Government Affiars Committee Candidate Questionnaire

CANDIDATE: William Krause

POSITION SOUGHT: Edwardsville Ward 5 Alderman

Please provide us with some basic information. We already know your name and address. Please tell us about: a. Your family; b. How long you've lived in Edwardsville; c. Your education; d. Your employment.
Edwardsville is my adopted hometown. I moved here in 2005 to attend college at SIUE. There, I met my wife Liz and the two of us fell in love with the community and decided to begin our lives here. For the past seven years, my wife and I have lived in the Leclaire Historic District. I am a self-employed real estate professional, owner of Krause Properties, a family business that has operated in Central Illinois since 1968. I graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with a B.S. in Psychology in 2009. I continued my education with an M.S. in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development form Saint Louis University in 2013.

Why are you seeking this office?
I am running for Alderman of Ward 5 because I love Edwardsville, its people, its culture, and its history. I care deeply about this community and want to serve in a purposeful manner that impacts the direction of its growth. I have the experience as a City Councilman, Chair of the City’s Preservation Commission, and a small business owner. I will strive to maintain the unique character of our community while balancing opportunities for business development and growth. Edwardsville is a vibrant city with a rich history. We are a leader in the metropolitan region, a premier choice for families and businesses, but that does not mean we are not without challenges. The problems we are confronted with are continued growth and how we manage it, to what degree and level of quality. Our success requires balancing this growth with the leadership and vision I can provide the City of Edwardsville as Alderman for Ward 5.

What education, skills and experiences have prepared you to deal with the complex financial, technical and legal issues that regularly come before city council?
I have four years of experience running my own business and seven years of public service as a member and then Chairman of the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission and as an Edwardsville City Councilman. I bring a set of skills that with my professional experiences and my education in urban planning and development have prepared me to continue to serve the residents of this community. Through my involvement as a public servant and with local neighborhood groups, I understand the needs of our families, workers, and area businesses. I am a fair and balanced individual who seeks to learn from the opinions of others to ensure all voices and perspectives are heard. I was taught that every individual is worthy of respect and that they have a right to be validated.

What, if anything, should the city of Edwardsville do to retain, expand and attract ‘head of household’ jobs?
I will work to foster the development of emerging and evolving industry sectors in order to retain, expand, and attract businesses. Edwardsville has many advantages to the business community, our educated workforce, centralized location, interstate access, and a phenomenal living environment. Yet, in order to attract “head of household” jobs we need to look towards the future rather than the trends of the past. We need to develop a targeted industries list, one that will highlight opportunities of creating a high tech corridor. The City needs to diversify its business base from retail towards emerging markets in technology, energy, and health services. This will provide a sustainable economic base that provides stability for our growth and a livable income. This business expansion will require an even stronger partnership with Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Lewis and Clark Community College and the Edwardsville School District to ensure a properly educated work force. To facilitate this, the city should pursue the development of certified sites or specialized business zones.

Please identify and prioritize the three most important ‘large capital’ projects in the city of Edwardsville. Please justify your prioritization. How do you propose to pay for these projects?
Number one, developing the new Edwardsville joint Police/Fire Station and SIUE Fire Substation is the top priority. Edwardsville is a safe and attractive community and in order to maintain that standing, investments must be made to ensure we will continue to provide the best safety services for our residents and guests. These new facilities, particularly the SIUE Substation, will provide the necessary coverage for our community’s continued development. These projects will be funded by an existing sales tax passed in 2014.

Number two, creating a new 2 acre downtown park at the site of the Public Safety Building. Parks and open space are essential to creating a livable community. This new park which will feature a splash pad, walking trails, and even fitness stations that will provide an invaluable asset to a section of the community that has low open space access. The project will be funded predominantly through grants already secured from the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Program (OSLAD) and the Metro East Parks and Recreation District (MEPRD).

Number three, continued infrastructure upgrades across the City, but particularly in our established neighborhoods. Upcoming projects such as the Springer/Sheridan, West Schwarz, and St. Louis Street reconstructions are vital to improving the quality of life for area residents. When a city proves it is willing to make ongoing enhancements to established neighborhoods, residents are more willing to reinvest in their own properties. Infrastructure upgrades and improvements provide better driver safety, stormwater control, and an overall improved visual appearance. These projects, unrolled over the next three years, will be paid through State Motor Fuel Tax funds.

What are your thoughts on city finances? Are there opportunities to cut expenses? Specifically, where are those opportunities? Is there a need for new or additional revenue? Specifically, where would it come from? Are there areas where spending needs to be increased? Specifically, where does spending need to increase? Specifically, where would the money come from?
Edwardsville is on firm financial standing. I have worked diligently over the past year serving on the Finance Committee to ensure the City remains fiscally sound. We have a low tax levy rate and an operating budget of over $50 million dollars. We are keeping costs low while still providing a high quality service to our residents.

What do you believe is the role of a city council member in the city administrator form of government?
First and foremost a city councilman is the representative of the people. Their task is to listen to the concerns, opinions, and perspectives of area residents and business owners. Edwardsville is a community for everyone, from all walks of life, and everyone’s voice needs to be heard. Each and every day, an alderman should be available to answer questions and serve the residents they represent. To provide an open forum for discussion of new ideas and to ensure creativity remains at the forefront of a leading city. At times this means making tough decisions, correcting past mistakes, and championing the betterment and economic soundness that makes this community one of the best places to live.

If you're the incumbent, what have been your significant accomplishments during your term? If you're the challenger, what do you believe have been the significant disappointments of the incumbents, and how would your term in office be different?
I have been fortunate to serve the residents of Ward 5 for the past year as their City Councilman. In that time I have worked to strengthen the rules governing dynamic display signs, limiting their proliferation and setting brightness and visual standards that ensure our community maintains a high level of quality and character that we have come to expect. After hearing neighborhood concerns regarding local redevelopment in residential areas, I championed the rezoning of Hillsboro, Linden, and Commercial Streets to ensure our historic homes and established neighborhoods will be protected from obtrusive redevelopment. I have begun the early planning stages of park enhancements at Leclaire Lake, a multi-year plan that will include additional tree plantings, new sidewalks, and facility upgrades. During the past year, I have served on the Finance Committee to ensure Edwardsville continues to be fiscally sound while continuing to provide high quality programs and services that protect our residents, invest in our established neighborhoods, promote sustainable economic diversity, and enhance our quality of life. Additionally, as Chairman of the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission, I assisted property owners in enhancing their historical structures, which are hallmarks of our community. I crafted the Downtown Design Guidelines to ensure our historic Main Street is maintained and enhanced to retain its small town charm. I also oversaw the restoration of the Centennial Monument in City Park for the County’s Sesquicentennial in 2012.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
Maintaining the character and charm of our established neighborhoods – Edwardsville has a remarkable built environment with such a unique sense of place. It is the character of our traditional neighborhoods with their tree lined streets, walkability, and access to Main Street that compelled me to live in a historic neighborhood. I will work to reinvest in our established areas through road and sidewalk repairs, construction of new sidewalks and infrastructure improvements that will alleviate storm water runoff.

Expanding and enhancing parks and open space – A great community is defined by its access to parks, walking trails, and recreational amenities. These features improve our quality of life, provide for civic beauty, and attract new homeowners. I will work to improve our park system throughout the community by advocating for affordable land acquisition, increased tree plantings at our existing parks, provide Wi-Fi services, and the continued conservation of irreplaceable attractions such as the Watershed Nature Center.

Focus on Downtown Edwardsville– Downtown has experienced a resurgence over the past several years with an enhanced streetscape, promotion of downtown merchants, and the reopening of the Wildey Theatre. I will work to continue the success of our downtown by engaging downtown shop and restaurant owners to create a positive business climate. Investigate the creation of a tourism board to promote downtown and the community’s many unique attractions. Downtown has an opportunity to become a regional dining destination, I will explore ways to encourage a food incubator, promote local startups, and ensure the character of a walkable downtown is preserved. We need to have an open mind for small business development and remain imaginative with creative placemaking.

At the end of your term in office, how will you know if you've been successful?
I will be judged by the residents of Ward 5 through my service to them, the impact I have made on the Edwardsville environment, and through efforts aimed at improving our quality of life. I will provide an open dialogue, high value service that promotes our established neighborhoods, improves our parks, and increases downtown’s livability. With our existing neighborhoods I will promote building reuse and reinvestment so that a visual impact is created. Parks will be improved through more tree plantings and collaboration with neighborhood groups. And downtown’s livability can be enhanced through code changes such as the adoption of the International Existing Building Code to provide a more efficient set of regulations for existing and historic buildings.

Are there any changes you would like to see regarding: How city council functions? How committees function? How departments function?
Our City Council is comprised of a remarkable group of individuals who are all dedicated public servants. It has been an honor to work with these members who all provide a unique background and approach to city governance. Our Council functions efficiently and effectively and truly has the best interests of Edwardsville’s success and longevity. The same is true of our city committees and departments. We have over 150 full time employees, over 100 part time employees, and more than 100 volunteers that work every day to maintain Edwardsville’s position as a premier community.
Edwardsville/Glen Carbon Chamber of Commerce leadership know it is vital that chamber members exercise their right to vote. We also believe it is important that chamber members be informed voters, particularly when it comes to issues that directly affect the local business environment.

With that in mind, the chamber's government affairs committee (GAC) sent a questionnaire to candidates in both the Edwardsville and Glen Carbon spring 2015 municipal races.

CLICK HERE to download the letter and questionnaire that were sent to municipal candidates.

William Krause (Ward 5)
Art Risavy (Ward 7)
Janet Stack (Ward 3)
Barbara Jurgena-Stamer (Ward 1)

Ross Breckenridge
Douglas Dial
Luke Harris
Steven Slemer
Mary Ann Smith
Micah Summers