Executive Recruiter, The McHenry Group
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
My previous eight years as a Council member is an excellent foundation. Additionally, I’ve lived in Marengo for 35 of the last 43 years and while that alone doesn’t automatically qualify me to be a good candidate, it certainly has given me perspective. Marengo is a wonderful place to live and raise a family but if you look far enough back in the rear view mirror and compare it today there isn’t a lot of positive change. I have the courage to stand up and say “We need to change in a positive manner” It is my opinion that if we don’t create positive change, then negative change will slowly just “happen to us”.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
To work with the Marengo Main Street program and the small businesses that make up our downtown. As a former board member of Marengo Main Street I feel that these small business owners are the backbone of our community and their success is critical for Marengo. Simultaneously, I think that we need to grow. Not growth from unlimited rooftops and big box retailers; that is not sustainable growth. Instead, if we identify what is unique to Marengo (something that can’t be duplicated elsewhere in the county or region) and determine how to leverage that to create sustainable, unique growth then we can retain the charm of our community while supporting its growth and positive change.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
No. The amount that the city itself collects vs. all of the other taxing bodies is very small by comparison. It would not make much of a difference on an individual’s tax bill.
What one decision by the city council do you most disagree with and why?
It was less of a single decision and more of a series of decisions that resulted in the debacle surrounding the waste water treatment plant expansion. Letting the professional opinion of the engineering firm override common sense and common knowledge cost taxpayers money and delayed a much needed plant expansion.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the board in the past year?
Hiring a City Manager. Not just hiring a City Manager but hiring the right City Manager. Marengo has suffered with lack of experience at times and other times with a lack of drive and desire in this lead role. I believe that the board made a wise decision in finding and hiring someone who has the perfect combination of experience and “fire in the belly”.
Why should voters elect you to office?
I’m not afraid to ask hard questions and demand honest answers. That includes of other council members, City staff, retained personnel as well as developers. If I disagree with another council member or the mayor it is based on the merits of whatever issue is before us, not our personalities or how somebody may have voted previously. I have no conflict or potential conflict between my profession and my actions on City Council. I am not associated with nor work for any other taxing body. My actions, if elected, will always reflect what I believe to be in the best interest of Marengo and it’s residents without prejudice.
Other Local Races
Kelley Ann Kepes