By Anna Lothson
Cathy Adduci went into the race for president with three basic goals in mind: balancing future budgets, diversifying the tax base, and increasing efficiency through intergovernmental cooperation.
The River Forest president-elect named those from day one of her campaign and now with the support of residents, she's ready to turn those talking points into action. She ran on the concept that the village is poised to continue progress created the last few years, and she stands by that statement today.
"Going in it, I knew there's a lot of work ahead of it," Adduci said. "Continue the progress: That's a slogan I used purposely because I know we've got a lot of (progress made)."
One of Adduci's first orders will be to bring together leaders of neighboring communities and see where additional opportunities exist. She's already been in contact with Anan Abu-Taleb, Oak Park's president-elect. Adduci is hopeful that many newly elected leaders come with a progressive mindset.
"I hope to have some conversations around how we can do things better," Adduci said. "I'm very pleased with the prospect of doing more intergovernmental cooperation."
A top priority for Adduci, also outlined in her campaign, is seeing through with an economic development commission that is run from within the village but also served by engaged residents. She plans on addressing needs at Lake and Lathrup, the prospective sale at the Hines site, development on Madison Street and also necessary upgrades on Harlem Avenue.
Adduci said it's an "exciting time" for River Forest and said she plans to investigate efficiency opportunities that the village can capture the progress she envisions. Continuing measures already in place under the strong administration is also critical, she added.
"I think the difference between now and four years ago is that we were in the middle of a recession. Now is the time to build economic development," she said. "This is the time to bring appropriate development. It isn't going to happen overnight, but now is the time."
They key to Adduci's campaign, she said was sitting down with people at coffees and really listening to what people wanted. She learned key issues and values that people sought in their next elected leader. Adduci said she knew of the issues as trustee, but hearing it on a personal level from residents gave her confidence she was ready to lead.
"I started the campaign and thought I might do 10 coffees," she said. "I did a little over 30. I believe that was what turned my campaign around."
Looking forward, Adduci said River Forest must balance its budget, a trend that's continued for four years. The village will have to deal with unfunded mandates from the state when it comes to pensions. But most of all, Adduci said River Forest must find ways other than property taxes to bring in revenue. It isn't an easy task but the longtime resident believes she and her team have the skills to keep River Forest on the move.
"We've got a good group," she said.