Voters Guide: Village of Flossmoor

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Voters Guide: Village of Flossmoor

February 03, 2021 - 22:57
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Office of mayor

Candidates: 

  • Lakshmi Emory
  • Michelle Nelson

Lakshmi Emory, age 50

Education: B.A., Dartmouth College, 1992; M.D., University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine, 2000; M.P.H., University of Illinois-Chicago, School of Public Health, 2000
Occupation: Primary Care Physician; Healthcare Executive
Current employer: Managed Care Organization
Family: Married; with a daughter who is a junior at H-F High School
Incumbent? No
Other elected positions? None

Most important issues

  1. Economic Growth - Attracting new businesses consistent with the culture and aspirations of the village.
  2. Business Development - Assisting Flossmoor businesses in recovering from the pandemic.
  3. Bolstering Community Services - Including health, wellness, and safety.
  4. Driving Infrastructure Improvements - Including flooding mitigation, street and sidewalk improvements, and village beautification to increase property values.
  5. Championing Equity and Inclusion - Village initiatives which enhance the sense of community.
  6. Regional Collaboration - Positioning Flossmoor as a leader in the Southland.

Goals: If elected, one of the specific goals I would like to accomplish would be the development of the area east of Meijer and the revitalization of the Vollmer Road corridor with preferred businesses, making the village a popular destination in the region.


Michelle Nelson, age 44

Education: B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, 1999
Occupation: Civil Engineer and Project Manager
Current employer: None
Family: Married to Cameron; four children – Kate, 18; Liam, 15; Logan, 14; Kammi, 10
Incumbent: No
Other elected positions: I was elected by the Homewood Board of Trustees to be a trustee of the Homewood Science Center in 2015. I serve as the treasurer of the board. I was elected by the Flossmoor Village Board as a commissioner to the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2009, a position I still hold.

Most important issues: 

  1. Balancing the budget; Flossmoor’s budget is out of balance and has been for years. Staff has commented at board meetings that expenses will continue to outpace revenues without new revenue streams. The situation is dire enough that I cannot promise that it will be balanced in four years.  But by the end of my term we will be well on our way -- we will have made concrete progress on new commercial development and revitalization of existing commercial properties, which will provide additional sales tax revenue.
  2. Reducing homeowners’ tax burden; property taxes in Flossmoor are too high due to our status as a “bedroom community." Homeowners shoulder 83% of the property tax burden in Flossmoor. I will lower that amount by creating new commercial developments on village-owned properties.
  3. Flossmoor is falling behind on infrastructure projects. Our 2017 pavement report detailed $20 million in needed road repairs. Our water and sewer system, bridges, central business district, and public-owned buildings require an additional $20 million to fund repair work. Even with the recent passage of the $10 million referendum, we lack the funds to keep up with maintenance of our capital assets. We will create new revenue streams and continue to seek grants in order to compensate for declining revenues and increasing maintenance costs.

Goals:

  1. Grow Flossmoor by creating a master commercial development plan and bringing in businesses that will thrive in our community, while boosting tax revenues.
  2. Promote Flossmoor throughout Chicagoland by supporting local businesses, realtors and community members in their efforts to draw people to Flossmoor, through community-led efforts such as the Hidden Gem Half Marathon and the Flossmoor History Project.
  3. Improve services by having our Police, Fire, and Public Works Departments host community engagement events in each neighborhood. 
  4. Collaborate with neighbors to promote unity, discuss how to accommodate a growing senior community, regularly recognize neighbors who are “gems,” and present annual beautification and improvement awards to homeowners.
  5. Fix infrastructure by cutting wasteful spending, redirecting funds to maintenance of water and sewer systems and streets, pursuing all grant opportunities and developing a sidewalk repair cost-sharing program.
  6. Raise home values by actively promoting school achievements, developing a recognizable brand and creating more places for shopping and dining.

Board of trustees

Candidates:
(Three 4-year terms)

  • Gary E Daggett
  • Brian H. Driscoll
  • David Walano
  • Joni Bradley-Scott

(One 2-year term)

  • George W Lofton III

Gary E. Daggett, age 44

Education: Carl Sandburg High School Class of 1995; completed Business Management Coursework, College of DuPage 2002-2004
Occupation: Owner and Operator Daggett Property Inspections.  Since March 2012, I work with a wide range of clients from individuals, families, business owners, developers and investors in the evaluation of residential and commercial properties.  I also offer consulting for improvements and renovations from small investment properties to 200,000 sq ft manufacturing facilities.
My business allowed me to build an expansive network of individuals in the real estate industry as well as business owners  and professionals in a wide variety of professions. I have personally inspected over 500 houses in the H-F community alone in the past years.
Former Adjunct Professor at Prairie State College: Home Inspection Licensing Course.
Current employer: Daggett Property Inspections
Family: Married to Shekika; three children, Joshua, 16; Maleeyah, 12; Hannah, 9.
Incumbent? No 
Other elected positions? N/A

Most important issues

  1. I believe our village should be easy to do business with whether you are a resident looking for information or assistance, a small business in our community or a corporation looking to add a footprint here in Flossmoor. I believe that having a cooperative, transparent and helpful city government at our core will greatly influence the growth and vitality of our village.
  2. Economic development. We have land ready for development in the Vollmer Road corridor, Flossmoor Road and other areas that, if done wisely, can bring job opportunities, more options for shopping and dining, increased revenue and ultimately some relief to the property tax to value disparity for residents in Flossmoor.
  3. Infrastructure improvements are needed and responsibly navigating these improvements is essential. Using every resource at our disposal to keep the fiscal impact of these improvements as low as possible is vital.
  4. A need for more support for our local and small businesses through innovative marketing of our village, small business initiatives and better assistance for new and existing business owners.

Goals

  1. Develop a comprehensive plan for developing the available lands and use my contacts and experience in the real estate industry to help facilitate that plan.
  2. Establish small business initiatives to assist new and existing business. This would include a new Flossmoor business owner packet including contacts, aids and information about starting a new business here in Flossmoor, as well as information to connect new businesses to the resources needed here in the village to help them be more successful. 
  3. Work toward bringing more transparency and better communication with residents and business owners in regards to plans for growth, infrastructure improvements, the budget and agenda items as well as responses to on-going issues in our community.

Brian H. Driscoll, age: 59

Education: B.A. Marquette University; J.D., IIT Chicago Kent College of Law.
Occupation: Illinois Certified Municipal Hearing Officer; over 25 years representing both municipalities and employees in employment matters; currently the Municipal Hearing Officer for the Village of Steger. I have presided over thousands of hearings including A-O, C-Class and Housing Court.
Current Employer: Ridge and Downes
Family: Married to Nanette; two children – Shea and Easmon
Incumbent: Yes, elected trustee in 2016
Other elected positions: Not provided

Most important issues

  1. Maintaining our solid financial position in an environment of reduced State of Illinois revenue and reduced economic activity posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  2. Aging infrastructure which has resulted in problems in flooding and street disrepair.
  3. Balancing, maintaining the highest standards in fire and police protection, as well as public works services, while coping with pension mandates from Springfield.
  4. Stabilizing the village’s financial position. The village has maintained an AA + bond rating and dramatically increased sales tax revenue. In order to keep Flossmoor in a strong financial position which capitalizes on our save and spend philosophy, it will be necessary to rapidly expand our economic retail base on Vollmer Road and in downtown Flossmoor.

Goals

  1. We also need to move forward with the flooding and street refurbishment programs on an accelerated basis. Residents recently passed the $10 million storm sewer and street repair bond referendum. However, these funds combined with federal grants, must be spent wisely to ensure that we have flooding protection in Heather Hill and downtown Flossmoor for decades.
  2. We need to follow a 10-year street refurbishment program to get the biggest return for our bond funds.
  3. We need to continue to enhance the village’s housing stock to increase property values; more work needs to be done. New housing ordinances allow the village to track foreclosed houses and fine delinquent bank owners who fail to maintain their property. We need an additional ordinance to hold rental property owners on the same level as residential owners.

David Walano, age 58

Education: Illinois State University,1981
Occupation: A marketing executive with deep experience in media strategy,
sales and management, working for major and independent advertising agencies,
as well as the major media vendors in the Chicago market.
Current employer: Entercom Radio
Family: Married to Debbie; four children – Rachel, Joey, DJ and Elise
Incumbent? No
Other elected positions? None.

Most important issues

  1. I am hoping my experience in marketing will allow me to be a more formidable
  2. contributor to the village board, helping to better market our community to those who would both move here and establish their business here.
  3. We have such a great and diverse community, there really is something for everyone here, and I believe my experience can help provide better strategy to attract new business, while selling the features of our community to new residents looking for a wonderful quality of life to raise their families.
  4. I think in better marketing community, we can help create events, activities and more that not only enhance where we live, but perhaps create additional revenues profitable to both our vendors and the village itself.

Goals: My goal is to provide assistance where I can, to help any resident address their needs and find a solution to whatever issues they might face.  I believe that in establishing a more robust marketing effort, we can create opportunities to attract new residents and power new ideas that will ultimately benefit all of us. We truly are a gem here in the South Suburbs with wonderful schools, great eateries and more. Flossmoor represents a wonderfully diverse group of people who enjoy where they live, care about their neighbors and raise their families. That said, I'd like to help drive new business and develop new opportunities.


Joni Bradley-Scott, age 43
Education: Bachelor of Science, Psychology & Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Iowa; Master of Arts, Lewis University, Organizational Leadership
Current Employer: Realtor, Keller Williams Realty
Family: Married to Percy Scott; children: Zavier, Aubri
Incumbent: Yes
Other elected positions: Village Trustee, Village Clerk (Former)
Important Issues: 

  1. Continue to work towards obtaining and maintaining strong infrastructure throughout the Village
  2. Continue to promote Flossmoor as a desirable community that residents and future residents think highly of and can depend on
  3. Make sure Flossmoor remains a financially strong community that is fiscally responsible and help residents feel confident about the Villages’ financial position.
  4. Goals: 
  5. Continue to continue to promote Flossmoor as a community that residents are proud of, our neighbors admire, and other community’s model.
  6. In looking forward to economic development, it is important to attract the right businesses that can sustain these unusual economic times, flourish beyond them and succeed in a bedroom community like Flossmoor.
  7. Making sure our infrastructure such as water, roads, sidewalks, and sewer are sound, with proper repair and maintenance plans that offer sustainability for years to come.
  8. Continue to work with the schools, library and parks to develop strong relationships that meet the needs of the community

(One 2-year term)
George W Lofton III, age 74

Education: B.S. Architectural Engineering, Chicago Technical College, 1970
Occupation: Retired Vice President, Economic Development; served 37 years in management and executive roles in engineering, marketing, sales, public/legislative affairs, and economic development. Served on the board of trustees at Roosevelt University and Board of Directors at First National Bank in Chicago Heights.
Current employer: Lofton & Associates, Business and Economic Development Consulting
Family: Married to Felecia; three daughters – Hillary, Heather, Hailey
Incumbent? Appointed to an unfinished term of a previous trustee.
Other elected positions? None

Most important issues

  1. Complete the water and sewer projects that will help prevent flooding in viaducts and on streets, particularly in water retention areas.
  2. Continue the pursuit of viable businesses in developable areas within our village.
  3. Work to help maintain excellent and safe services to my fellow residents in Flossmoor.

Goals: My goal is to do all that I can to serve my fellow residents with the best of my professional capability, and to strongly promote Flossmoor as a safe, vibrant and friendly village to live in.