Michele Hilger Clemen
Candidate Name: Michele Hilger Clemen
Office Seeking: City Council
Subdivision with Zip Code: Cress Creek, 60563
Campaign Website: www.MicheleHilgerClemenforNaperville.com
The following answers have only been formatted for purposes of this website. Answers submitted by candidates have not been edited for grammar or content.
1. When and why did you first decide to run to serve Naperville City Council?
I decided shortly after the election in November that I would run for City Council. I felt that I could offer something different than those that had already announced that they were running. I have had the opportunity, through my career, to meet some of the visionaries for our community, including Cliff Preston and Frank Alston, to name a couple, and feel that we need to protect their hard work to make this community what it is today, and continue to make it even better.
2. What quality and/or skill set will you bring to a nonpartisan 9-member City Council?
I have experience in working with a diverse group of individuals on the City of Naperville Housing Advisory Commission as well with community organizations to understand issues that are important to them and then collaborating together to find a solution.
I also have an understanding of our community’s aging population and the potential needs that they have because of my career in senior housing for the last 17 years.
3. What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the City today?
The biggest issues that I have heard in talking with members of the community are property taxes, public safety and housing.
With focus on fiscal responsibility and economic development, we can work to decrease the property tax burden to the citizens of Naperville.
Naperville is recognized year after year as one of the safest cities in the United States, we can continue to strive to better. If we work together, we can place a larger focus on the issues that are facing our community, such as an increase in mental health awareness and the opioid crisis.
The cost of housing in Naperville continues to be a concern, especially for young people, seniors and persons with disabilities. We need to look at the types and cost of housing available and work to make living in Naperville achievable for those that desire to live here.
4. Realistically and fiscally speaking, if you could change/improve one thing in the City, what would it be?
I would like to see if we can work to find creative ways to rebate a portion of city fees and taxes to seniors and disabled people living in Naperville.
5. What do you think the City Council could do to help keep Naperville affordable for homeowners of all ages?
City Council can work to increase commercial and business development throughout the city. Targeting areas such as the Ogden corridor and the southern portion of Naperville to help relieve the property tax burden that homeowners feel.
6. What City amenity is most important/attractive to you and how should its care and maintenance be funded?
The Riverwalk to me represents a place for all to enjoy and is special to our community and those who come from out of town to enjoy it. Its care and maintenance are important and should be continued to be funded at the appropriate levels so that this gift to the city can be continued to be seen as our crown jewel.
The Riverwalk is so special to me, I chose to take my wedding photos in the pavilion, built by the Jaycees and Cliff Preston, at Fredenhagen Park.
7. What should be done about the Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) fund, if anything?
I feel that we need to balance fully funding the city services that are allocated for the Legacy Events, such as Ribfest and The Last Fling, along with finding ways to fund requests for new events. I think that what makes Naperville unique is that there are so many events and cultural amenities that are available to us and we need to continue to find away to help fund these events.
8. What can the City of Naperville do better to retain and attract businesses that encourages development?
The City of Naperville can continue to work with the Naperville Development Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce to make sure that we are meeting the needs of our business community. They can also be mindful of maintaining a good commercial and residential mix to benefit everyone. I am looking forward to learning the findings from consultant that was recently hired to look at the City’s comprehensive plan for land use.
9. Are you a proponent of Tax Increment Financing (TIF)? NO
10. Do you live in School District 203 or School District 204? D203
Please tell anything else that distinguishes your interest in serving Naperville in 150 words or less…
I moved to Naperville in 2004 as a young person who knew very little about the community. It did not take long for me to realize that Naperville is a special place with a wide variety of opportunities for people of all ages. I think that my experience in helping to open a community for seniors as well as volunteering with others my age, while a member of the Naperville Jaycees, allowed me to see those opportunities first-hand. I have enjoyed being involved in the business community, through the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Volunteer Community, with the Jaycees, the Rotary Club and NCTV17, as well as the civic community by being involved in the Housing Advisory Commission. I see serving as a member of City Council as my opportunity to give back to a community that welcomed me with open arms 15 years ago.