Richard “Dick” Furstenau

Dick Portrait.1

City Council Candidate

Campaign Website: www.electfurstenau.com

Slogan: Now, like never before…experience counts.

How long have you lived in Naperville? 37 years

20 Questions

1. What motivated you to run for City Council?

In less than three fiscal years, we have come from a $15M surplus to a forecast budget for the next fiscal year, which is approximately $12M in expenses over forecast 2015/2016 revenues. My previous experience and understanding of the City’s operations motivated me to run and help the City where I can be of the most value.

2. If selected 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?

Average 32 hours per week.

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

Collaborative and cooperative team member. Many life experiences leading, directing, and assessing large organizations to a specified goal and yearly budget. Provide a very substantial knowledge of City operations, financial obligations and work force of the City.

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

  • A. 2015/2016 budget. And based on the current forecast of revenues and expenses, the four years following will be just as difficult.
  • B. Land use concerning both fill-in and final build-out in residential and commercial neighborhoods. This would include accompanying transportation issues.
  • C. Downtown issues concerning parking and criminal activities, particularly after 10:00 pm.

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.

While I served as an elected councilman during the 2006-2011 great recession, the City was faced with unprecedented revenue short falls in the budgets. The Council took many actions that helped alleviate the situation with no additional property taxes required. One action that was necessary was to reduce the City’s head-count budget from approximately 1,100 to approximately 900 employees.

8. What boards or commissions have you served previously?

DuPage Water Commission – 2010-present, Naperville Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee – 2003-present, City Councilman – 1999-2011, Kids Matter, NCTV, Downtown Alliance Committee (DAC), Special Events Committee, Fleet Economics Committee, DuPage Mayor and Managers Regulatory Committee, DuPage Mayor and Manager Legislative Committee, Illinois Municipal Electrical Agency (IMEA), Carillon Foundation Member, Naperville Refuge Contract Committee, Electrical Purchase Contract Committee, and Financial Advisory Board, City Selection Hiring Committee.

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

Transportation and movement of traffic. By making seemingly small improvements and timing of stop lights in high traffic areas, improvement can be made for very reasonable investments in the infrastructure.

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

As an active contributor, collaborator and knowledge base who helps lead the Council to succinct and workable solutions.

11. What business development needs can you identify?

First, the Council can review all our permitting processes and costs so we are as competitive cost wise as any other community surrounding us. Second, City staff and organizations should be timely and consistent in their relations with the business community. They also should communicate the requirements of the City in a supportive manner.

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

Naperville could maintain a tighter vigilance on taxes and expenses that encourage businesses to come here and so businesses can afford to stay here. Local brick and mortar businesses compete with the internet that charges no sales taxes.

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

The market place determines real estate and property values, not the Council. The Council could cut back on delivering City services that are required, but unfortunately this would also reduce home values.

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

Naperville is a community of move-up buyers and move-up renters. Many young people cannot afford the mortgage of our homes nor the rents. I wish I could change that. Short of the City building homes and apartment complexes that are price and rent controlled, the situation is not correctable with local municipalities available tax dollars to invest in these kinds of ventures.

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

The short answer for most important is the utilities – water/sewer/electrical system. However, all City services are important for our community to be recognized as a place where people want to bring their families and live in a well functioning city. This would also include our school districts for which the tax payers pay dearly.

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? NO.

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

I’d have to choose the Library system. It should continue to be funded with donations and taxpayer’s dollars as it is currently part of the City’s budget. A close second would be the River Walk.

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

The Council currently selects a committee to review applicants, with which I agree. At my suggestion, a current non-profit federal tax return was requested by the Council to be included in the application. I would continue to agree with the current process unless problems surfaced concerning who received funding.

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

The bidding process is working well and with the Council’s diligence in overseeing the processes which are in place, they will continue. There have been many process improvements over the years which I have supported and actually influenced due to my past experience as the Purchasing Director for Lucent Technologies.

20. In addition to employee’s 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.

  1. Libraries
  2. Riverwalk
  3. Naperville Settlement
  4. Centennial Beach
  5. Knoch Park
  6. Band Shell
  7. Municipal Band
  8. Naperville Development Partnership
  9. Downtown Naperville Alliance
  10. Martha Mitchell Museum
  11. Century Walk
  12. Carillon Tower

Vote April 7, 2015

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