Currently, I work in the Information Technology field, and have extensive experience in accounting and finance, and I teach part-time. I have degrees are in finance and economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. A huge portion of governing is planning and budgeting, and my training and work experience give me insight into the long term effects of financial decisions made by the government. My first job out of college was FDIC Bank Examiner (a form of auditor), where I learned about the critical need for financial responsibility in government and business. What further qualifies me to serve on the Naperville City Council is my experience in governing. I am currently serving as an elected Naperville D203 School Board member. During my term, D203 has maintained its outstanding reputation for academic achievement, and lowered property taxes for residents and businesses; and as I step down, I am leaving a healthy surplus for the next board. Naperville uses a council-manager form of government. The City Manager handles the day-to-day operation of the city so the City Council can focus on governing. This is similar to how District 203 is managed by a Superintendent so the Board can set goals, make policy, work the budget, etc. I have worked within this framework for four years, and I understand many of the advantages and limitations.
Naperville needs financially sound leadership to support the citizens of Naperville during our struggle to weather the pandemic and rebuild our lives and town. A recession is projected, and my background in accounting and audit could be essential to working through tough budgeting decisions. While on the D203 board, we permanently cut the levy and called for the first refund (in process) in the history of the district, all while leaving a healthy surplus and maintaining academic performance. It is my goal not only to survive, but to thrive as a stronger and more united city.
Naperville can assist its residents in these difficult times most effectively and efficiently through existing city services. I support the Executive Order from the Naperville City Council and Mayor to relax ordinances to help provide financial relief to residents and businesses affected by the pandemic. I would consider more measures that might be processed through utilities such as electricity and water that can be implemented quickly and efficiently, and would be available to many residents and businesses.
As a Naperville City Council member, I would support affordable housing and work toward achieving compliance with federal and state laws. I have only been exposed to a small amount of the existing legislation and regulation (mostly from watching Naperville City Council meetings), but what I have seen is very complicated and appears to be geared to a “one size fits all” approach into which it is hard to shoehorn a city such as Naperville. The budgets of both D203 and the City of Naperville have some growth assumptions integrated into the revenue numbers, so business development is part of the plan. I propose that Naperville needs to proceed slowly, so that each development proposal can be thoroughly reviewed in a way that allows stakeholders to have their concerns heard. This will give developers the opportunity to address many concerns in advance, to avoid conflicts. If we do this proactively, it may be easier to find common ground and compromises.
The city of Naperville has already felt the effects of the pandemic its the tax base and now has a budget deficit of more than $10,000,000. Due to financially responsible leadership, Naperville's bond rating is outstanding and we should be able to borrow money to cover deficits at a reasonable cost (low interest). Naperville can assist its residents in these difficult times most effectively and efficiently through existing city services. I support the Executive Order from the Naperville City Council and Mayor to relax ordinances to help provide financial relief to residents and businesses affected by the pandemic. I would consider more financial relief measures that might be processed through utilities such as electricity and water that can be implemented quickly and efficiently, and would be available to many residents and businesses.
A significant non-financial impact of the pandemic is the problem of mental health. Our mental health treatment facilities are currently overburdened and the city needs to provide early warning education and outreach so people can get the help that they need.
Traffic has been lessened for most during the pandemic. Telecommuting may be here to stay for many workers as we evolve post pandemic. My priority would be areas that are experiencing growth and development. The city of Naperville just approved a traffic toolkit to assist with traffic relief, and I would lean on that to discover hotspots that need attention. Lastly, existing projects for the Washington street bridge and the North Aurora train station area could provide additional relief to existing traffic flow problem areas.
I hold both a master’s in mechanical engineering (MSME) and an MBA. I have published papers on automotive engineering design. I also hold both the six-sigma black belt from the American Society of Quality (ASQ) and the Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Both certifications represent the highest level of achievement within their respective professions. Additionally, I am an award-winning professor of Economics and Finance at North Central College, Benedictine University, and Concordia University.
I have served two terms as a city councilman and am seeking my final term. The generations before made Naperville a great community. We must continue their work. It is our responsibility to today’s new challenges together. Moving forward is paramount to keeping Naperville one of the best places to live and work in America.
I serve on the Financial Advisory Board and continue to fight for the reduction of public debt. I have led the way in the repayment of over $60 million dollars of debt, resulting in annual savings of over $4 million. I am a strong voice for the robust financial principles that resulted in our AAA bond ratings with level property taxes.
I have worked with sustainability leaders throughout Naperville for over the past 10 years. In 2020, I initiated and championed the city’s sustainability task force (N.E.S.T), and in 2020, I secured a new full time sustainability manager during budget negotiations for 2021.
I have learned firsthand the hard work both our police department and fire department do to keep us safe. The fire department conducts a training day known as Firefighting 101. I’ve worn the protective suit, operated a fire house, and swung an axe. It is not for the faint of heart. The training increased my understanding of the needs of the fire department in their pursuit to keep us all safe.
I have also participated in many ride-along with our police patrols. I firmly stand with our police both figurative and literally. The night of the June 1st riot last summer, I was there. Depending on the movements of the night, at times I was less than 20 yards behind the police lines. In partnership with police leadership, I have championed crisis intervention training for as many of 25 officers. Lastly, I’ve championed an increase of $ 3 million for police body cameras, and other training to ensure our police department has the necessary tools to remain one of the most professional in the nation.
Naperville has a portfolio of housing needs. The needs of a young professional just starting out in life are one set of needs. A young couple starting a family have another set of housing need, as do growing families, maturing families, empty nesters, retires, seniors who simply want to downsize, and seniors who may need a little extra help to get through the day. So, if Naperville has a portfolio of housing needs, we must have a portfolio of housing solutions.
I have worked alongside Dawn DeSart, DuPage County Commissioner, and together we have conducted community town halls to hear from the community. Personally, I live by myself in a single family four-bedroom house. I want to stay in Naperville, but most option for downsizing include up budgeting. I, like many others would like to downsize and down budget, but Naperville offers few options. So attainable housing for our seniors, young professionals starting out, and for our teachers and first responders is paramount to keeping Naperville a strong community of Neighbors helping neighbors.
The Covid pandemic has affected everyone in many and unpredictable ways. The concerns are physical health, mental health, and restarting our economy.
The Covid pandemic has infected millions and taken over 400, 000 American lives. There is conflicting information from both national and state health authorities. However, there is great optimism and hope that the vaccines can be deployed with the greatest of speed. However, until this can be accomplished, everyone should follow the CDC guidelines of wearing a mask, keeping 6 ft apart, and washing our hands often.
Even before the COVID pandemic, many of us are becoming more and more aware of the mental health concerns throughout our community. Now, social isolation has made these concerns even more prevalent. I have met with local mental health officials from Linden Oaks, the National Awareness of Mental Illness (NAMI), and SamaraCare. By championing new grants for mental health initiatives and police crisis intervention training, we can address the ongoing and growing concern of mental health.
Re-starting the Economy
Social isolation caused by the Covid pandemic has also greatly damaged our economy. Many are unemployed. Additionally, small local retailers and restaurants have been badly hurt. I continue to meet with and listened to many small business and local restaurant owners to brainstorm possible solutions. The City of Naperville owns both the electric and water utilities, and both have sustainable financial reserves. I continue to work with city staff on programs to delay monthly utility payments for struggling businesses and residents who are unemployed.
Traffic has been a major concern for the city Naperville for many years. I have championed more use and accessibility to bicycling. Through the increased focus on sustainability, it is now city policy to review any new road construction for the addition of bike lanes.
No one knows what the true long-term effects of COVID will be. However, we have all learned how to work remotely, form home. Will this trend continue? I think we can all agree that the traditional 5-day work week in an office will be forever changed. This may reduce traffic. Additionally, I have always been a big believer in right hand and left-hand turn lanes at major and minor intersections. It has been my experience that getting through major intersection is the greatest restriction to traffic flow. Turn lanes also are less expensive than major street re-builds.
I have a Bachelor's degree in Science, and Masters's in Literature. I am Six Sigma and PMP Certified. Specialized in Information systems. Successfully graduated from several leadership programs across the Nation. CLER 2020- The Policy Circle, Lincoln Fellow 2019- Lincoln Series, and Leadership 2014: NACC Leadership Institute.
I bring my passion for public service, and tenacity to build strong alliances to benefit the Naperville community. I currently serve as a Commissioner on the Naperville Sister Cities Commission, an advisor on The Loaves & Fishes Community Advisory Council, and on the Indian Community Outreach Organization Board. After moving to Naperville in 2004, Mayor Pradel inspired me to get involved in the community. With that inspiration I spend hundreds of volunteer hours every year supporting local non-profit and youth programs, teaching value-driven leadership, and actively advocating for the wellbeing of youth. I served as PTSA president at Neuqua, and as a D204 STEM advocate. I have served on the 360-Youth Services CAP program and the Kids Matter board of trustees. I have been on Rotary and on the board of Naperville Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, I have promoted unity among diverse peoples in Naperville through programs by the Think Global Arts Foundation, and the Naperville Sister Cities Commission.
After 20+ years of working for Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Getronics, and Siemens ensuring high-quality execution of organizational business services, I focused on my small business to provide leadership development and project management services. My professional and community service experiences will be a great asset to the city council. People want the community to be safe, equitable development, and for a proper post-Covid-19 economic recovery for our businesses. I understand the needs of this community. Now, I would like to continue to serve all the constituents as the next elected City Councilwoman.
I am an optimist and always focus on solutions rather than pondering about problems. We are a very resilient community; we can turn the challenges we are facing into opportunities, even during a pandemic. Our top priorities should include ushering in a quick post-pandemic recovery, protecting the mental health and safety of our citizens, and ensuring equitable development to meet the needs of a diverse community.
I severed on the Naperville Chamber of Commerce board and on the Financial Committee and am still part of the Business Works Steering Committee which advocates for our local businesses. As a part of the Indian Community Outreach Commission, I promoted economic development and job creation by encouraging businesses such as Patel Brothers and the Mall of India to establish in Naperville. These experiences will help the council maximize the economic recovery in the post-Covid era.
During this past year, the mental health of our citizens, especially our youth, has taken a significant hit. We need to make sure mental health prevention programs are well-funded and properly implemented through collaboration with local organizations such as Linden Oaks.
This phase of the pandemic and the prospect of an eventual post-pandemic world will bring opportunities. ¬The post-pandemic is expected to bring a windfall of unspent consumer income, and it is important that people are spending this money in Naperville to boost our local economy. It is vital that we take advantage of these moments to have a full return to normalcy. Naperville has been a thriving and vibrant community. We will ensure this reputation for the future by working together, valuing our diversity, and supporting those most in need.
My goal as a city council member is to be the strongest advocate for Naperville residents and listening to their recommendations and concerns will be a priority of mine. My husband and I moved to Naperville over 16 years ago because we knew this community was the best place to raise our children. We need responsible business development to address areas of improvement.
Naperville continues to attract families from all walks of life because of the great school systems, employment opportunities, and amenities. This creates housing challenges for our growing community. Currently, Naperville has a 7.5% affordable housing rate, just under the 10% state-mandated municipality rate. To bridge the gap, I strongly believe that we must look at ways of balancing the affordable housing shortage with responsible development so it does not burden our current infrastructure and school districts. More input from stakeholders is required to strike a balance and ensure we create more opportunities for those seeking affordable housing options.
One of the popular proposals is a planned unit development. It is a type of building development with a regulatory process to address the need for affordable housing. This type of building development groups both varied and compatible land uses to provide housing, recreation, commercial centers, and industrial parks, all within one contained development or subdivision. If implemented mindfully, small businesses can benefit greatly by increasing employment.
Naperville is not immune to the effects of the crisis created by the global pandemic. According to city officials, the loss of sales revenues from retail stores, local restaurants, bars, hotels, and other businesses across the city could result in a sizeable budget deficit. This is compounded by neighborhood businesses having to lay off or reduce hours for workers in addition to struggling to pay rent.
This will create ripple effects if we do not intervene immediately. To help curb the impact of the pandemic, we can identify these trends to leverage our strong financial base in the coming months. Naperville revenues were additionally affected by reductions in state shared taxes, the motor fuel tax, the transportation renewal fund, local use taxes, and the personal property replacement tax.
Due to budget constraints, many new programs and additions were not included in the 2021 budget. By recommendation of the city council, however, the 2021 budget included $115,000 for a diversity, equity, and inclusion manager and startup expenses for the program. This program takes high priority and addresses current concerns regarding affordable housing, equity, and equality. Despite the tight budget, Naperville remained committed to its citizens and continued to deliver high-quality services.
If elected, I will listen to all stakeholders and consider their recommendations to find the best solutions as well as implement post-pandemic plans to ensure that residents and small business owners can get back to financial normalcy. In the meanwhile, the city will have to look at projects that can be postponed until we return to pre-pandemic revenue levels and assess how we can modernize the government to lower operating costs.
I have had many conversations with residents from all across Naperville, and traffic is often one of the top concerns. The city has so far taken proactive steps to reduce traffic congestion by synchronizing traffic signals on busy roads and intersections. Since I moved to Naperville 16 years ago, the city has gone through exponential growth, and with that comes new challenges to manage such development.
I recommend prioritizing and predicting required infrastructure before any new development becomes approved to prevent further traffic issues in the future. I support many of the city’s current efforts including engaging a consultant specialized in traffic engineering to not only evaluate our traffic needs but also advise on measures to effectively implement any improvements.
Another issue facing Naperville residents is the expanding noise pollution caused by speeding vehicles in quiet, residential neighborhoods. I am optimistic of the City Council’s approval of the traffic calming toolkit to implement a speed reduction plan to resolve these concerns. Naperville's comprehensive master plan prioritizes traffic issues affecting the community. It is a step forward in the right direction to address our infostructure needs. Providing better alternatives to driving such as providing safe options for walking, biking, taking public transportation can help reduce traffic congestion in addition to reducing stress caused by traffic-related issues.
The upcoming 248th Avenue Improvement and Downtown Washington Street Bridge Replacement Projects will significantly improve the residential neighborhood and downtown-related congestion and convenience issues.
My 16+ years as a project manager would help ensure such projects are adequately funded and completed on time. I would implement a continuous process improvement methodology to maximize returns for Naperville citizens.
Between my 10 years with the USDA and my 20+ years with the US Navy I have a total of over 30 years experience in government management and leadership. So I am very familiar with the rules governing government spending, procurement, human resources, logistics, regulations and promulgating changes in regulations.
My MBA with 25 years of experience managing a business in Naperville provides me with insights and experience in running a business in the private sector. As well as familiarity with how Naperville city ordinances and policies effect business operations in our community.
My 25 years of experience in Naperville's Volunteer and Charity community has given me a well rounded perspective on the needs of the various social groups that make up our community and the values of our community.
And over 20 years of activism and engagement with city council and PZC meeting has given me a strong familiarity with the inner working of our local government at the elected office level.
I believe I can draw on this great depth of knowledge, experiences and prospective to be a significant asset on city council as a balanced advocate for both the city's residents and its business community.
The Pandemic has caused a great deal of economic decline in our community. We need to motivate people to get back out and start shopping and dining local as restrictions on these activities are scaled back.
One possible way would be for the city to adopt the “menard’s rebate” model. Basically local businesses, restaurants, etc. would be provided coupons they would give customers base on the amount of their purchase. These coupons could then be redeemed at city hall for a downtown gift card. Hopefully the downtown gift card program can be expanded to included businesses in other parts of Naperville.
The only way to balance these two needs is to allow higher density land use for residential developments (some case permitted or cases conditional use depending on the zoning). This helps the developer balance the high cost of land in Naperville with lower returns on their investment per housing unit. The city could also provide an incentive program similar to what they did for senior housing developments.
This pandemic is driving permanent changes in the behavior of consumers that negatively impact local businesses, restaurants and bars. Getting consumers to break these new habits and return to their old behaviors will not be easy and it will not happen on its own. As they were constantly telling us in business school “you get the behavior you reward”.
These changes in habits will cost the city in sales tax revenue and gasoline tax revenues so the city will need to get more involved in promoting local businesses and encouraging residents to shop and dine local.
The federal and state protections on evictions will eventually end and when it does there will be a considerable realignment in the real estate market. The city should be looking into what programs and grants (government and private organizations) might be available that can be used to prevent homeowners and businesses from being evicted.
The on going traffic problems in Naperville have been primarily driven by commuter traffic, or “rush hour” traffic. It is important to recognize this fact if a workable solution is to be found.
Because of the pandemic commuter traffic has changed a lot. So new traffic survey data is the logical first step. This data will be essential in determining the what, where and when of any traffic problem needed to develop solutions to these problems
Additionally Naperville does not have a very good public transportation option. Addressing this issue will not only help deal with some of the city’s traffic problems, but also some of the parking issues and grow an affordability economy. Having a good 24/7 public transportation option will also provide new employment opportunities in Naperville that will benefit both workers and employers.
After growing up in Naperville, I received my Juris Doctor magna cum laude from Georgetown University, and served as a uniformed attorney in the Air Force for seven years. As a prosecutor and defense counsel, I learned to hear both sides of an issue, and become a more balanced decision maker. I am able to empathize with the parties to emotionally charged disputes, finding a path to consensus, a skill that I feel is badly needed in today’s environment.
After the Air Force, my wife Julie and I moved back to Naperville where we are raising our four children. Having four kids has made me a more patient person, and has also made me more aware of the importance of instilling community values in the next generation – particularly diversity, education, and a respect for our environment.
As a partner at a Naperville law firm, I have learned that the best lawyers do their homework. In running for Council, I have “done my homework” by pouring through city staff reports, meeting with active Naperville residents (especially those who have researched clean energy issues), and meeting with all twelve city department heads, the Deputy City Manager, and the City Manager. I never stop researching.
Finally, I will bring a breadth of volunteer leadership experience to Council. After five years of involvement in the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, I was honored to begin serving as Board Chair in January 2020. I have overseen the creation of the Corporate Social Responsibility and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committees, created $165,000 in annual budget savings, and helped launch the $75,000 “Naperville Helps” program. This program provided first responders with boxed Chamber restaurant meals during the worst of the pandemic. I am a Board Member and pro bono counsel to Naperville Respond for Veterans, and have previously served on the Board of NCTV17 and the NextGen Board of the DuPage Children’s Museum.
First, I will restore respect in our community and our discourse. I will use my position to hear the facts from multiple sides before making a decision. I will use city time for city business, not my political gain. And I will hold monthly town hall conversations so voters have extra ways to voice their concerns (even if virtually).
Second, I will protect our economy, specifically by focusing on small local businesses and working class families, who were badly harmed by the pandemic. I am especially concerned by the issue of sales tax creep, which blunts the competitive edge of our local merchants, and also disproportionately affects working class families who spend a large portion of their income on clothing, school supplies, and other goods. In 2015, Naperville instituted a (theoretically) temporary home rule sales tax, adding a local surcharge to the state sales tax. The tax later became permanent, and was increased. The new revenue was originally earmarked for debt reduction and long-term capital projects, but it is now used to pay general operating expenses. I will not vote to further increase this tax, and I intend to prevent the use of these funds for expenses they were not intended to cover.
Finally, I will keep Naperville the best place in America to raise a family. Being the best means having a strong commitment to our values, such as our value for the environment. I will help lead Naperville’s transition away from coal, toward renewable energy. Currently, our power collective gets the bulk of our power from one of the ten largest greenhouse generating plants in the entire country. By leveraging Naperville’s position as the largest buyer in the group, and by taking advantage of the expiration of mortgage obligations and contracts with various coal providers at the end of 2021 and 2026, as well as 2035, we can take a tiered approach to a much more sustainable future.
The affordability of Naperville is a crucial issue for businesses and residents alike. Fundamentally, we are pricing out employees, small business owners, and retirees who comprise the vibrant city we love.
Naperville’s Human Rights and Fair Housing Commission issued eight recommendations for improving the affordable housing stock. In exploring one recommendation, Council directed staff to look into options for an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, which could provide incentives for developers to include affordable housing in the mix of offerings in new subdivisions. To me, an example of a Naperville neighborhood where we’ve successfully integrated a wide-ranging mix of housing options at different price points is the Brookdale subdivision. Not only is it a wonderful, walkable, beautiful subdivision, but there are apartments, duplexes, single family homes, and senior living all in one place.
However, given Naperville’s few remaining open parcels, we need to think beyond new developments. One option is potentially changing current zoning requirements to allow accessory dwelling units (aka In-Law Apartments) for seniors to age in place, close to family, as opposed to being forced out of Naperville.
Naperville should continue aggressively pursuing businesses to relocate to our city. As Chair of the Chamber, I am in regular contact with the Naperville Development Partnership, our economic development entity. Additionally, I work closely with the Downtown Naperville Alliance, which is focused on Naperville’s downtown core. Our city has creatively enticed tenants into empty big box spaces. I was impressed by the repurposing of the former Menards and Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club by Patel Brothers and Mall of India, respectively. This was a creative use of difficult-to-market property for a growing segment of our population, the South Asian community. It has further made Naperville a regional destination shopping magnet, bolstering our tax base.
COVID rocked our community to its core. However, surprisingly, it also brought some bright spots in municipal finance.
On the revenue side, in spite of COVID, the housing market has remained hot due to record low interest rates, which has kept property taxes flowing. Also, commercial real estate in the suburbs has done much better than it did in Chicago (due to pandemic-related flight from densely-populated Loop space). Upper middle class job losses were not as drastic as predicted, allowing many Naperville families to continue spending. All of these developments improved Naperville’s revenue picture. The city was able to take in $31 million more than it spent in 2020.
On the cost side, just as companies are reducing their office footprint after realizing the benefits of work-from-home, our city has, and should continue, to save money through the use of remote work where appropriate. Additionally, Naperville should reimagine the scope of its parking deck construction proposals. Driving habits changed during the pandemic, and city surveys show that some of the reductions in driving and parking may be permanent. A new Fifth Avenue Station parking deck had been planned, and it may possibly be scaled back from its originally-envisioned size and height. The right-sizing of this parking garage and other similar parking facilities could provide significant cost savings, given construction costs of over $20,000 per space.
The biggest non-financial impact the city needs to address is the decrease in civility that occurred over the past year. Notable examples include store employees sometimes being threatened simply for requesting that customers wear masks. As stated above, restoring respect is my top priority for the city, and respect starts from the top. I will extend courtesy to those who disagree with me and hear the facts before making decisions, in order to foster a better public discourse.
We have good reason to be concerned about traffic problems in Naperville, both with the behavior of drivers and with congestion.
Starting with behavior, numerous residents have shared concerns with me about neighborhood speeding. I have closely reviewed City Staff’s recently-published Traffic Calming Toolkit, which contains many possible solutions ranging from driver feedback signage to realigning intersections to adding physical barriers in roads. After interviewing the relevant staff personnel, the feedback I received was that staff operates best when Council offers big-picture objectives, and leaves the implementation of the specific traffic control measures to staff. In this vein, I think a good goal for our city would be to ensure that every neighborhood park has a protected, safe access path, which is currently not the case.
My review of the city’s budget also shows that Naperville has less police officers dedicated to traffic enforcement that it did a decade ago. While there are budgetary factors behind that change, I think it would be reasonable to see if staff sees increased enforcement as a practical long-term solution. Certainly other communities have studied the average reduction in speeding based on different levels of enforcement.
On the traffic side, one of the best things we can do is to change our mindset about sprawl. Study after study has shown that sprawling development adds to traffic, whereas walkable neighborhoods that integrate a variety of housing types along with restaurants, shops, etc., have far less congestion. One of our goals over the next several decades must be to transition the city toward a more walkable, more bikeable, and less sprawling design.
I am an attorney who spent most of my career as a Cook County prosecutor, which taught me how to interact with people and analyze facts in order to make the right decisions. In that role, I made decisions that significantly impacted a persons’ life – whether they were an alleged perpetrator or victim. As such, I am not afraid to make tough decisions. I also learned that although decisions often involve emotional topics, the best decisions are made based on facts. As a prosecutor, I was often faced with situations where a case was very emotional and there was public demand for a specific outcome – such as the arrest and conviction of specific person, but when emotion was taken out of the equation and I looked objectively at the facts of the matter the person arrested should not be charged. I never backed down and always did the right thing, even if there was a lot of pressure for me to decide in a specific way. This skill set absolutely applies to many topics before City Council. There is no doubt that I will have many important decisions to make on the City Council. I can promise you, however, that I will always make my decisions based on facts, not emotion, and I will do what is best for all of Naperville, not a select few. I think it is also important to note that I also taught Constitutional Law at North Central College. In this position, I developed an even greater appreciation of the law and understand that we need structure and stability in order to make the best decisions. I also understand in detail the background of government and the appropriate roles of elected officials.
Right now, due to the pandemic, the City needs to actively work to help our local businesses to prevent them from closing down. Small businesses are the lifeline of our community. They support our communities in so many ways including tax revenue and local jobs. They also support local charities and organizations to better our community. Their unique offerings bring non-residents to Naperville to spend their money, thereby lowering resident’s tax obligations. Naperville collects more revenue from food, beverage, and sales tax than from residential property taxes. Out of the collected food, beverage, and sales tax it is estimated that 50% comes from outside visitors. If the City does not help our small businesses, than residents can expect to see our property taxes to increase. As such, the City needs to take a more proactive approach to help our businesses through this difficult time and in the future. My plan to help small businesses involves both low and high investment solutions. Low investment ideas involve re-evaluating some of the signage and landscaping requirements to provide better visibility for the businesses. I personally met with many local business owners who find this to be a problem, especially in south Naperville. They believe better visibility will bring in more customers which they sorely need right now. My high investment idea involves developing a private/public partnership between the City and local area banks to provide low interest loans to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during this pandemic. The bank would serve as the servicer, and the City, as part of a grant, would pay a certain number of loan premiums on behalf of the business until they can get back on their feet. This requires an initial investment on the part of the City, but in the long run, keeping these businesses open will keep tax revenue coming in, prevent our property taxes from rising, protect our economic viability, and of course preserve local jobs.
Addressing our housing shortages will not be solved with one simple solution. The word that needs to be remembered in all solutions presented to Council is “balance.” Balance is absolutely necessary because we want to ensure we do not discourage development, but at the same time we know we have significant housing needs. For example, we have seniors, like my parents, living on fixed incomes and trying to pay for the upkeep of their house. They want to stay in Naperville and downsize, but cannot find something that costs less or even equal to what they are currently paying. The Human Rights and Fair Housing Board (HRFH), formally known as the Housing Advisory Board (HAC), presented in a Council workshop various ideas including, among others, providing loan assistance to help seniors age in place, working with developers who specialize in building affordable housing, leveraging city owned land, as well as preserving smaller homes that typically would be torn down. Not only do I support these ideas, but I also would add that we should look at incentives to encourage developers to work with the City to solve this issue. We can look to reduce or eliminate the permit and impact fees typically charged in developments in exchange for providing attainable housing. We also can create a “fast pass” system where developments that provide attainable housing can get their permits and plans approved faster than normal. They would still have to go through all the proper channels, but they would get to skip ahead of other developments. Phoenix, Arizona already does something similar regarding developers who turn vacant historic buildings into new businesses. At the end of the day, I do not believe there is just one simple solution so all ideas should be fully researched and explored to ensure our housing issues are solved, while at the same time still attracting new development to Naperville.
I addressed in detail in the second question above about how the pandemic has significantly impacted our business community, which historically provides more revenue to Naperville than residential property taxes. The taxes charged at these businesses are also used to pay our social grant programs. The loss of these businesses very easily will result in higher property taxes if we keep our high level of services. For the economic viability of Naperville, and because it is the right thing to do, the City needs to proactively work to keep our businesses from closing. That is why my plan has both low and high investment components, such as re-evaluating signage and landscaping requirements, as well as a private/public partnership between the City and local area banks. The non-financial impact that needs to be addressed is our community’s significant rise in mental health cases in 2020. The KidsMatter crisis line, for example, reported among school age children, an increase of 72% feeling stressed and anxious, 65% feeling depressed, and 35% feeling isolated and lonely since COVID began. Our police department reported an increase of mental health incidents from 2019 to 2020 as well. Each mental health call by our first responders takes up a significant amount of resources that could be directed elsewhere. One way that the City can help combat the significant rise in mental health issues is to pay for more social workers for our police department. As of 2021, the police department will have four social workers. However, with the average case load of 450 cases per social worker, we need even more social workers. The City also needs to be more proactive in educating our children and residents on programs available through our community partners and non-profits. A page on our City website is not enough. There are so many groups able to help, but we need to make our public aware of these options. Our community is only as strong as its weakest member and so we must help.
The number one complaint that our Naperville Police Department receives is vehicles speeding down residential streets. Their most frequent request is to have a squad car sit on a street to “catch” speeders. I understand this issue, because years ago I first started attending City Council meetings regarding the speeding traffic in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, our police department only has 5 active traffic officers for all of Naperville. Before the recession, they had 13. That is why one of my platform issues is community safety, and the need to hire more police officers who are dedicated to traffic safety, especially in the residential streets where our children and grandchildren walk and play. Another traffic concern in Naperville is the bottlenecks at certain intersections. I live in north Naperville and my parents live in south Naperville and so I continually am driving between both parts of Naperville, and share the traffic frustrations of many. The City needs to expand the usage of both timed lights and vehicle detection lights to help reduce our traffic issues. One of the best areas in Naperville to drive through is downtown on Washington during rush hour. Every light is green, you cannot turn left onto the side streets, and no street parking. We need to look at other areas in the City where we can utilize timed lights to get people quicker and more safely through intersections, especially during rush hour. We also need to expand the usage of vehicle detection lights at intersections. Think of all those times you have sat at a red light at an empty intersection, late for something of course, wondering why the light cannot tell you are there? Then you drive too fast once the light turns to make up for the lost time. With more vehicle detection lights, we can lessen some of our traffic frustration, and, hopefully, naturally slow down some drivers.
I’m not from Naperville, but I was born in the Chicagoland area, in Homewood. I moved around a lot growing up because of my dad’s work. I went to school in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, and Connecticut. Moving around a lot meant that we got to experience a lot of wonderful things and learn about different cultures. Diversity is a good thing and will strengthen our future.
After High School, I went to Penn State and majored in math with a business minor. I love to analyze things and to get into the weeds of details. I’m not afraid of doing my homework. It gave me the foundation for a successful career later on.
I’m currently a Vice President in Clearing Operations at J.P. Morgan and have worked there for 29 years. I’m an analyst on a global team so have experience working with multicultural teams and know that communication is the key to a successful project. I use my 29 years of subject-matter expertise to drive process improvements across the business and would apply those same tools to City Council. I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t have all the answers but I know from experience that when you research, listen to stakeholders, and bring in experts, it’s much easier to make informed decisions that will have the desired impact.
In Naperville, I was on the Home & School Board at Ellsworth Elementary and was a Girl Scout leader for my twin’s troop for 5 years. My troop received their Girl Scout Bronze Award for organizing Ellsworth’s Spring Festival. When the pandemic hit, I sewed and donated over 500 masks for nursing homes, Edward Hospital, neighbors, family, and strangers on social media.
First, COVID-19 significantly impacted Naperville local businesses, workers, and families. The mitigation strategies suppressed sales and shifted consumer spending for local businesses, reduced hours for service workers and changed the needs of commuters, and created challenges for families who are struggling to juggle work, remote learning, and child care. City Council must focus on collaborating with its partners and stakeholders to design and execute creative solutions. One short-term example would be to temporarily shut down the streets in downtown Naperville to vehicle traffic so businesses can increase foot traffic and dining and shopping experiences.
Secondly, I support a transparent development process that includes all stakeholders and addresses the need for affordable and sustainable housing. Naperville should be a place where people can afford to live from childhood through retirement. Current housing stock trends force out people who have lived or worked here for years but cannot afford Naperville. This will be an important consideration when we discuss the update to the Master Plan. Neighborhoods that are currently R1/R2 should not be rezoned to include multi-unit apartment buildings (affordable or otherwise) that are out of character with the surrounding homes. Putting in this hard work is the right thing to do if we want Naperville to be an inclusive, multigenerational, and diverse city.
Finally, the Council needs to get back to basics. Our mission statement was amended last year: “To provide services that ensure a high quality of life, sound fiscal management, and a dynamic business environment, while creating an inclusive community that values diversity.” Some recent agenda topics deviated from that mission. I’m committed to building up our community by focusing on non-partisan shared experiences and needs. Leaf pickup and traffic congestion are not partisan issues, they are local issues. I want to bring council back to those roots.
I don’t view the needs for business development and affordable housing as an either/or proposition. There are areas of Naperville that have vacant storefronts or business buildings that should be revitalized. The Ogden corridor is a perfect example of where business development makes sense. Ogden is a major corridor and has had many long-term vacancies, such as the old K-Mart. The new Costco at the old K-Mart site is a great addition for north Naperville and will lift volumes for surrounding businesses.
We need to increase the affordable housing stock in Naperville. Naperville is a wonderful place to live and work but current housing stock trends force out people who have lived or worked here for years. We face quite a few constraints. For example, limited land availability, defining what “affordable” means and what groups to target, and ensuring that any development fits with nearby neighborhoods. This will be an important consideration when we discuss the update to the Master Plan. Neighborhoods that are currently R1/R2 should not be rezoned to include multi-unit apartment buildings (affordable or otherwise) that are out of character with the surrounding homes. Putting in this hard work is the right thing to do if we want Naperville to be an inclusive, multigenerational, and diverse city.
Thankfully, Naperville did an excellent job with their 2020 budget, but 2021 remains to be seen, and we are not immune from the economic impact of this (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Our priority should always be public safety, health, and essential services. If the city does face a budget deficit, there are some things we could do. We have already pushed some non-essential capital projects to future years (e.g. streetscape improvements). We could renegotiate vendor contracts when they renew and analyze the balance sheet to identify assets that are not necessary for the functioning of the city. Given the current favorable interest rate environment, the city refinanced its debt to preserve liquidity without burdening taxpayers. Containing the spread of the virus between now and when we achieve herd immunity will also restore a normalized economic environment which will replenish sales tax revenue.
There will be other impacts for Naperville with a potential shift in how and where people work. I’ve worked for J.P. Morgan for 29 years in downtown Chicago and haven’t ridden Metra since March. Businesses who operate in Chicago might be reassessing their office needs and downsizing or relocating to the suburbs. There might be more of a need for flexible co-working space for those firms who still need an office presence but do not need an entire floor or building.
Traffic patterns need to be analyzed in a post-COVID world. The traffic around the train stations is unlikely to return to prior levels with more employees and employers embracing working from home.
The city has recently produced a Traffic Calming Toolkit, which is a way to achieve balance between vehicles and pedestrians in residential neighborhoods.. “Calming” tools could be planters, bike lanes, traffic circles, or sidewalk extensions which improve traffic flow in residential neighborhoods without adding a lot of stop signs. These measures would fit well in residential neighborhoods and I hope the city adopts them where appropriate.
BA from North Central College, Political Science, Additional education in accounting and finance, worked as a Financial officer for several companies in Naperville and Chicago area,
Started my own Real Estate Company that served Naperville from 1997 until today. Would be uniquely qualified to assist with money management for the City of Naperville. A resident of Naperville for 76 years makes me qualified to look after the interest of the residents as well as continued development in Naperville.
The biggest problem with the city of Naperville is the lack of transparency and the Councils involvement working with the Developers and not listening to the residents problems with the planning and development commission. What has become known as Rezoning by Variances instead going through the process of rezoning by resident participation.
There is no master plan, because the existing zoning changes are allowed by the Planning and Zoning Commission and resident and home owner input has been ignored by the council.
The Naperville Development Partnership should include in its group a person with experience in low income development. I had a friend who works with this type of development and volunteered to participate and his calls were not answered by anyone from the Chamber of Commerce or the City Staff. There are many people who are interested but the Council has put all the emphasis on high density expensive development. This would be something I could help the City of Naperville Develop with my contacts in the real estate community.
The City apparently has an excess amount of cash to survive the pandemic but distribution of its excess cash should be spread out to those most in need. The elderly and low income people are not even brought up on the council agenda. New priorities should be established by the new city council elected officials.
I believe the ongoing traffic problems we have is that the Planning and Zoning Commissions allows for more high density housing and then the City of Naperville has to figure out how we can deal with the increased traffic problems and the city has to take responsibility for the infrastructure cost.
The cost of traffic studies and infrastructure should pass an ordinance should be written to have the developers pay for traffic studies and pay for infrastructure changes before development is approved.
I earned a Civil Engineering degree (BS) from the University of Southern California and I am currently an MBA candidate with the University of Illinois. I am a licensed professional civil engineer with over 12 years of experience in both the public and private sector. I was also a Secret Service agent during the George W. Bush administration and served to protect the President, First Lady, and visiting heads of state. I believe that these experiences have provided me insights into not just how government works, but what are the best traits needed in those that are governing. I believe I will bring the commitment to service, commitment to transparency, commitment to the people, commitment to my ideals and most importantly, my commitment to cooperation and compromise.
The most important issues facing Naperville are the COVID pandemic and sustainability. The city’s response to the pandemic has been very good. They are keeping the public informed about COVID vaccinations and providing residents and businesses with financial relief through their temporary utility assistance program and small business assistance grants. We should continue these efforts and find ways to help small businesses stay open.
I view Naperville’s sustainability through the lens of the triple bottom line: people, planet, and prosperity. Every citizen in Naperville should feel safe, included, and accepted. Diversity, equity, and inclusion practiced by city staff and elected officials will help to foster growth and increase cultural knowledge for tomorrow’s leaders. We need to protect the natural resources of our planet to maintain our health and safety. Pollution prevention, flood control, and wildlife preservation need to be included in our operations and land development plans. Prosperity should be distributed to as many people that we can reach. Ironically, the only way to preserve our way of life is to change our way of life. Government spending should fund long-term solutions that provide the infrastructure we need to benefit future generations.
Naperville’s Housing Advisory Commission has been addressing these issues through recommendations made in the Naperville Housing Action Plan. City Council recently directed city staff to draft an inclusionary zoning ordinance. I support these efforts, but more can be done. When elected, I will encourage the city to work with developers to increase affordable housing inventory by allow zoning changes to existing commercial properties to construct planned unit developments (PUDs). A PUD is a designed grouping of compatible land uses such as retail, office, and residential. With the increasing inventory of vacant commercial properties, PUDs can pivot to the needs of the population and provide needed affordable housing without government subsidies.
The impact to the Naperville tax base cannot be fully realized yet, but the impact of the pandemic has not affected the city budget. If the city experiences a budget shortfall, I would like to see every public official and every department try to make little, daily cuts to decrease their expenditures. No matter how small, these savings can add up and possibly eliminate the need to cut programs or furlough city employees. Budget shortfalls present each city department with an opportunity to sharpen their pencils and find ways to cut expenditures and increase efficiencies.
Naperville should compile a list of lessons learned from this pandemic to create a playbook for future pandemics. This playbook should include instructions for phased closures, quarantine guidance, and a communication system to reach all residents. The City should also maintain a stockpile of face masks to avoid supply chain management interruptions. Coordinating the playbook with State and Federal guidelines can help Naperville seamlessly align with broader guidelines being implemented.
My priority is first and foremost about safety. And all recommendations will start there. The Transportation Advisory Board has approved the “Traffic Calming Toolkit” that contains elements that can be used to slow traffic and provide safety measures to areas of concern in Naperville. These elements include changes to pavement striping, modifications to stop sign locations, and directional changes on some streets from two-way to one-way traffic.
Traffic safety is also a “neighborhood” issue. City council approved the hiring of four new police officers on the Naperville Police Department, two of whom will be assigned to traffic control. I believe the addition of these patrol units will help to address drag racing, red light runners, and traffic safety education. Our soon-to-be implemented upgraded 911 dispatching system will allow for the submission of texts and video footage to 911 responders so that the information submitted by concerned citizens can be communicated to first responders in real time and enable faster responses to dangerous traffic situations.
I earned my Bachelor if Science degree in Electrical Engineering Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. In1979, I founded my technical sales company Zystek System Technology which merged in 1981 with engineering services company Data Design Company to form my present company Synergy Systems Inc. As an entrepreneur, I have been involved in all aspects of starting and growing a business including developing a client base through innovative, reliable and cost-effective solutions, financial decisions from accounting, banking, payroll and bill payments, and personnel issues including hiring, firing, managing and mentoring. On the personal level my wife and I have been married almost 40 years, have raised our four children during that time here in Naperville and now are the proud grandparents of five beautiful grandchildren. Since 2016, I have had the privilege and the pleasure to serve as a Commissioner on Naperville's Historical Preservation Commission (HPC). As a HPC Commissioner i have worked closely with residents, city government and City Council to champion resident concerns. The highlight of this service to date was when I was acting chair for the HPC public hearing regarding Nichols Library that was instrumental in eventual saving of Nichols Library by City Council. Unfortunately all to often, the request of the residents as reflected in HPC's findings to City Council are not accepted in favor of other interests. Commissions advise but City Council decides. I want take my passion to serve augmented with my life's personal, professional and civic experience to help make those decisions that bring balance to all stakeholders in the many issues facing Naperville today and in the future.
In many ways the most important issue facing the City of Naperville is the traditionally low voter turnout for the upcoming Municipal election. I say this because typically only 12-14% of registered voters participate in an election which has a direct impact on taxes, zoning, development, schools and parks which means as little of 6-7% are choosing city council, school boards, park district commission and township offices. To help stimulate community involvement I have been running since late January the Weekly Campaign Forum (WCF) every Friday at noon on Zoom up to the April 6 election. The WCF is open to all Municipal candidates and residents and many City Council, School Board, Park District and Township candidates have participated over the last seven weeks. WCF sessions are recorded and posted to YouTube and can found by searching for Naperville Weekly Campaign Forum. I would encourage any interested party to watch the YouTube recordings and to plan on participating in the remaining Friday noon sessions at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6209493625?pwd=UWVzTG5qa25pWE1Vd3RqRkFSbkJSdz09. I believe that people must get involved in the municipal election, become informed about candidates and issues and vote like the our community future is on the ballot because it is. Helping local businesses and residents recover from the financial and emotional impacts of Covid is a top priority for the City. I support and would continue recent actions like the suspension of certain license fees, the availability of grants, and most recently the establishment of a utility grant fund for needy seniors and small businesses. Work with Councilman White, Naper Pride ,Naperville Neighbors United and other like organizations to educate and promote diversity in the community. Build on Councilwoman's Sullivan recent Ethics ordinance to ensure the highest degree of ethics and transparency in all government dealings. Lastly working to ensure residents concerns are balanced with other stakeholders
In December 2020 the Housing Advisory Commission (now Humans Rights and Fair Housing Commission) provided the following recommendations to City Council:
1. Develop plan to preserve naturally-occurring affordable housing
2. Identify additional resources to assist populations with housing needs
3. Establish revolving rehabilitation loan fund targeted to low income seniors
4. Develop working relationships with affordable housing developers
5. Develop strategy to leverage publicly-owned land
6. Implement an inclusionary zoning ordinance
7. Establish housing trust fund targeted towards helping veterans, seniors, special housing needs populations, and first responders in purchasing a home
8. Create housing-specific staff position(s) within city government or non-profit organization
I support these measures and the ideas presented in Future Land Use Plan currently in review that includes allowing the addition of Carriage houses or small homes on existing single family home sites to enable housing for seniors who wish to downsize into a multi-generational housing environment. Since there are relatively few undeveloped areas in Naperville, in order to reach 10% state goal future residential components of proposed developments such as Fifth Avenue Station, Polo Grounds, Naper Commons and City Gate West must contain housing our teachers, first responders, veterans and seniors can afford. We have witnessed the loss of a great deal of smaller homes that make up what is known as Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing or simply N.O.A.H. I do not want to disadvantage anyone selling their property for the maximum value by imposing additional fees on sellers. However, today it costs a deliver a little more than a $1000 to get a demolition permit to tear down N.O.A.H. and build what is called a McMansion. I favor protecting N.O.A.H by significantly raising the cost of demolition permits in designated portions of town with this type of housing.
I think that Naperville has a well established and vibrant economy supported by a very capable and well run city government and I expect little to none long term impacts on the city tax base. As i mentioned in one of the above questions that in the near term I support recent actions like the suspension of certain license fees, the availability of grants, and most recently the establishment of a utility grant fund for needy seniors and small businesses .Moreover, City Finance Director Rachel Mayer deferral of some capital spending, lower costs associated remote operation and CARES Act funds have help mitigate the short term financial impacts.
Non-financial impacts such as depression and other mental health issues arising out of long term isolation are very serious concerns and every effort must be made to reach out to those who are suffering and get them the help they need. We are fortunate to have great resources like Linden Oaks and Edwards Hospital backed up by our first responders to aid in this mission.
Like every Naperville resident I would like to see less traffic congestion and noise but the sad reality is that there are no easy solutions. I say this because over the last twenty years, Naperville has seen significant growth particularly in south portion of the city but there are too few major north/south streets to service this increase in traffic and little opportunity to improve this situation. As Covid has forced many people to work from home, the city has benefited from a noticeable reduction in traffic, and perhaps the city should look at ways to encourage and possibly incentivize companies and individuals to continue to work from home after covid crisis has passed. Recognizing that additional impact high density projects like Polo Fields, Fifth Avenue, Naper Commons or City Gate West must be carefully considered by Transportation, Engineering and Development (TED), Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) and City Council before these projects are approved for construction. I agree with fellow City Council candidate Ian Holzhauer that pedestrian and biker underpass at Washington and 75th is an excellent example of how to improve safe access in a high traffic environment and more projects like this should be considered going forward. Lastly, I have complete faith in the capability and vision of TED to continue to address these challenges in safe, timely and cost-effective manner.
I am a retired Lieutenant Colonel with 22 years in the Army as a Field Artillery Officer, leading and mentoring soldiers throughout my career before retiring from active duty in 2008. Over the years, my leadership skills and strong commitment to teaching and learning has helped to develop future leaders.
In 2012, I was appointed to the Indian Prairie School District (IPSD) 204 Board of Education and in 2013, I was elected to serve for a four year term on the Board. In 2017, I became the first black elected to serve on the Naperville City Council. I have a bachelor's degree in Management Studies from West Point. I also earned a master's degree in Kinesiology from Indiana University, an MBA from Webster University and a doctorate in Values Driven Leadership from Benedictine University.
Leadership is about positively influencing others toward a common goal. Throughout my first term on the City Council, I was able to use my leadership skills to accomplish some important initiatives for our city. I worked with many of our nonprofit organizations to understand their needs and promote their organization to residents who would benefit from their services. I have spent a great deal of time working with youth groups to mentor them in local government operations and leadership. Additionally, I have made strides in strengthening diversity and advancing inclusion throughout the Naperville community, most notably by leading the effort in updating the language within the city’s mission statement, establishing a newly created Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position and starting an organization committed to embracing the diversity of our city - Naperville Neighbors United.
The most important issues facing Naperville today are from the ramifications of the COVID-19 virus. While the city has responded in a lot of positive ways, there is still work to be done. We must continue to work with and support organizations like the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Naperville Development Partnership who do an excellent job of representing our businesses and advising our city leadership on business concerns. I would promote the use of boxcars for our restaurants and would look at temporarily closing some of the downtown streets to vehicular traffic during the summer to allow for outdoor dining. I would also continue my leadership efforts in posting and conducting public service announcements that emphasize mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing throughout the community. Continued collaboration with city leadership and community stakeholders will give us the best opportunity to encourage measures that keep families safe while allowing our businesses to thrive under these challenging conditions.
Naperville is a great city that I have called home for the past 15 years. For the past 3.5 years, I’ve been fortunate to serve as a member of the city council during a time where we’ve made tremendous strides in moving Naperville forward, but we should not rest on our laurels as there is still work to be done. If re-elected to the City Council, I will continue to engage our community; especially in terms of public safety, diversity, equity and inclusion. I’m excited about keeping our city on firm financial ground and to increase our inventory of affordable/attainable/workforce housing in our community.
Naperville is a wonderful place to live. Unfortunately, many of the people who work and visit here can not afford to call Naperville home. I am committed to mitigating this issue. I understand the need to work with developers who have the expertise and experience to increase our workforce/attainable/affordable inventory without isolating it to a specific area of the community. We need to explore innovative methods that share the financial burden across multiple entities so the business opportunity for developers is more appealing and we can make attainable and affordable housing a reality.
Naperville has its financial house in order and does not anticipate having to cut any particular services to its residents, and it is very unlikely that we will be raising any sort of fee or tax. The city should continue supporting residents and businesses who have been financially impacted
by the pandemic by making arrangements for them to pay their bills at a later date or relieve the debt all together based on extreme circumstances. Naperville is one of the few communities in northern Illinois that publishes a dashboard on its website that makes COVID-19 information easily available. Since Naperville is the home of Edward Hospital, its information is vital to the CIty and its residents. That information includes statistics for Will County and DuPage County; the graphs make interpreting the data much more understandable. In our latest Social Service grants, we definitely considered the impact of the pandemic on the mental health needs of our residents, including the heavy toll it has taken on our young people.We will continue to monitor how the pandemic has affected our local businesses, including retailers, hotels, restaurants, theaters, entertainment venues, as well local businesses that fall into other categories. We maintain close ties to the Naperville Chamber of Commerce and the Naperville Development Partnership, both of which have been gauging the effect of the pandemic on local business. The City’s Finance Department has been preparing monthly reports of economic activity, since there are many unknowns as we move forward.
Traffic in Naperville continues to be a top concern for residents. As a result, the road networks will be a top priority for me. Naperville has dedicated a great deal of resources to its roads and is projected to invest $12 million into road improvements and maintenance for 2021. Naperville is already partnering and sharing costs with other government municipalities to improve some of the major arterial roads. For example, construction will soon start on North Aurora Rd between Frontenac Rd. and Weston Ridge Dr., and the North Aurora underpass at the CN Railroad. Finally, the long anticipated construction of the Downtown Washington Bridge will impact traffic flow in the downtown area and we will have to redirect traffic which will impact some of our side streets as commuters will make adjustments to get to their destination. Finally, I would continue to conduct traffic studies similar to what we are currently doing with the Westside Neighborhood area. This study was initiated based on residential survey data that recognized the traffic issues in the area.