Thank you to Wednesday Journal for this opportunity to reintroduce myself to the residents of River Forest. My name is Tom Cargie and I am running for re-election as a River Forest village trustee. It has been my honor to serve as a trustee for the past four years.
In that time, we accomplished a lot, including the Northside Stormwater Management Project, on time and under budget. However, there are still some things I want to accomplish, and so I am running for another four years.
First and foremost, all of the taxing bodies in River Forest are much too dependent on residential real estate taxes, and we need to add commercial realty into the mix to lessen the tax burden on our residents. Over the past couple of years, I have seen a number of friends whose kids are grown or in college sell their homes and move to Forest Park or Elmwood Park simply because they can no longer justify living here and paying the taxes. We must change that so no one is chased out of their homes by taxes.
Two other areas important to me are improving the village's communications with our residents and better incorporating the input of our village committees and commissions into our decision-making process.
With regard to communication, the village has been working throughout the last four years to improve our communication with our residents, but the experience with the Madison Street TIF last summer confirmed to me that we have more work to do. In addition, I serve as the village's representative to the Collaborative Committee. This is a group of representatives from all of the taxing bodies that serve River Forest. Our most recent goal has been to devise a website that will provide all River Forest residents with the essential information they need regarding each agency in a single website. This is an exciting initiative that I would really like to see come into being.
I would also like to improve the way in which the village board incorporates input from its various committees and commissions into the decision-making process. To do their best, village board members should be generalists, knowing a little about a lot of the village's activities. However, certain decisions that we are called upon to make require subject matter expertise.
River Forest is fortunate in that we have a lot of very smart people who are willing to volunteer their time and experience to the village. One obvious example is the recently created Sustainability Committee. The current members of that committee are some of the hardest-working volunteers I have ever seen and I genuinely look forward to working with them in the next four years to make River Forest one of the most ecologically-conscious communities in Illinois.
Thank you for your consideration. I hope you will consider voting for me on April 4.