Over the past six years, I have sponsored and contributed to many Board initiatives.
- Strong Financial Results/AAA Bond Rating. The Board has continued to make financial stability and economic growth a priority, enabling us to maintain our AAA Bond Rating and offer sales tax rebates for Wilmette businesses and restaurants to help them during these challenging times.
- Pension Management. As a member of the Finance Committee, I worked with fellow Board members and staff to creatively manage our pension obligations while keeping property taxes stable.
- New Economic Development. I continue to support development projects in Wilmette, including the newly approved Optima development on Green Bay Road, Artis Senior Housing, the HODC Affordable Housing Development and most recently the upcoming adaptive reuse of the Masonic Temple.
During deliberations on the Optima project I built a consensus among the Trustees for greater setbacks on Green Bay Road to emphasize pedestrian and open spaces. I believe that while development is vital, it should reflect the community’s goals and values.
Stormwater. As a Trustee, I was a strong supporter of our multi-year, stormwater project to provide greater flood protection to 98% of the homes west of Ridge Road. Working with the Trustees and the Village staff, we were able to develop the Neighborhood Storage Project which is both cost-effective and offers the highest level of protection. The project is proceeding on-time and below budget with an expected completion date in 2022.
Road Program. After a thorough review in 2019, the Board prudently planned to increase road funding over time to prevent further, and thus costlier, degradation of our roads.
- Greenest Regions Compact I led the effort to bring this Compact to Wilmette, which has resulted in a Sustainability Plan which will become a framework for decision-making at all levels of our Village government.
- Stormwater Incentive Program I was the catalyst for the Village’s cost-sharing plan with homeowners for green landscaping.
- Community Playfields I promoted the Neighborhood Storage vault configuration for the flood control project, enabling the Village to save a grove of trees at the Community Playfields while providing effective flood protection.
- Tree Protection Ordinance and Leaf-blowing Ordinance I am working with the Village and residents on proposals to strengthen both of these ordinances.
- Other Sustainable Initiatives As a Village Trustee, I supported the Village’s efforts to provide renewable energy at the Village’s Water Plant and Stormwater Pumping Station, to install a Green roof on the Water Plant, to plant rain gardens with pollinator-friendly perennials throughout the Village, to add curbside composting and to purchase its first hybrid vehicles.
I have supported two affordable housing projects during my tenure on the Board including:
- The first, non-senior affordable housing building on Wilmette Avenue, which broke ground in November and will provide 16 low-income units to families and individuals including veterans and those with disabilities.
- The affordable housing partnership created by the newly approved Optima building on Central Street in downtown Wilmette, the Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) and the Village of Wilmette which will provide 14 affordable units throughout the Village containing a mix of rental and ownership.
As a Trustee, I led the effort to successfully raise the age to purchase tobacco and vaping materials in Wilmette to 21 years old. The ordinance was unanimously passed and became law in Wilmette in 2018.
The Village has made strides lately to ensure that our residents are able to make impactful contributions to our Village, and there is a new vitality to our Boards and Commissions.
- The Environmental and Energy Commission has collaborated on a Sustainability Plan for Wilmette;
- A talented and diverse group of residents were nominated to fill revitalized Housing and Human Relations Commissions;
- The Master Bike Plan Advisory Group and Transportation Commission helped to formulate a new Master Bike and Active Transportation Plan;
- The Plan Commission, together with all the Commissions, will serve a vital role as the Village rewrites its Comprehensive Plan.
Diversity and Inclusion Given the events this past year, I’m incredibly proud of our Village Board letter sent to the community on June 4, 2020 that reaffirms our commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where people of all racial, ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds feel safe and welcomed.