Butler trustee vies for president's seat
Trustee Sue Hesselgrave faces incumbent Richard Ensslin in the race for president. The Sun asked both about challenges in the village today and what they foresee for the future.
Butler is celebrating its centennial. What path should the village take in the next 100 years?
Ensslin: In talking with residents and business owners there appears to be an overwhelming consensus for "keeping the village as a village." They like the sense of community which exists and the identity which comes from being part of that community. There is a strong desire to preserve what we have for in the future. That tells me that they want to continue on the path which we have been on for much of our first one hundred years. To accomplish that it is essential that we maintain a strong financial foundation, spend taxpayer dollars wisely, invest in infrastructure and provide a high level of locally controlled police, fire and EMS services.
Hesselgrave: My goal is to build Butler's image and visibility by adding commerce, working closely with the Chamber of Commerce, businesses and residents to fill empty businesses. Work on a short- and long-term plan for the entire village through planning sessions. Improve communications through public meeting, sharing ideas and social media. I'd rather attempt to something great and fail, than do nothing and succeed.
With levy limits and decreases in state aid, what are the biggest budgetary priorities over the next two years?
Hesselgrave: My immediate goal would be to attack our current debt. I will seek advice from each department on cost saving measures that can be implemented.
Ensslin: The mandate of levy limits and expenditure restraints imposed by the state coupled with the decrease in state aid poses a real challenge to the Village Board when developing a budget. The Board needs to recognize what budget line items are needed and separate those from requests which would be "nice to have" but not essential. Those needs include services such as police and fire protection as well as public works services. That is priority number one. The focus needs to be on what we can afford. Board members have to have the courage to say "no" when the money isn't there.
Any potential development in the future you would advocate for?
Ensslin: The village has almost no vacant land for development. There are two small parcels of land owned by the village which are in our TIF District and are being marketed. We have accepted an offer to purchase on one parcel and that will be developed this year. The other parcel is being actively marketed and is starting to draw some interest from developers.
Hesselgrave: Yes, I would like to see a developmental plan for the entire village. I will solicit and work with new businesses to build in our TIF districts to broaden our tax base.
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