Candidate Name: Patrick Kelly
Office Seeking: City Council
Subdivision with Zip Code: Pilgrim Addition, 60563
Campaign Website: www.kellyfornaperville.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 to run for Naperville City Council to be a voice for all residents throughout our city. When I learned that there would be two open seats this election, I decided to run to ensure that voters would have a choice of someone who will always listen to and respect residents’ concerns, which all too often I have seen is not always the case. My wife and I decided that despite being a busy time in our lives, this is the right time for me to run because critical decisions made in the next few years will have a long-term impact on young families like ours, and that demographic has been underrepresented on City Council for too long.
2. What quality and/or skill set will you bring to a nonpartisan 9-member City Council?
My leadership style focuses on collaboration. I have a reputation both in the legal community and through my community service work as a leader who will listen to all ideas. I work hard to bring people with different ideas together to arrive at a result that will be a success for everyone involved. On two specific issues, my background as an environmental attorney and working on the 5th Avenue steering committee will allow me to bring subject matter expertise to critical questions related to the IMEA contract and development proposals such as the 5th Avenue project Polo Club, respectively.
3. What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the City today?
I believe that the three most important issues facing our city are: (1) balancing new development against the needs of existing residents; (2) maintaining a balanced budget that continues to reduce our debt while maintaining our excellent city services, particularly our superb police and fire departments; and (3) preparing to renegotiate our electric contract with the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency.
4. Realistically and fiscally speaking, if you could change/improve one thing in the City, what would it be?
The number one complaint in the annual resident survey tends to be traffic, and the City should always be cognizant of ways that traffic and congestion can be improved. As a starting point, before approving any new developments, we must ensure that the underlying infrastructure can support the development. For example, the intersection at Route 59 and 119th Street is currently graded an F, and the Polo Club proposal should not be approved unless that intersection can be improved. The City should also focus on improving connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists both to improve safety and to reduce roadway congestion.
5. What do you think the City Council could do to help keep Naperville affordable for homeowners of all ages?
First and foremost, City Council needs to direct the City’s highly qualified staff to develop a long-term plan for addressing affordable housing. Naperville currently is not meeting state and federal guidelines for affordable housing, and if we do not develop a plan to address the problem, we may risk losing important federal grant dollars. The plan should require developers to meet with Council, city staff and the Housing Advisory Commission to discuss affordable housing in order to ensure that the issue is considered in a thoughtful and meaningful way moving forward.
6. What City amenity is most important/attractive to you and how should its care and maintenance be funded?
Naperville offers many great amenities, but I believe the most important and attractive amenity is the Riverwalk, which is truly the crown jewel of our downtown. The Riverwalk not only is a wonderful amenity for residents, and but also makes our downtown special and unique in a way that brings many people from surrounding communities to visit and spend money in our city. Funding for the Riverwalk has come from both the City and private donations via the Riverwalk Foundation, and I believe those are both appropriate sources for the funding of the continued care, maintenance and enhancement of the Riverwalk.
7. What should be done about the Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) fund, if anything?
I think that the next City Council should engage in a high-level review of the SECA program to ensure that funds are being given to organizations that truly need them and that the funds are being used to further SECA’s mission of encouraging special events and cultural amenities throughout Naperville.
8. What can the City of Naperville do better to retain and attract businesses that encourages development?
The City should consider forming business creation task forces focused on individual areas such as Ogden Avenue and Route 59. Brick and mortar retail stores are unlikely to return to previous levels, and groups focused on specific areas could be a resource for coming up with creative land use solutions that may work in each specific area. An updated master plan would also be helpful so that the various commercial areas within the city complement each other well.
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…
My first ever campaign was for student council in 5th grade, and my slogan was “Go to bat for Pat!” Twenty-five years later, my best friend in grade school who made posters with baseball bats is back helping on my campaign for City Council.