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Village Free Press Candidate Questionnaire_2019

Maywood Trustees

Please submit answers (attached in a MS Word file or in the body of the email) to thevillagefreepress@gmail.com by no later than at anytime on Feb. 21).

Name: Antonette “Toni” Dorris and Steve R. Smiley Age: 51/51 Preferred contact: 708-724-2559/708-699-8481 Previous political experience: Dorris-previous Trustee 2013-2017; Smiley-ran for office in

2017

Previous community experience: Dorris-worked in Mayor’s office for the people and was

Executive Director for the Maywood Park District/ Smiley-current Liquor Commissioner and worked with the Maywood Fest Occupation: Dorris-Self Employed-Business Owner/Smiley-Audio/Visual Management Education: Dorris-some college-will be attending Rasmuessen in April 2019/Smiley-some college via West Virginia State University

Please answer the following questions to the best of your ability. Full disclosure: parts, or all, of your answers are likely be published:

Infrastructure

In January 2018, the board voted unanimously to establish a commission of experts and community stakeholders that would explore the feasibility of the village tapping into a water source in Maywood that officials say runs directly underneath the Prairie Path and flows through to DuPage County. If such a measure is implemented, Maywood would no longer be reliant on Melrose Park for transmitting water a service for which the village pays Melrose Park $1.8 million a year, according to an estimate by Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet. Since its creation, however, there is no evidence that the committee has met. Do you agree with the committee’s formation? Yes but we are not aware of who the experts and community stakeholders are?

If so, how will you ensure that the committee actually meets regularly and do what it was

Provide a liaison from the board to attend these meetings and ONLY

created to do?

listen. Hold the Village Manager and liaison accountable for monthly updates to the village board. This allows the entire board to get a full perspective of what was discussed and how to properly address all issues that lead to a feasible solution. These meetings should also be open to the public.

How do you propose that the village fund much-needed infrastructure projects, such as long overdue roadway and alley improvements, that are not eligible for alternative forms of revenue, such as TIF funding; and county, state and/or federal grants? In the past, these projects were funded via the resources mentioned. Now that we have a new governor, Maywood needs to hire a grant writer, encourage the village manager and mayor to go to

Springfield once or twice a quarter to meet with our legislators, meet lobbyist who can assist with obtaining additional and possibly NEW funding. We must become creative by including newer forms of revenue in our village by creating “co-ops”, turning Maywood into a “smart city”, push harder for economic development packages for the small entrepreneur and finally, review in depth the current financial investments that the village has and seek alternative diversified measures to meet today’s investment cycle.

Revenue

For the last several years, the board has approved 3 to 4 percent annual levy increases despite staff recommending increases that are higher in an effort to address residents’ property tax burden. A major result of these minimal levy increases, however, has been that the village has forgone potentially millions of dollars in much-needed annual tax revenue over that time period. That translates into the village having to make emergency purchases, such as the acquisition of a nearly $1 million aerial ladder truck for the fire department, by taking out loans that only add to the village’s debt load. How would you balance the need to collect tax revenue with legitimate concerns about residents’ property tax burden? We have yet to see an action plan from staff for Economic Development that would show residents a point of stability. The Village Manager has to be held accountable for quarterly reports of real spending/revenue per department and potential projections per department. We would request that the internal spending of the village be audited to ensure that we cut the fatin every department before we head to the residents requesting a tax increase. Recommend to gauge what is direly needed and what can wait 18-24 months for purchasing per department. Eliminate the “No Bid Waiver” process and follow the process because everything thats an emergency cost more. Set realistic goals and benchmarks for the Village Manager to achieve and have this reviewed quarterly until positive change comes.

Finance

What are some of your ideas for addressing Maywood’s annual deficit? Eliminate wasteful spending; remove “top heavymanagement in departments that do not require 2-3 bosses; hold the Village Manager accountable for quarterly reports of real spending per department and provide forecast rigid projections per department; eliminate some of the contracted services and have staff trained to do the job; continue to press toward creating and building Economic Development.

It’s low credit rating? The credit rating began to rise in 2016-not sure of what happened since then however; being in a deficit effects the credit rating-nonpayment of bills. We knew in 2014 that Economic Development was an issue and poor planning creates poor results. By catching up on the villages audits gives you a modest guide to use towards the future. Finally, we would work together as a board alongside the Village Manager to also find ways to increase the credit rating.

Trust

What are your thoughts on the level of trust that residents have in village officials to responsibly serve their interests? Residents have little to no trust-theyve lost hope.

Do you think that trust between residents and village officials needs to be improved? Absolutely!

If so, how would you work to help improve it? The board must first illustrateto the residents that they are in fact working as a team to better the community. When each elected official takes SELFout and understand that everything you do as an elected official takes a TEAM effort-things change for better. MVP is the example of teamwork and would assist by reminding our colleagues to stay focused and remember why were

here and who we actually work for-the residents of Maywood. theres no Iin the word TEAM!

The old saying is,

The population of Maywood has changed rather dramatically in the last 10 years, with the village having experienced a significant infusion of Hispanic residents. For instance, the student population of both Districts 89 and 209 are more than 50 percent Hispanic.

Do you believe that this growing demographic is adequately represented in the village? No.

If not, what are some of your ideas for reaching out to the Hispanic community in Maywood? If elected, we would encourage our colleagues on the board to create additional commissions that focus on representing the Hispanic Community in the Village of Maywood!

Business & Economic Development

What is your position on the issuance of Class M liquor licenses for businesses that may want to bring video gambling into Maywood? We do not support the Class M Liquor License at this time.

In October 2018, the board voted 5 to 2 in favor of a resolution in support of granting National Cycle Inc. a Cook County Sustainable Emergency Relief Class 6b property tax incentive that company officials estimated could translate into around $1.4 million in tax savings over 10 yearsdespite the very vocal objections to the tax break made by Manager Willie Norfleet, who said that the company’s savings would potentially mean higher tax bills for residents. How do you manage the need to provide property tax relief for businesses with the need to make sure that already overburdened homeowners are not bearing even more of the property tax burden than they need to? We do not support the granting of National Cycle Inc. tax savings and would have voted no if we were Trustees at that time. This makes no sense and yet our only solutions to the residents are high taxes, no economic development and poor services.

What is your understanding of Maywood’s reputation in certain industry circles (i.e., retail, manufacturing, etc.) as a place to do business? Our current reputation is minimal to no interest. Minimally, Potential Outside Investors know that this village will turn around one day but right now, the risk is too high.

Do you think Maywood can improve its reputation and, if so, how? Absolutely we can change our reputation! The headof this village must set the stage. If the head(village

board and Village Manager) are divided; the body (town) will be divided.

begin to communicate, empower and request the involvement of the residents, you will begin to change mindsets. We all play an intricate part in reclaimingour reputation because all things are possible!

When you

Governance

What is your understanding of the role and functions of the Maywood Board of Trustees? A trustee serves a four year term as a member of the village board which is the legislative body that develops and approve ordinances and resolutions governing the life of the community. The board approves the budget & expenditures made in support of the operations and business of the village. The board provides direction to the Village Manager who oversees the daily activities of all village departments.

Do you think that the current village manager form of government is sufficient? No.

If not, would you support switching to a full-time mayor form of government? Yes

From what you can tell, is there currently a system in place that effectively evaluates the performance of village administrators and employees? It’s in place; it’s not being utilized/implemented. If not, do you think one needs to be implemented?

Do you believe that key village committees and commissions, particularly the board’s finance committee and the village’s water commission and economic development commission, are active and/or effective enough? Not active enough.

If not, how might you help them become more active and effective? Remind staff and members of those committees the importance they bring in moving towards solutions in those particular areas and require monthly updates-if needed.

Public Safety

Do you believe that Maywood is, generally speaking, a safe community? No

If so, what are some things that make this so?

If not, what are some ideas you have to make the village safer? We need more officers visible in cars and walking/biking the streets.

Do you believe that the village is spending too little, just enough or too much money to settle police misconduct and workman’s compensation cases? Too much.

If you believe too much or too little money, what are some of your ideas for getting those expenditures to a level you believe is sufficient? When police officers make mistakes that cost the village, they should feel the wrath monetarily as well. This would remind officers to be diligent in doing their job correctly.

Miscellaneous

If elected, what are the three things that you would do as a member of the Maywood Board of Trustees immediately upon your swearing-in (and ‘immediately’ means within your first two months as a board member)? Be as specific as possible.

Steven R. Smiley and Antonette “Toni” Dorris: We would immediately request, address and implement solutions for the following:

Request to provide updates from current Water Committee, Water Commission to begin to create a plan to once and for all resolve the water issues in the village

Request to provide board with current financial statuses on all accounts & departments. The board could then, meet with the Village Manager and go over each department in detail as it pertains to finances. Until we become financially functional again, this would occur for at least 2/3 years in a row-twice a year.

Request Village Manager to provide the board his most recent evaluations of his Directors staff. If we really look at this, the elected officials have changed but the Directors for the departments have not. With that said, if a Director has been in their position for at least 5 years and theyre still employed at the village today, you would guess that this Director is doing an excellent job for the residents, right? Maywood Visionary Party does not see that analogy in our view and this is why we chose to work for the people of Maywood. #Reclaim Maywood!!