Susan Storcel La Grange Park Age 58 Occupation Attorney
1. What is your party affiliation? Rose Party La Grange Park
2. In your view, what's the most important issue in this election, and how would you address it? Economic stability. The entire Village Board must participate in and encourage a wide-ranging and spirited conversation about our village’s economic future, while simultaneously safeguarding the residential ambiance of the village and property values. That conversation must include an exchange of ideas about effectuating responsible fiscal growth. However, it must also include candid discussion about the consequences of not promoting growth. The village’s sales tax revenue has fallen drastically from more than $700,000 in the mid-1990’s, to about $400,000 this year. Moreover, as a result of Blockbuster’s closing, we will lose about $16,000 annually in amusement taxes. La Grange Park homeowners cannot be asked to fill the gap. The entire board must act responsibly and vigorously to research, explore and implement options other than increasing property taxes. Two of those options are to work with commercial property owners, and consider incentives used by other municipalities to attract quality, sustainable, revenue-generating businesses.
3. Why do you believe that voters should select you? La Grange Park is my home and I want it to thrive. I am concerned that some board members, and the caucus-endorsed candidates do not share my vision for La Grange Park. The village has suffered a severe economic exodus over the years. As a result, it relies too heavily on property tax revenue to meet its obligations. Residents need relief from these escalating taxes. I firmly believe that our village can increase its sales tax revenue and still preserve the residential character of our community if it sensibly works with commercial property owners to attract quality, sustainable, revenue-generating businesses. In February I attended an International Council of Shopping Centers conference. ICSC is an organization focused entirely on helping municipalities redevelop their community through public/private partnerships. I attended this conference at my own expense to learn how other communities have come to grips with their own commercial vacancies and declining revenue. There are many options available that our board has not considered. La Grange Park is at a crossroads, and we need trustees who are willing to reach out, think creatively, and explore those other options. I have nearly 30 years of public employment experience, including four years as a public works equipment operator, and I currently serve on the Zoning Board of Appeals. My education and my work history have helped me hone the critical thinking skills required for a board member to make the important decisions that impact so many individuals and the Village as a whole.
Jason Vitell Age 38 Occupation Code specialist (DMA); firefighter/EMT (LPFD)
1. What is your party affiliation? Rose Party of La Grange Park
2. In your view, what's the most important issue in this election, and how would you address it? There are many issues facing the residents of La Grange Park, both on personal and civic levels, but I believe we must immediately get to work on maintaining our infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, and sewers) and getting the most out of our commercial districts. Attracting tax generating business and nurturing smart economic growth are the keys that unlock more opportunities for the village. With more sales and amusement tax generating businesses we can afford to keep or restore previous programs such as Parkway Tree Replacement and the 50/50 Sidewalk Replacement while, at the same time, we can keep the residential property tax burden from increasing. I believe that these are some of the qualities and characteristics that comprise a successful and desirable community.
3. Why do you believe that voters should select you? I played in the parks, swam at the VFC, read at the library and worked for and frequented many of the businesses that have come and gone in our village. I am a firm believer that the more one contributes to life in a community the more one can recognize the hard work of others. Additionally, I possess the unique perspective of having worked for the Village of La Grange Park in multiple capacities over the years (code enforcement, building inspection, and fire department) and continue to work with more than 20 other municipalities throughout the Chicagoland area as a code specialist, building inspector and plan reviewer. Currently, I am the President of the MABAS 10 Investigation Team (which serves more than 19 of our neighboring fire departments). I want to harness all of these experiences together in order to serve the residents of La Grange Park.
Scott F. Mesick Age 48 Occupation Product manager
1. What is your party affiliation? Caucus-endorsed candidate
2. In your view, what's the most important issue in this election, and how would you address it? Managed development and the retention of the character of our town. I believe it is best addressed according to the will of the people through our comprehensive plan and with the help of our new zoning code. We should address the Village Market as our number 1 priority. Most important, the village (residents) should have control of development, not the developers. I oppose all proactive rezoning of residential to commercial and believe Memorial Park should not be on the table for development, it is our town center and a source of pride.
3. Why do you believe that voters should select you? I respect them and their families. I have the safety and welfare of all at the forefront of my thought and would always look at how decisions effect the whole village both long- and short-term. I am conscientious in my decision making and spend the time to study the issues before us and make informed decisions. I believe in transparency and open and honest communication. I strongly advocate the protection of our existing neighborhoods as well as the planned and orderly growth of business in the commercial areas of our community. Simply, I am for the residents and the protection of their interests. This includes fiscal responsibility and safety to include all aspects, financial, property and health and welfare.
Patricia B. Rocco La Grange Park Age 49 Occupation Attorney/Teacher
1. What is your party affiliation? Caucus-endorsed candidate
2. In your view, what's the most important issue in this election, and how would you address it? Village’s economic vitality: Beginning in 2002, there has been a clear and continuous advancement toward improving economic vitality. With the Comprehensive Plan, the EDC Recommendations and the Hitchcock Study aka 31st Street Corridor Study, the village is in an advantageous position. There are excellent ideas on how to improve 31st Street. One simple example: repaint the street lines along certain sections of 31st Street to have a center turning lane, allowing for more parking. Rezoning of houses along 31st Street, behind the businesses, is unnecessary to improve economic vitality. There is enough available commercial land to improve economic development while maintaining the character of the village. Regarding Village Market, I would take proactive steps to meet with the owner, Woodmen of the World, to find out what it would take for them to be interested in attracting tenants. Then, we can determine what plan of action should be taken.
3. Why do you believe that voters should select you? Serving as Trustee for the Village of La Grange Park is a natural progression of my public service. I have been actively involved in local community service for the past fifteen years. Integrity, transparency, open-mindedness, professionalism and compassion are qualities I strive to maintain. If elected, I will act in the best interest of the village and its residents. I am proactive. When taking on a project, I work hard to achieve the goal of the project. In my service, I consistently have found myself working with others to achieve a goal, and as a group, we surpassed our expectations because of our collaborative efforts. I am an aggressive listener; it is important to listen and understand the viewpoints of others. That is how collaboration works best. I am inquisitive and want to understand the facts before rendering an opinion. I have been endorsed by the La Grange Park Caucus. I am an attorney handling residential and commercial real estate transactions; teach at DePaul University; chair the La Grange Park Cool Village Commission; and serve as publicity director for the La Grange Area League of Women Voters.
Tim Hayes La Grange Park Age 48 Occupation President, Hayes & Associates
1. What is your party affiliation? Rose Party
2. In your view, what's the most important issue in this election, and how would you address it? Financial Stability of the village and what can be to increase revenues without raising property taxes
3. Why do you believe that voters should select you? My family has lived in La Grange Park for more than 75 years and the villages well being and prosperity are my only civic interest. I was raised here as a child and my wife and I are raising our children here. I want this village to be a place where they would like to raise their children a well. I have eight years experience as a trustee and feel I have a solid understanding of how the village operates and how it needs to grow and prosper for future generations to enjoy.
Did not respond: Jane E. Klingberg