February 27, 2015

Mayor Forum

For the first time in 20 years, there won’t be A. George Pradel on the ballot for Mayor. Four candidates have thrown their hat in the ring and all were on hand at a forum hosted by the Rotary Club of Naperville.

Though similar in their concerns for the city, each candidate shared some differences in their platforms. Retired Fire Lieutenant, Marty Walker kicked off the conversation.

“I think the very first thing I would like to do if elected mayor would be to make sure all council members and our city manager along with staff can operate on the same page to deal with the issues that are going to be coming before us, as well as dealing with the budget deficit,” said Candidate, Walker. “I think that’s going to be a big priority right now, we’re working on a $6 million budget deficit so that we do not have to go back to the taxpayers and ask for any additional funding.”

Councilman Steve Chirico agreed with Walker, but also touched on Naperville’s economic development.

“Naperville has had decades of growth, and with that growth we had a lot of cash flow. And that cash flow is used to build the bar reserves and really run our city,” said Candidate, Chirico. “But that has slowed down substantially. My plan is to employ sensible business policies to build the foundation by which we can increase economic development and create an environment for a robust economy. We can do this.”

Dental Office Manager, James Haselhorst played off Chirico’s statement by including whom he thinks needs more attention from the city.

“In my mind one of the most underserved stakeholders in our community are our small businesses. I feel our city needs to do more to encourage the growth of those small businesses, to encourage residents to use those small businesses, and programs to develop those small businesses, encouraging more small businesses in our community and provide opportunities for them to start up,” said Candidate, Haselhorst. “In this way, we can expand our economy, strengthen our commerce, and grow our base for services and taxes that we need to fund our city.”

And lastly, Councilman Doug Krause argues why transportation is atop his list.

“Naperville has been such a success and we create that congestion because of our success. Over the years, the city has created new roads and widening the intersections but more work still needs to be done,” said Candidate, Krause. “In the last five years we’ve spent $11.6 million on road maintenance, and in order to balance the budget this year, we are removing $1 million from that and that raises the question, pay me now or pay me more later because that road maintenance, we save money by doing that. So my goal for the future is not only to restore it, but to increase it.”

The session lasted a little over 45 minutes and the candidates were available for one-on-one questions once it was over.

“It was a good event; I think everybody had an opportunity to share what they felt,” said Rotary Club President, John Gallagher. “I had a couple people already tell me they heard some things that they weren’t really aware of and that’s what it’s all about.”

You can watch the full forum at NapervilleRotary.com.


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