Government Affiars Committee Candidate Questionnaire

CANDIDATE: Art Risavy

POSITION SOUGHT: Edwardsville Ward 7 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.
Rhonda is my wife of 18 years and I have a 16 year old son named A.J. Risavy. My wife is a Director of Human Resources for a local plumbing and HVAC company. My son is a sophomore at Metro East Lutheran High School where he is on the honor roll. He also plays basketball and volleyball. I have lived in Edwardsville for 20 years. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston University in International Relations with a focus on Economics. I am the owner of Swing City Music with locations in Edwardsville and Collinsville. My company celebrated it’s 50 Anniversary this year. My father, Arthur Risavy, started our company on his own in 1964. Swing City Music sells all musical instruments, rents band instruments, gives music lessons, and installs sound systems for churches, gyms and council chambers, funeral homes and theaters. I also have experience in banking. I worked for Magna Bank for 6 years as a division manager before leaving to work in the family business.

Why are you seeking this office?
I am seeking office because I have a passion for public service. I feel there is no better way to serve the City of Edwardsville than serving as Aldermen in Ward 7.

What education, skills and experiences have prepared you to deal with the complex financial, technical and legal issues that regularly come before city council?
Having served my first term as Aldermen I have been exposed to many complex issues. As a business owner I have applied my professional background to solving and working through these issues. I have dealt with union negotiations, employee matters, real estate negotiations, budget issues, and many other matters.

What, if anything, should the city of Edwardsville do to retain, expand and attract ‘head of household’ jobs?
I would like to attract a few more mid to large size companies to Edwardsville. This would bring those “head of household” jobs that you referenced in the question. I would like to see business that want to be community partners. Companies that are ingrained in our community. Companies that are involved in volunteerism and donate their time and talents to making Edwardsville a strong community.

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?
The new public safety facility is the biggest priority. This is something the city needs and we will be working to ensure this project stays on budget. Second, I would like ensure that the Water Shed, Stephenson House, and the Children’s Museum get the support they need to continue to thrive. Finally, I would like to see a new park created which would include multiple baseball and soccer fields that could host select tournaments. This would attract people to our city which would fill our restaurants, shops, hotels and ultimately increase our sales tax.

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?
There are always opportunities to cut finances in city government and we as Alderman are constantly looking to save tax dollars for our citizens. The city needs to spend additional money on the new safety facility but are plan is cover that need with the sales tax increase passed last year.

What do you believe is the role of a city council member in the city administrator form of government?
I feel our role as Aldermen is to take care of the needs and concerns of our citizens within our wards and to direct and oversee the finances and give guidance to our department heads. Our city is made up of a group of highly motivated, educated, and hardworking employees that truly care about the direction and success of this city. Our job as Aldermen is to guide the city through cycles making sound decisions for the citizens of Edwardsville who have put their trust in us as Aldermen.

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?
As the incumbent I have served on the Finance, Administrative and Community Service, Public Service, and the Public Safety Committees. I have gained a great deal of knowledge from each of theses committees. I have applied my knowledge of business to issues that I have dealt with in each of these committees to the best of my abilities.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
If elected I want to help direct the completion of the new public safety building, work towards a new park that would include a baseball and soccer facility, and work to support the needs of the city in all areas of need.

At the end of your term in office, how will you know if you've been successful?
I feel my term would be successful if the new Public safety building is completed on time and budget. I would also like to see the completion of the proposed park in Ward 7 that would consist of a baseball and soccer park. Over the last 10 years there has been much growth within Ward 7 and part of my job is to ensure the development that is taking place is consistent with the needs and expectations of the citizens in which I represent.

Are there any changes you would like to see regarding: How city council functions? How committees function? How departments function?
I am very happy with the direction of city government and see no immediate changes that need to be made. My goal is to continue to watch spending in all facets of city government.
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.

EDWARDSVILLE ALDERMAN CANDIDATE RESPONSES:
William Krause (Ward 5)
Art Risavy (Ward 7)
Janet Stack (Ward 3)
Barbara Jurgena-Stamer (Ward 1)

GLEN CARBON TRUSTEE CANDIDATE RESPONSES:
Ross Breckenridge
Douglas Dial
Luke Harris
Steven Slemer
Mary Ann Smith
Micah Summers