Government Affiars Committee Candidate Questionnaire

CANDIDATE: Micah Summers

POSITION SOUGHT: Glen Carbon Trustee

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 Glen Carbon; c. Your education; d. Your employment.
My wife's name is Ali and we have two boys Andrew (age 6) and Benjamin (age 4). This February our family will have lived in Glen Carbon for two years, however, my wife and I have lived in this region of Madison County since 2004. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from McKendree University and Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law. I am currently employed at the law firm of Schoen Walton Telken & Foster, LLC. Additionally, I am an adjunct professor at Southwestern Illinois College teaching legal research and writing.

Why are you seeking this office?
The general answer is the answer of so many of those before me, I want to give back to the community where I live. With that said, I feel that the residents deserve a more specific response.

I believe Glen Carbon is a great place to live, as do most its residents. However, I believe that there are still multiple opportunities, as detailed in my answers below, for Glen Carbon to grow and improve to provide an even better place to live and raise a family. Glen Carbon is uniquely situated in a region that is seeing great growth, and I want to be part of giving the residents a voice in how Glen Carbon chooses to participate and develop in that growth. I believe in strategic and smart growth for Glen Carbon that is planned and appropriate for the businesses and residents of the community. I believe in being in open and direct contact with the residents of Glen Carbon to obtain their feedback on public and private development, as well as village projects. Additionally, I believe in actively creating opportunities for large and small businesses to thrive in Glen Carbon, from Main Street to areas on the out skirts of the village.

In short, I don’t want to simply give back to the community, I want to actively push Glen Carbon forward to ensure it continues to develop in a manner that provides a first-class community for its residents to call home.

What education, skills and experiences have prepared you to deal with the complex financial, technical and legal issues that regularly come before village board?
I began my career in Madison County in 2004 with an appointment to the position of Assistant States Attorney at the Madison County State’s Attorney’s Office. In 2005 I was appointed Misdemeanor Supervisory Attorney. While at the State’s Attorney’s office I was a member of the Family Violence Coordinating Committee and Law Enforcement Committee, and was awarded the Partner in Peace Award in 2005 for dedication to eliminating domestic violence.

After leaving the State’s Attorney’s Office I spent the next eight (8) years at a private law firm based in Edwardsville. During my tenure at that firm I represented two different municipalities in Madison County handling code enforcement, zoning and building issues, as well as assisting in drafting municipal ordinances, all for the strategic growth of the community.

I also spent the last eight (8) years representing small and large businesses, as well as individuals. I assisted those businesses and individuals with their various legal needs, including drafting contracts and representing them in court. A portion of that representation was helping businesses and individuals in their efforts to obtain zoning variances or special use permits from both state and local government bodies for the growth and development of their business and the surrounding community.

I have lived and worked in our area since 2004 and as Trustee would bring a knowledge of municipal law, as well as having an understanding of how a village or city needs to work with its residents and businesses to accomplish both of their respective goals. I believe my experience has given me the tools to problem solve and think outside the box for solutions, and to use these tools in the specific area of municipal government.

What, if anything, should the Village of Glen Carbon do to retain, expand and attract ‘head of household’ jobs?
The Village of Glen Carbon needs to aggressively explore opportunities to further develop the downtown/main street feel that families seek out when searching for a place to live. Main street Glen Carbon is a cornerstone of our community and a concentrated effort needs to be made to seek development of such.

Furthermore, Glen Carbon needs to actively seek out industrial, retail, and office developments that provide ample opportunity for employment, shopping, dining, and entertainment. Glen Carbon currently has underdeveloped properties in its boundaries that are ripe for this type of development. Moreover, Glen Carbon has bordering property that could be annexed into the village providing for further development. Finally, and significantly, Glen Carbon will play an important role in the continued I-55 corridor development. As such, the village should be proactive when private business development opportunities present themselves.

I believe that all development I have discussed here should be done with an eye towards conserving and creating green space. Families certainly look at communities that offer them employment opportunities, but also want to live in communities that provide them parks for the children to play, sidewalks to walk on, bike trails to ride, and space to enjoy the outdoors.

One option that I would like to explore if I am elected Trustee is the hiring of an economic development professional/director to assist the Village in bringing new investment into Glen Carbon thereby creating head of household job opportunities for its residents.

Please identify and prioritize the three most important ‘large capital’ projects in the village of Glen Carbon. Please justify your prioritization. How do you propose to pay for these projects?
American with Disabilities Act Transition Plan. Currently Glen Carbon is in the process of providing more accessibility for those individuals with disabilities. I believe it is incumbent for Glen Carbon to continue in that effort. I believe a municipality should provide ADA compliant access to public facilities and property to those individuals with disabilities. As Trustee I would look to see if there are any outside sources (i.e. grants) that could assist in paying for this project. Additionally, I would look at if there are any unnecessary expenditures or expenditures of less import that could be cut or reduced so that money could be budgeted differently to fund this project.

Storm Water Management Plan. In order to continue to keep our residents’, businesses’, and public property safe from water and flood damage we must ensure an updated Storm Water Management Plan. As Trustee I would look to see if there are any outside sources (i.e. grants) that could assist in paying for this project. Additionally, I would look at if there are any unnecessary expenditures or expenditures of less import that could be cut or reduced so that money could be budgeted differently to fund this project.

Infrastructure Improvement (Specifically Roadway Surface and Water Distribution System Improvement). Currently Glen Carbon is working to identify and prioritize areas on public roadways that need resurfacing and repair. I believe it is vital to the community to keep roads in good condition and would continue to support making efforts to do such. Additionally, and importantly, the village needs to address issues relating to its water distribution system and its ability to service the community. The water distribution system provides the function of delivering water to households in Glen Carbon. Unfortunately, this system continues to have problems with, among other issues, water main breaks. The village needs to address the water distribution infrastructure to ensure its proper function. Moreover, proper water distribution infrastructure and capacity is vital to the ability of the fire department to adequately protect residents’ lives and property in the event there is a fire. As Trustee I would look to see if there are any outside sources (i.e. grants) that could assist in paying for these projects. Additionally, I would look at if there are any unnecessary expenditures or expenditures of less import that could be cut or reduced so that money could be budgeted differently to fund this project.

What are your thoughts on village 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 reevaluate where money is being spent, and whether those expenses are necessary and reasonable. As Trustee I would look hard at Glen Carbon’s finances to see if there are opportunities to cut expenses or reallocate money to projects better serving the residents. Also, as a Trustee, I will work to make sure all departments are operating within their budget.

A Trustee should always be on the search for new or additional income for his or her community. However, I don’t believe that Glen Carbon needs to seek new or additional income through increasing or creating additional taxes on its residents or businesses.

Whether spending needs to be increased in a particular area(s) is something that I would have to further assess if elected as Trustee, and will continue to evaluate as time passes. However, the projects listed above would be items that I would prioritize for spending. Additionally, I believe Glen Carbon needs to look at continuing to add sidewalks for pedestrian traffic throughout the community, access to bike trails, find additional areas to provide green space, and take a more active approach in completing Ray M. Schon Memorial Park. Specifically, Schon Memorial Park is in the middle of our community and directly across from our Village Hall. I believe all efforts should be made to get it completed. As an extension of my comments above relating to head of household jobs, having completed and well-kept green space, streets, sidewalks, bike trail access, etc. are all components to attracting new businesses and residents that want to work and live here. As mentioned above, as Trustee I would look to see if there are any outside sources (i.e. grants) that could assist in paying for these projects. Additionally, I would look at if there are any unnecessary expenditures or expenditures of less import that could be cut or reduced so that money could be budgeted differently to fun this project.

What do you believe is the role of a village board member in the village administrator form of government?
The most important role is to provide a voice for the residents of Glen Carbon to ensure that their views are considered and protected when making any decision about the governance of the village. Additionally, I think a Trustee has an obligation to actively monitor how the village is spending its resources, and constantly be evaluating if expenditures can be adjusted to guarantee the most important projects are being adequately addressed in the most cost effective and efficient manner. Finally, I believe that a Trustee should constantly be thinking about ways to improve the village, from encouraging development in areas of the village to conserving and creating adequate infrastructure (e.g. waterlines, sidewalks, and roads) as well as green space.

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 do not intent to make my campaign for Trustee negative by pointing out what incumbents have done wrong. I believe that anyone who is willing to put their time and effort into helping the community the live in have direction and growth deserves our appreciation. With that said, there are always differences of opinions among people about how things should be ran and what is important. As a Trustee candidate I intend to provide the residents of Glen Carbon with my views and ideas of how I think things should be done. I know they are intelligent and capable enough to look at all the candidates’ ideas, accomplishments, and failures and determine on their own who they want to be their next Trustee.

If elected, what would be your top three priorities?
In no particular order:
Review and evaluate the large capital projects I have prioritize above to ensure that the Board of Trustees is closely monitoring the progression of these projects.

Continue to facilitate and encourage the development of downtown/main street Glen Carbon as a cornerstone of our community, as well as promote the continue development of parks, streets, sidewalks, bike trail access, and Ray M. Schon Memorial Park.

Reevaluate how Glen Carbon is actively seeking out new business and determine whether there are additional steps or resources Glen Carbon could be taking and implementing to attract new business.

At the end of your term in office, how will you know if you've been successful?
If I have been successful in advancing my top three priorities.

Are there any changes you would like to see regarding: How village board functions? How committees function? How departments function?
As I have mentioned above, I believe it is the role of a Trustee to constantly be evaluating ways that village government can improve and be more efficient. I reserve fully speaking to specific changes regarding the integral details of these functions until such time as I have had an opportunity to view them from the inside out.

However, one area that I believe should be addressed is further and continued efforts to fully advise the residents of the decisions the village intends to make regarding governance before such decisions are made. Whether that be at the council level, committee level, or department level. I believe that transparency in municipal government is key to effective and proficient governance. As a candidate for Trustee, I promise to specifically analyze these functions, as well as others in village government, to ensure resources are not wasted and the village is operating efficiently.
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