March 11, 2021
On March 2, 2021, the Blue Island Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry board of directors drafted and submitted three questions to each Mayoral Candidate running for office in next month's election.
The questions were submitted on behalf of our members and the business community. Below are the responses received from candidate Randy Heuser. We encourage you to contact the candidate directly with any additional questions you may have.
- If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?
- Transparency, Transparency, Transparency! Transparency leads to Accountability. Requiring public officials to be publicly accountable leads to better decision-making. It should be easy for residents, business and property owners to get information about the municipal finances.
- Establishment of a Capital Improvement Plan. City assets need to be identified, and evaluated for maintenance, repair and replacement. Budget resources need to be allocated to complete the work. Right now, the city addresses the majority of these needs when something fails or breaks.
- As a city, we’re not getting our fair share of the grants available from Federal & State Resources. Aggressively pursuing grants will provide additional resources to meet our community’s needs.
- What are your top priorities for investment in and revitalization of our business district? What is the status of the Western Avenue Business Development District Fund? Going forward, would you provide an accounting and periodic statements of how much has been collected and what has been spent?
- Our Zoning Code is the largest barrier to business development that can be streamlined. Blue Island’s Zoning code wasn’t written with our current needs in mind. For example, we’re requiring businesses to meet certain parking criteria. Why? We’re stunting growth for no reason. Zoning codes need to be reviewed and rewritten. Also, combination of the Planning & Zoning Commissions will help expedite new businesses wishing to invest in Blue Island.
- Unfortunately, the Community Development Committee is more concerned with who might look good, so the fund is going underutilized. This means that while funds exist, the committee is preventing their use to improve our city.
- As I’ve said, transparency is the key. I won’t let our committees get away with inaction, and will make sure the data shows exactly what we’re doing, or need to improve on. I’m not above calling out gridlock when I see it.
- With the 1% tax imposed on the business district, a board of business representatives was formed to have input on expenditures of tax district funds. Some monies have been used from the fund without that input. Going forward, how do you plan to involve the business community in the decision-making process in Blue Island
- I am committed to regularly scheduled meetings with the business community to get input regarding the plans for, prioritization of and disbursement of the funds. The tax district was created with the promise that these resources were be used for business district revitalization.
- A Mayor’s Advisory Commission would allow a more direct line to change in our city--you don’t have to donate thousands of dollars to a PAC to get my attention. Good governance means open communication between business owners, residents and government. Such a commission means that getting heard by the mayor or city council isn’t just an option, it’s the expectation.