Questions for the next candidate forum:

1. As the overriding board in Oak Park, it is your responsibility to provide taxpayer relief by consolidating taxing bodies. Do you agree? What bodies would you absorb without decreasing services? Provide a timetable for such absorptions, perhaps in spreadsheet format. 

2. Major duplication of services and vendors occurs in various areas, infrastructure, finance, accounting, public relations, purchasing, waste disposal, newsletter publication, snow removal, trees. But none as much as in youth services. Every single taxing body deals with youth education, problem youth, gifted youth, youth creativity, youth athletic. Nowhere in that area has the IGOV shown more incompetence. How would you remove duplication of services, without losing services? Locate at least $10 million in savings and provide details, perhaps in spread sheet format. 

3. Determine the number of individuals at each taxing body involved in finance and accounting and public relations. What is the total salaries + benefits of these? How would you reduce this unwieldly number? What criteria would you employ? Identity at least $500,000 in cost savings, perhaps in spreadsheet format. 

4. Significant real estate in Oak Park is tax exempt as church and government buildings. How would you decrease the footprint of office buildings? Would you move your facility to a single-building civic center shared by the township, VOP, D97, and PD? Estimate the property taxes saved if the offices of those taxing bodies were moved into a single-building civic center. 

5. Citizen boards have shown an inability and lack of interest in preventing thefts. What kind of professional oversight would you create to prevent this at your taxing body? Would you agree to an external accounting firm to examine and certify the books of your taxing body? Identify at least one firm that works in this area, including the name of such a specialist at that firm. 

6. Some members of the community have made a career out of being board members. This results in a lack of new ideas from new people and a wielding of power coming from supposed experience and sweat investment. Would you agree to term limits for the members of your board? If not, why not? If so, how many years? 

7. IDOT will be acquiring significant acreage for Ike expansion, reducing our tax base. Capping the Ike has been discussed. D200 transferring $50 to $80 million from its illicit fund to a Cap the Ike fund would be a significant start. If the other taxing bodies tithe their revenues into this fund, with conservative investment the fund could reach $500 million within 10-15 years. Matching corporate, federal, or stat funds could create the $1 billion needed for significant construction. 

a. Do you support such a tithe?

b. Which of the following can you envision being part of the development: Oak Park hotel/banquet hall straddling the Ike for maximum promotion, civic center for government offices, athletic fields?

Les Golden is a longtime Oak Park resident.

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