BURR RIDGE — Longtime Burr Ridge residents Robert Sodikoff, Michael “Mickey” Straub and John Bittner have one thing in common: their love for Burr Ridge.
It’s the reason each of them are running Tuesday to become the next village president — but they also have their own ideas on how to better their community.
The one element each candidate stressed was the need to help businesses in Burr Ridge, especially in the Village Center. Sodikoff, the acting village board president, said he wants to fill vacancies there.
“They’ve been having some issues trying to fill that, and to the extent we can do that’s consistent with the needs of the village, I would certainly like to assist the Village Center, help businesses in the community and maintain the programs we have for our residents,” he said.
Bittner called the village a “hidden little secret,” but marketing that message has been lost.
“We’ve got to advertise our internal structures that we’ve built,” Bittner said. “We’ve got a lot of opportunities that aren’t being taken advantage of and the business climate is very important to any small community.”
Straub said Burr Ridge should be more successful because of its location near two major highways.
“It should be known as the Barrington of the southwest suburbs,” Straub said.
One way to improve the village, especially transparency, is to increase communication with residents, Straub added. If elected, he said he would have open office hours for the community to visit.
“I don’t get the feeling like the residents feel like their voices are being heard and I think the businesses don’t get the warm and fuzzy feeling from the village,” he said. “On one side, you have a sense of professionalism and consistency and it all kind of looks good, but there’s a certain distance between the village and the Village Board that I would like to help bridge.”
Bittner, a retired businessman and Burr Ridge resident for 39 years, wants to bring that businesslike mentality to the position.
“The objective is to run [the village] like a business,” Bittner said. “Be cost effective, be in better control of the cash flow and spend more time and do more focusing on the way we do bidding on our contracts.”
Sodikoff has been involved with village government for 24 years and believes it’s this experience that separates him from the candidate field.
He said he likes the direction the of the village, but it’s a matter of making sure the board watches the budget and remains responsive to the needs of the residents.
“I think it’s just a question of maintaining the course, maintaining fiscal responsibility, maintaining a balanced budget and keeping the programs that seem to be working in place and expanding on them,” Sodikoff said.