Rebecca Boyd-Obarski

Rachel-Boyd-ObarskiCity Council Candidate

Campaign Website: www.rebeccaboydobarski.com/

Circle one: Employed, unemployed, retired

If employed, where? Nagle Obarski PC.

How long have you lived in Naperville? 28 years

20 Questions

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

I believe that community service is important and I enjoy it. In 2015 at least 5 members of our City Council will be new to their positions. While that offers a great opportunity for new ideas and fresh energy on the council, it also brings the challenges that naturally come with change. My personality, skills and training will be valuable during the transition

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

No.

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 give it as many hours as it takes to be informed, to be prepared and to serve the city.

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

I am a good listener, a thoughtful decision-maker and an experienced collaborator. I am committed to good governance. I will listen to the citizens, work with my fellow Council members and City staff, and hold myself and the others accountable, examining City issues and making decisions based on what is best for all of Naperville.

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

  • A. The principal challenge for Council is to be ever-mindful of doing what is best for the entire city, from children to senior citizens, and not only for today, but also for the future.
  • B. Managing the traffic congestion, assuring adequate parking space and facilitating participation in community activities are issues that impact every citizen, north to south and east to west.
  • C. City Council also must maintain fiscal discipline and good stewardship with regard to the tax revenue and our city resources. We can’t be overconfident of growing prosperity or complacent about financial issues.

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

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

I co-chaired the Yes At Large referendum in 2013. Keeping Naperville’s elected officials responsible to all of the citizens of Naperville and not territorially focused on only one segment was a historic victory for all the citizens of Naperville, I am proud to have been a part of it.

8. What boards or commissions have you served previously?

I am presently chairman of the Naperville Board of Fire & Police Commissioners. I have been a commissioner for 7 years. Over the years I have also served on several Naperville not for profit and community boards, e.g., Naperville CARES, 360 Youth Services, and Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry.

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

I would request that we initiate a task force to study the satisfaction of “Naperville life” in the southwest quadrant of Naperville. We need to be mindful that Naperville is geographically large and the downtown amenities are not necessarily convenient for everyone. I have heard that there are concerns about city amenities in that area, if that is the case, the City could take the lead to find solutions that will give residents a stronger connection to Naperville as a whole and also a stronger sense of connectedness to their nearby neighbors. We are a big enough city that we could have more than one “go to” area.

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

I hope I am perceived as a respectful and open-minded listener; as a problem-solver; and as good public servant.

11. What business development needs can you identify?

There are many business development issues, among them, the need for good employers, the need for shopping conveniences near to neighborhoods and the need to keep an attractive and thriving downtown business district.

One immediate need is the re-development of older shopping centers and now empty big store buildings in established neighborhoods. Not only are the empty storefronts sad to look at, the empty stores are not serving our residents.

We also must continue the development of the Naperville Crossings business district at Route 59/95th Street. That area could support much more retail and restaurant businesses, as well as become a community-gathering center.

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

The city should continue to work collaboratively with the Naperville Development Partnership (NDP), Naperville staff in the Transportation, Engineering and Development department (TED), the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Naperville Alliance. Naperville should safeguard the Naperville quality of life as though it were a brand – keeping up the reputation as a great place to live, work and visit.

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

We must maintain the AAA Bond Rating and also continue to provide top quality city services at reasonable rates thereby keeping property taxes as low as possible. Recent legislative initiatives in Springfield may have a potentially severe impact on School Districts 203 and 204, while that is not within the City’s control, we need to be mindful of it and represent the voices of our residents on the issues.

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

I believe the City can play a role in disseminating information about the real estate inventory to realtors and potential buyers. Along those lines, I support the work of the Senior Citizen Project recently authorized by City Council.

I would also ask that the City staff review zoning and planned use maps to determine areas for possible lower cost new housing development, and I would also support investigating federal loan or grant programs that may support good affordable housing options.

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

Public safety services are the most important. Our police and fire departments are both exemplary organizations staffed with skilled professionals that are committed to public service. They are the front line, able and ready to serve when called upon. As a city we have to be committed to training, equipping and developing those departments.

The least important would vary from time to time depending on what other issues are on the table. That’s the role of Council – on an annual basis in budgeting and on a case-by-case basis as the needs arise – to listen, evaluate and determine what the City most needs at that point in time.

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?

Yes, I am presently on the Boards of Directors of Naperville CARES and 360 Youth Services.

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

The most important public amenity in Naperville to me is the Riverwalk. It truly is the crown jewel of Naperville. In addition, its funding and upkeep is a great example of intergovernmental and citizen commitment. I fully support continuing to fund it with City funds in partnership with the Naperville Park District and the Riverwalk Foundation.

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

I would first evaluate each SECA grant application against the SECA grant requirements. Then I would rank those applications, looking to fund community-building events and cultural experiences for our community and visitors that enhance the quality of life in Naperville.

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

I have experience in this process as a Fire & Police Commissioner. Based on those experiences, I believe the City uses best practices in open and competitive bidding and its contracting processes are comparable to or better than other municipal and local government systems.

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 believe the following twelve entities (not necessarily in order of importance) provide services that are very important and valuable to the fabric of our Naperville community and should be considered priorities for funding (provided they meet the grant requirements):

1. The Naperville Riverwalk
2. The Naperville Public Library
3. Naperville Development Partnership
4. The Downtown Naperville Alliance
5. NCTV
6. The Naperville Municipal Band
7. Exchange Club – Ribfest
8. VFW – Memorial Day Parade
9. Jaycees – Last Fling
10. Naperville CARES – Emergency Assistance
11. DuPage Children’s Museum
12. Naper Settlement

Vote April 7, 2015

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