With election season in full swing, Yorkville Patch wanted to give readers a clear view of how local candidates compared on recent issues that surfaced before the City Council. Below are the answers from , who is running against Alderman (Ward 2) for re-election as mayor. Golinski's answers can be found here.
Come back tomorrow to see how the Ward 1 alderman candidates answered the same questions.
Mayor Valerie Burd
• Did you vote to place a binding bike trails referendum on the April 5 ballot? Why?
I am in favor of passing the bike trail referendum, but I did not vote to put it back on the ballot. When I put it on the November ballot, I said I would let the voters decide and they did. But 800+ petition signatures meant it was going onto the April 5 ballot, so it only makes sense to me for the council to vote to make it a binding referendum. This is a one-time opportunity for our city to get the 80/20 grant from IDOT. If we want to compete for new residents to fill up our vacant subdivision spaces, Yorkville will have to offer quality-of-life amenities.
• Looking at the water and sewer bond problem the City Council faced this winter in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, what do you think is the best solution?
The city only had one solution - put the payment on real estate taxes. The city could not default on these payments, and we did not have sufficient revenue to cover them. The bonds were written with taxes as collateral. If the sales tax referendum passes, then the city can abate these real estate taxes next year. Anyone who says we could cut the general fund to pay them is misinformed. The city could have laid off every employee but police officers and not be able to meet this continuing debt obligation beyond this year. And if the city had defaulted, we would have been sued for breach of contract.
• Looking at the water and sewer bond problem for fiscal year 2012-2013 and beyond, what do you think is the best solution? Do you favor the proposed sales tax increase?
I am the one who suggested the sales tax increase. I don't favor it. It's as painful in its own way as the real estate tax increase. But unless growth picks up again, it has to be one or the other of these two taxes. I wanted to give residents a choice. So far, response to a poll conducted for me by the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce shows local businesses heavily trending toward the sales tax increase as their choice between these two taxes. But the best solution is economic development.
• How would you characterize the working relationships among current City Council members? How do you think you work/would work within that environment?
The majority of council members get along fine - six out of nine. Five of the current aldermen have never made personal attacks on their fellow board members or constituents, or sent false or misleading information to their constituents. Out of the remaining three - one of those has been a continuing problem, the other two less so this past year. When I was first elected mayor, I was surprised and a little unprepared to deal with the nastiness. The first year seemed like one attack after another, but things did calm down. We don't always agree, but that's what democracy is all about - sharing ideas and coming up with a consensus.