Editor’s Note: On January 29, 2015, Jim Bergeron announced that he was suspending his candidacy for Naperville City Council.
Editor’s Update: While his name will appear on the April 7 ballot, Bergeron said after the City Council meeting Tues., March 17—when the council voted 5-4 to keep the regulation in place that prevents city officials from holding a liquor license— that he is no longer a candidate. Now the number of candidates running to fill eight seats for councilman is 19. The discussion of the proposal to amend an ordinance of the municipal code is online in the archive of City Council meetings.
Circle one: Employed, Unemployed or Retired?
If employed, where? Owner of The Wise Boxer Pour House
1. What motivated you to run for Naperville City Council?
Being a small business owner I have been very involved in our city for many years. Serving on many boards and organizations including The Naperville Area Chamber board where I was chairman of the legislative committee. I believe with my knowledge and skills I have a lot to offer our city.
2. If elected to serve your community, will you accept health care benefits from the City of Naperville? YES
3. If elected, how much time per week are you willing to give to prepare for City Council meetings, budget workshops and liaison appointments on boards/commissions?
I am willing to commit as much time as needed to get the job done right. Some periods of the year, like budget time, will require more than others.
4. What quality and/or skill set will you bring to a nonpartisan City Council?
I have worked with the city for many years as part of organizations to get things done. Both on a city level and in Springfield when needed. For example as Chairman of the Downtown Naperville Alliance I had to work very close with the city council and city staff on both new ordinances, budget workshops and large public/private projects like the Van Buren Parking garage.
5. What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the City today?
- A. Pension reform
- B. Growing our commercial tax base
- C. Misuse of SECA funds
6. Do you favor term limits for City Council and other local/state governing bodies?
YES, but it would depend on the limit set.
7. Name one contribution you have made to our city that you think was most significant of your community service to date.
I believe being one of the organizing members of the Downtown Naperville Alliance as well as being an organizing member of my Stillwater Home Owners Association.
8. What boards or commissions have you served previously?
Stillwater Home Owners Association, Naperville Area Chamber, Naperville Chamber PAC, Hawthorne Credit Union Board Of Directors, Naperville Restaurant Association, The Noon Rotary Club Of Naperville, Naperville Community Bank, Rotary Oktoberfest Committee, Naperville Chamber Legislative Committee,
9. Realistically and fiscally speaking, if you could change/improve one thing in the city, what would it be?
I really think we need to get more aggressive on developing the city’s commercial tax base. For many years our city grew very rapidly, but a majority of that growth were houses. At the same time we saw a decrease in some of our major employers. We are off balanced in my onion. For the long term health of Naperville, we need to grow our commercial tax base to take the pressure of property taxes for the residents of our community.
10. How do hope to be perceived by city staff, city manager, other council members and constituents?
Like I have already said I have worked with city staff, the city manager and city council members for years. I believe I have a developed a good relationship with them all. Now I hope to get the chance to prove myself to the residents of all of Naperville.
11. What business development needs can you identify?
There is not just one thing here to look at. We need to look at all areas in the city and come up with specific plans for the specific needs of that area. One solution will not fit all. Like the Ogden corridor, Downtown, and the 95th street development on the south side of town all have their challenges.
12. What can the City of Naperville do better to retain and attract businesses?
We need to be willing to use all of our tools that are at our disposal. Each case would need to be looked at as a unique challenge.
13. What can the City Council do to help keep real estate and property values in check?
Work hard to grow our commercial tax base.
14. What do you think the City Council could do to help keep Naperville affordable for homeowners of all ages?
The best thing we can do is to keep the property taxes low.
15. What service provided by the City of Naperville do you deem most important? Police and Fire Least important?
Would want to do more research on this.
16. Are you a member of a service club or nonprofit board of directors that receives SECA funds or other grants from the City of Naperville?
Not currently If yes, which one(s)? But I am a member of the DNA and was Rotarian for years
17. What city amenity is most important and how do you think it should be funded/raise revenue?
I think the Riverwalk is the gem of our city. As for funding I believe it should be a private/public partnership.
18. How would you qualify Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) applicants for funding?
I believe this is a big issue. As part of a small group of people that first started the idea of SECA being born, we had much different ideas on how the fund some be managed. I think the entire program needs to be overhauled at this time. But in the long run a SECA program is needed.
19. What is your opinion of the bidding and letting process at the City of Naperville?
I think there needs to be a better weighting system for keeping bids, when possible, with local companies. This helps grow jobs and tax base locally and keeps our tax money working for us here in town.
20. In addition to employee salaries and public safety, place in order of importance to you 12 assets and public/private partnerships that currently receive funding from the City of Naperville.
I would want to do more research on this before ranking them. I do believe that each of these assets should be reviewed every two years to see if they are still viable. Just because we have supported something for years does not mean that we should continue to do so. And on the flip side of that there may be new assets that need the city’s support.