The Chronicle’s 2019 Consolidated Election Voters Guide: Three Flossmoor Board of Trustees candidate responded to our questionnaire, Gyata Kimmons, James Mitros and write-in candidate Michelle Nelson.
FLOSSMOOR VILLAGE BOARD TRUSTEE CANDIDATES
4-year term (vote for 3)
B.A., History and Political Science, University of Illinois, 1983
J.D. University of Illinois, 1986
I am currently employed as an owner and attorney in the law firm of Cameli & Hoag, P.C in Chicago. The firm specializes in jury trial of civil litigation cases.
I have lived in Flossmoor since 1986 and the south suburbs my entire life. My wife, Karen, is a lifetime resident (H-F, 1981). I have raised my children in Flossmoor. My daughter Katelyn (H-F, 2012) is a graduate of the University of Michigan and is currently in graduate school at Indiana University. My son Perry III is a senior at H-F and will graduate in May 2019.
Yes, I have served as a trustee for the Village of Flossmoor since 1995.
Other elected positions:
Most important issues:
The most important issues facing the Village of Flossmoor are financial stability, economic development and maintaining infrastructure. Our village is strong financially, especially compared to neighboring communities. However, economic development will continue to be a monumental challenge in the south suburbs. During my tenure as a trustee, the village has met that challenge with significant new business developments such as Meijer grocery store, Ingalls Family Care Center, Starbucks, Buona Beef and numerous professional offices. The ongoing need for repair and maintenance of streets, sidewalks, sewers and water mains will continue to be a long-term challenge for Flossmoor and its aging infrastructure.
The board has a strong record of economic development, and I will continue to aggressively pursue new development along Vollmer Road and Flossmoor Road. Flossmoor will need economic development and the sales tax potentially generated in order to balance our budget moving forward. My most important goal, however, will be to continue to pursue fiscally prudent and responsible policies. With the financial challenges facing Flossmoor and the State of Illinois, we cannot afford to waste any taxpayer money on frivolous or unnecessary projects. My most important contribution to the future of the Village of Flossmoor will be to serve as a responsible custodian of the taxpayers’ money.
B.A. Political Science, Hampton University
J.D., Howard University School of Law
Consultant/Founder and CEO Ridge Strategy Group
My wife, Dr. Leslie Baker Kimmons, and daughters Layla and Morgan who attend Parker Junior High.
Other elected positions:
Most important issues:
An important issue to address is smart economic development. This is a necessity and should highlight and complement the nature of our community. Flossmoor residents need more shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations, employment opportunities, innovative lifestyle experiences and increased commercial property and sales tax revenue.
We also need to address ways that we can positively affect our property tax/home value disparity. We also need to advocate to our various taxing bodies changes to the property tax rate and other tax abatement strategies to lessen our burden in the south suburbs.
Furthermore, new technologies and strategies can be used to market and promote Flossmoor both externally and internally. Externally to growing families and new businesses, and internally to increase community pride and participation in community activities as well as expediting service calls and public announcements.
If elected, one goal would be to create a smart economic growth strategy tailored to Flossmoor. The strategy would support and expand existing businesses and attract new businesses; leverage the character and assets of our community; and support residents’ workforce development skill needs.
Next, I would address ways that our home values can be increased by implementing measures such as: infrastructure improvements to roads and sidewalks; seminars on property maintenance/property value; continue to build relationships with building owners and leverage the newly enacted Vacant Building Registration Program to ensure properties are maintained; and having more involvement with our library, school and park districts to raise ratings and profiles.
I would work with our state and local elected officials on tax abatement strategies to lessen our tax burden in the south suburbs. Additionally, I would engage residents’ skillsets and diverse perspectives to better understand issues and enlist talent and community participation.
It has been wonderful living and raising my family in Flossmoor. If elected, I look forward to working collaboratively with the Board, and to be of service to the community by utilizing my public and private sector experience to benefit our village and neighbors.
James C. Mitros
Education: Bachelor of Science, Management, Purdue University-Calumet
Occupation: Zegers, Inc., a steel and aluminum processing business and investment property
Family: My wife Nancy and I have four children – Mary Erin, Catherine, John and Anna Mae.
Incumbent: Yes, serving from 1995 to the present.
Other elected positions: Though not elected, I served on the Flossmoor Zoning Board from 1993 to 1995.
Most important issues:
Effectively marketing our town to new residents.
Aggressively seeking new business along Vollmer near Meijer, as well as Flossmoor Road in the recently acquired developable land which will aid in offsetting declining resources from the State Distributive Fund.
Old infrastructure which needs attention, and changing technology issues.
Alternative water source.
Inclusionary events to help residents feel more connected and promote a sense of community.
Develop and implement an effective marketing strategy and marketing budget.
Aggressively seek new business and revenue.
Look for new opportunities for inclusive community functions.
Continue infrastructure improvements including new water meters in all residences.
Identify and evaluate alternative water sources.
Identify and implement diversity inclusion measures.
Pursue nuisance property and vacant home concerns.
Develop a new model of maintaining streets – more maintenance (extending the useful life of resurfaced roadways) and less reliance on resurfacing
Education: B.A., Eastern Illinois University
Family: Wife, Jeanette, and 3 children ages 12 and younger
Other elected positions: Loyola University JFRC John Felice Rome Center Alumni Board Member, 2006-Present
Most important issues :
I believe Flossmoor is a jewel located on the south side of Chicago. We must look to build this brand now. We are all being solicited to rethink the place we call home. Whether it’s law firms taking out ads in our church bulletins- highlighting the tax woes in Flossmoor, or the State of Indiana asking us to live there, we must counter those solicitations with real, palpable reasons why we choose Flossmoor, and will continue to. The desirability of the village needs to increase over our competition. We will do that by collectively working towards aggressive economic development goals, having immaculate parks and streets, a vibrant and efficient downtown, maintaining a safe and secure village, and continuing the excellence of our school system. Another issue is that the village needs an injection of new blood, new ideas and forward thinking. The status quo is not acceptable anymore.
The definition of trustee is: “An individual person or member of a board given control or powers of administration of property in trust with a legal obligation to administer it solely for the purposes specified.” I believe this definition does not fit what Flossmoor needs now. We need our trustees to also be brand ambassadors, cheerleaders, village representatives or whatever nouns you’d like to use. We cannot have six trustees resting on the laurels of fiduciary responsibility and property administration. The job today is much bigger than that. My goal for this office is to add these paramount job requirements to the definition of a Flossmoor trustee.
B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1999
I managed construction for the Chicago region of the largest privately held real estate company in the USA until my third child was born. I oversaw construction operations in over 5 million square feet of commercial office space in Chicago. I was also part of the team that built the ComEd building in Oakbrook Terrace and managed the complete renovation of the Office Park of Hinsdale at Ogden and I-294. I also built my own business from my kitchen to a brick and mortar store and sold it to an investor.
I am serving on the Board of Directors of the Homewood Science Center and HF Robotics. I have been a part of major fundraising campaigns for the Homewood Science Center, School District 161 PTO, and Flossmoor Service League, and volunteered time to many causes in the area.
Family: Husband Cameron Nelson and children Kate, Liam, Logan and Kammi.
Other elected positions: No
Most important goals:
First, we need to increase the value of our homes. We will do that by making our area more attractive to home buyers. A thoughtfully planned and developed retail corridor along Vollmer Road from Crawford to Kedzie will be attractive to buyers, bring in necessary revenue to fix our current operating deficit and provide funds for infrastructure repairs. 18,000 cars drive down Vollmer Road daily. I want to capture revenue that we are currently missing out on and give motorists a reason to stop.
I will also increase our motor fuel tax fund, which are the funds used to pave our roads, by having IDOT install a sign along I-57 that lets motorists know that we have a Starbucks and Buona Beef at our exit. While motorists are stopped to refuel their bodies, they can refuel their cars. We should also increase awareness among Flossmoor drivers that if they want better roads, they can directly help by buying their gas in Flossmoor.
Additionally, we will develop a marketing plan for our town that brings people in to see our marque events such as Flossmoor Fest, Beer Fest and the first annual Flossmoor Half Marathon.
We will promote our schools so our current and future residents can appreciate the breadth of talent we are developing here!
10 years ago I was introduced to the notion of “Flossmoor gracious” by a fellow Zoning Board of Appeals member. I will welcome anyone who has an idea or criticism to share, whether it’s at a board meeting or over coffee. I will address neighbors’ concerns as if they were my own. Current trustees do not host regular “office hours,” so I will start the trend by offering to meet with residents monthly, or more, as required. One trustee should sit on each of the village’s committees to improve the collaboration with village departments, and I will lead that effort by example as well.
I will resurrect the Electrical Commission and expand it to include all utilities. Power outages are an especially big problem for our residents, who collectively amass huge losses of personal property each year.
I will help unite the Village. It feels as if we don’t come together enough. I will create events in each part of the village that involve the entire village. Let’s line up food trucks at area parks once a week! I will also encourage musically talented youth to perform weekly throughout the summer in front of our library. We need to create more reasons to come together and get to know each other!