Candidate Name: Paul Hinterlong
Office Seeking: City Council
Subdivision with Zip Code: WHOA, 60540
Campaign Website: www.votehinterlong.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?
In 2008 for the 2009 City Council election.
I was approached by several leaders that recognized I was very active within the community and also serving on the Planning and Zoning commission. They thought I would be a great fit for the City Council due to my extensive volunteerism, my love for Naperville, and my experience on the Planning and Zoning Commission. I decided to run to give back to my community and to help guide our city through the complex and diverse challenges of our future.
2. What quality and/or skill set will you bring to a nonpartisan 9-member City Council?
I have more experience than any other candidate in this race. I started out as a Planning and Zoning Commissioner for three and a half years. In 2009 I was elected to the City Council. I helped manage this city through the Great Recession without a real-estate tax increase by providing services more efficiently. Since then I’ve been involved in the creation of every one of our master land use plans and their revisions.
My community involvement spans over the last 25 years as an active member of numerous boards, commissions, and nonprofits. This gives me a great feel of the pulse of the community and in turn has made me a good listener and a voice of reason. I am committed to keeping Naperville the best place to live and raise a family.
3. What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the City today?
Economic growth, affordable housing, and mental health awareness.
We must work harder to attract more businesses to Naperville to bolster economic growth. From small businesses to large corporations, we must find solutions to increase our revenues to cover our adopted principles, to pay down our debt, and to increase our reserves.
Whether you’re a senior, empty nester, just out of college, or a young family trying to stay in Naperville or to move here, cost-effective housing is difficult to find. We must concentrate on finding solutions in our ordinances and zoning codes to address affordable housing.
Studies show 25% of all adults suffer from some form of mental illness. We need to continue our efforts until 100% of our public safety employees receive the crisis intervention training (CIT) to equip them with the skills they need to help cope with situations that arise in their jobs every day.
4. Realistically and fiscally speaking, if you could change/improve one thing in the City, what would it be?
We need to increase our ridership on our buses to get traffic off our streets. I’d like to start discussions on a circulator busing system–a bus that would circle through town all day picking up and dropping off throughout the city, hitting all the popular places that people like to go. On a recent trip to Hawaii, I experienced such a system where all day I could get on and off anywhere on the island as many times as I wanted for $2. It worked very well and was very convenient. I think many car trips in Naperville could be replaced by a similar system to alleviate some of our traffic congestion.
5. What do you think the City Council could do to help keep Naperville affordable for homeowners of all ages?
We could make affordable housing a part of development conversations.
Naperville is in a tough position because we’re almost at build out and the ability to address this situation gets harder as we lose the remaining open areas. High housing costs are challenging for many seniors, empty nesters, young families just starting out, and recent college grads that want to come home. We have an opportunity to address this within the 5th avenue development. I plan to make it part of the discussions as we move forward with the development.
6. What City amenity is most important/attractive to you and how should its care and maintenance be funded?
I think the Riverwalk is our best amenity.
I was in high school when the community came together in 1981 to build the Riverwalk for the Sesquicentennial Celebration. It’s a very popular attraction for the thousands of residents and non-residents that use it daily. I would continue to fund it with both public and private funds just as we do now.
7. What should be done about the Special Events and Cultural Amenities (SECA) fund, if anything?
I think we should look at evolving some of the SECA Fund policies.
SECA is a valuable fund with powerful results. However, I believe that it could be tweaked. For instance, considering event/program term limits. The SECA Commission is constantly finding ways to refine the process and to make it fair to all. It’s not an easy task, and I think they’re doing an outstanding job of developing new ideas and policies. Just as it has always been a work in progress for years, may it continue to evolve as we move forward.
8. What can the City of Naperville do better to retain and attract businesses that encourages development?
Deliver on our principles.
With the help of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Naperville Development Partnership, we have welcomed businesses from large to small who are attracted to Naperville because of our great city services, reliable utilities and infrastructure, educated workforce, quality schools, and low crime. To retain them, we have to deliver on all the items mentioned in your other questions.
In addition, I believe promoting the need to shop locally is important. Supporting our brick and mortars could go a long way for our small businesses and would allow us to recoup taxes from the $3 million we lose to Amazon each year.
9. Are you a proponent of Tax Increment Financing (TIF)? NO
10. Do you live in School District 203 or School District 204? D203