Judith Brodhead

Judy_BroadheadCandidate for City Council

Website: www.brodheadfornaperville.com

Slogan: “Experience Matters, Results Count”

Employed at North Central College; Associate Professor of English, Administrative Coordinator of Cultural Events

I have lived in Naperville since 1985.

20 Questions

1. What motivated you to run for Naperville City Council?

As an English professor, mother of three, and homeowners’ association president, and having lived all over the country, I found Naperville welcoming in comparison to suburbs in other states, and plunged into the world of volunteer boards. After many years of board experience, I knew I was prepared. The past six years on the City Council have been challenging and rewarding, and I welcome the 2015 race.

2. If elected to serve your community, will you accept health care benefits from the City of Naperville?

Yes, at this time.

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 average 20 hours per week, and that is what I would anticipate in the future. I’m a member of six boards with monthly meetings. Correspondence, phone calls, email, reading documents, preparing for meetings, attending local events, and the meetings themselves round out the 20 hours.

4. What quality and/or skill set will you bring to a nonpartisan City Council?

Having spent more than sixteen years on city commissions before being elected six years ago, I have a great deal of experience in evaluating controversial issues and in achieving consensus. My lengthy experience in suburban planning will serve me in good stead as we consider how to develop over the next few decades.

5. What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the City today?

The three biggest issues facing the city right now are all connected to maintaining our high level of services while keeping taxes at a reasonable level and upholding our AAA bond rating:

  • (1) preserving our status as one of the safest communities in the country
  • (2) supporting initiatives that will bring jobs and economic development
  • (3) planning the future of the downtown and other sectors.

6. Do you favor term limits for City Council and other local/state governing bodies?

The City Council already has term limits (3 terms), which went into effect in 2013. I would favor continuing to evaluate the pros and cons of term limits at the state and federal level.

7. Name one contribution you have made to our city that you think was most significant of your community service to date.

I presided over the Plan Commission hearings for the Southwest Sector (Sector G) Plan adopted in 2002, resulting in the development of the 95th Street corridor (95th Street library, NVHS, YMCA, Naperville Crossing). Since my election, if I can mention just one initiative, it would be supporting social service efforts to reduce substance abuse.

8. What boards or commissions have you served previously?

Prior to election: Transportation Advisory Board (1990-1991), Plan Commission (1991-2002, Chair 1997-2002), Zoning Board of Appeals (2002-2006, Chair 2004-2006). Currently, I am a board member for the Naperville Development Partnership, the Downtown Advisory Commission, the Riverwalk Commission, the NCTV-17 Board, the DMMC Legislative Committee, and the Community Alliance for Prevention.

9. Realistically and fiscally speaking, if you could change/improve one thing in the city, what would it be?

If I could wave a magic wand, I’d bury the remaining 8% of our electrical lines that are above ground to increase our already-excellent power reliability. Realistically, we can work on upgrading our infrastructure as the budget allows, including burying electrical lines, when new or revamped development comes in to share the cost.

10. How do hope to be perceived by city staff, city manager, other council members and constituents?

I hope that city staff, city manager, other council members, and constituents perceive me as professional, hardworking, conscientious, respectful, and fair-minded. I have an excellent and productive relationship with the staff, city manager, and fellow council members, and always strive to be responsive to residents.

11. What business development needs can you identify?

It’s essential that the city continue to attract businesses that provide jobs and broaden our tax base. For instance, businesses that need high-tech employees will find a ready-made, well-educated pool of applicants right here. Sales taxes paid by Naperville stores and businesses provide about 29% of our tax revenues, a higher percentage than residential property taxes.

12. What can the City of Naperville do better to retain and attract businesses?

Naperville has put a lot of effort into streamlining their processes to reduce red tape for potential businesses. Naperville must continue to retain and attract firms through similar business-friendly practices. One example this year (suggested by the Naperville Development Partnership and adopted by the City Council) was the elimination of the IAC (infrastructure availability charge).

13. What can the City Council do to help keep real estate and property values in check?

What the city can do is to keep its portion of real estate taxes in check, which we have manage to do for the past six years, even when EAV fell as a result of the recession. The synergy of good schools, good local government, and great services (from the city, park district, and libraries) supports our property values and makes Naperville one of the best communities in the nation, evident in survey after survey.

14. What do you think the City Council could do to help keep Naperville affordable for homeowners of all ages?

We can encourage a mix of housing types, including apartments, condominiums, town homes, single family homes, and senior-oriented development. We need a mix of housing for renters (often in their 20s, or retired) and homeowners so that three or four generations can live in the same town. This can be done by updating Master Plans and considering new kinds of housing types, like “granny flats” mixed with larger homes.

15. What service provided by the City of Naperville do you deem most important? Least important?

Certainly police and fire protection, water (including sewer construction and maintenance), and electrical power are all vital. Road and bridge construction and maintenance and snow plowing are also in the top ten. This list shows that our municipal government provides very basic, meat-and-potatoes services to our residents and businesses.

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?

I am one of the two council members on the Board of Directors of NCTV-17, the local cable television channel. NCTV-17 applies for SECA funding for particular projects. I am also on the NDP (Naperville Development Partnership) board, which receives SECA funding for local restaurant industry marketing.

17. What city amenity is most important and how do you think it should be funded/raise revenue?

Assuming PN means a physical entity rather than an event or a service, the Riverwalk is the most important amenity that can be used by everyone, providing recreation, scenic beauty, outdoor space, and reminders of our city’s heritage, bookmarked by Centennial Beach and our downtown. It is appropriately funded through tax dollars and the Riverwalk Foundation.

18. How would you qualify Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) applicants for funding?

The SECA Commission does an excellent job of determining appropriate funding for applicants. SECA covers a wide range of Special Events (“SE”) like Ribfest and Last Fling, and Cultural Amenities (“CA”), like visual arts, theatre, dance, and ethnic celebrations. Right now $2 million of projects each year bring in thousands of visitors who enjoy our restaurants and shopping.

19. What is your opinion of the bidding and letting process at the City of Naperville?

The current bidding process at the city works well. I am not in favor of adding a local preference to the process, which could result in higher costs for our taxpayers. (Local bidders are always encouraged to submit bids.) The city has been successful in all cases where the bid process has been challenged.

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.

In rough order (some are tangible assets, some intangible):

1. Electric Department and infrastructure
2. Water Department, water and sewer infrastructure
3. Road and bridge infrastructure
4. Naperville Public Libraries
5. Naper Settlement
6. Municipal buildings and landholdings (e.g., the Municipal Center, DuPage Children’s Museum land)
7. Park District/Riverwalk property owned by the city
8. Naperville Development Partnership
9. NCTV-17
10. Public art on publicly owned or maintained property

Vote April 7, 2015

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