Business Owner, Hickory Knoll Golf Course
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
I have been involved with the Village of Fox Lake at a governmental level for the last 7 years, beginning with the 911 board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, and currently the Village Board. I have over 20 years of business management experience, covering, finance, personnel, and planning. I have been instrumental in the creating and implementing of annual budgets as large as $75 million. I am focused on the future of Fox Lake, and feel I have had a very positive affect over the last 4 years.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
First and foremost on my agenda is the continued pursuit and acquisition of a hotel/restaurant development for the Lakefront park area, as it is extremely important for us to create some new development and revenue streams for the Village. New revenue and new jobs will help lift some of the burden of funding essential services from the residents. We’ve met with many developers, investors and consultants, and the unanimous consensus is that the Lakefront Park area is the best place to begin our redevelopment of Fox Lake. This was also recognized in our recently completed Comprehensive Plan, which was passed unanimously by our Village Board. It is of the utmost importance that this first new venture be successful if we are to bring more and different investments to town. Second on my agenda is to build upon the Hotel development and revitalize our downtown area with complimentary developments for our existing businesses. Our Comprehensive Plan identifies a mix of commercial, residential and retail development that will help our current business owners bring in new customers, and hopefully create a “destination” of our downtown. The general thinking is; with a Hotel, the train, Rt 12 and the water, it would be a natural progression to move down Nippersink to Grand, then spread East and West from there. But again, the importance lies in doing our best to bring in complimentary
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
It is an election time cliche, and irresponsible pandering to say we can freeze or reduce taxes without having a definitive plan on how to replace the revenues. Essential services are just that, essential. Skimping on these services today will cost exponentially more to re-implement later. Having said that,however, I always look for ways to responsibly lower the burden on residents. This is the reason new development is so important to our future. This new revenue can replace other streams, to reduce or remove the utility tax, vehicle sticker program and/or the Village\\\'s portion of property taxes. But any lowering or removal of existing revenue for the Village MUST be done responsibly. Removing existing sources without corresponding cuts in services or a replacement will land our Village right back in the financial quagmire we just pulled ourselves out of.
What one decision by the village board do you most disagree with and why?
As a board, we have made many decisions over the last 4 years. I’ve agreed with some and I’ve disagreed with others, which is what makes our system work. But the thing that makes me comfortable with ALL the decisions we have made is the mutual respect our team has for each others position. I believe that all members of this board have done their homework and truly believe in their vote. We have an issue, we research it, discuss it, debate it, and vote it. If we voted for it, we need to make sure it is implemented as intended; if we voted against it, we need to make sure our concerns regarding it do not come to fruition. When a vote is completed, there is no noticeable resentment. We accept the outcome and move to the next issue.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
Our biggest accomplishment, which has been ongoing for the last three years, has been our ability to drag the Village from the financial wreckage we encountered when we took office. We have gone from an unknown fund balance (roughly $100,000) to $3.9 million. This accounts for about 2 ½ months of General Fund operations. We have implemented checks and balances in our Business Office for accountability. We have outsourced payroll and auditing for even more accountability. These steps have led to the Village being much more fiscally responsible, the last 2 budgets being balanced and a projected third for next year. In addition, our increased financial stability has led to an A1 rating from Moody’s. This excellent rating has allowed the Village to refinance existing bonds at better interest rates and eliminate bond insurance, saving us over six figures over the life of the bonds. This has been a great start, but financial stability over the long haul requires an ever vigil board with control and restraint. Balanced budgets, fiscally responsible decisions, and creating new sources of revenue will keep the Village on track.
Why should voters elect you to office?
I have dedicated the last 4 years to improving the financial stability of the Village, increasing our accountability, and maintaining our fiscal responsibility. In addition, I have worked with the Planning Board on our Comprehensive Plan, and the Mayor and Building Commissioner on developing a successful marketing strategy for our Village. We have had an excellent response to our Comprehensive Plan, and continue to meet with numerous developers and investors on plans to invest in our Village. I am a firm believer in our potential, but also a staunch advocate of RESPONSIBLE development. It must be done right; a win-win for the Village and the Investors. One cannot succeed without the other. I am dedicated to making this happen.
Burt's Current Race
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