Mariusz 'Mark' Folta: 2021 candidate for Prospect Heights City Council, 4th Ward
Prospect Heights 4th Ward; Two Candidates -- One 2-year term
Hometown: Prospect Heights
Occupation: Tax accountant and owner of accounting firm
Employer: TaxPol Mt. Prospect Corp
Civic involvement: Over the years, I have learned a great deal by serving on the Chicago Public School Council and the Parish Council of St. Joseph the Worker in Wheeling. I am currently on the board of directors for the nonprofit Premiere Soccer League of Chicagoland, and an adviser on the board of Chicago Society of Polish National Alliance. During my free time, I referee local middle school and high school soccer matches.
Q. What is the primary reason you're running for office? What is the most important issue?
A. I have decided to run for Alderman of the 4th Ward because I strongly believe that the concerns of the residents of Prospect Heights are not well represented. I am an independent party and not affiliated with any interest groups. I strive to have all voices heard in my ward and bring resolution to long standing issues. Flooding and drainage is a long time concern for our city residents.
Q. How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree -- or defer to state and federal authorities?
A. There is only so much that we as the Prospect Heights city can do. We have to defer to the state and federal guidelines and follow those laws. Although some may disagree with those guidelines, we have to follow them as a city to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Q. Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. When the Pandemic first started, Prospect Hts, did a great job getting information out to the residents. There were constant updates given to the resident through the city's Facebook page. Events that wouldn't be able to happen with safe social distancing were canceled in a timing matter and the city thought of new ways to help combat the virus
Q. In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A. Prospect Heights does a good job with the guidelines put currently in place. In person meetings have been canceled or moved online so that the important issues still get addressed. Any events that were not able to be done safely with social distancing were canceled.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
Q. What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A. As mentioned before, drainage and flooding an important issue that needs to be addressed. There are plans to start addressing it in the City Capital Improvement Plan. Many of the plans already in place are necessary for our city. Like the Street Resurfacing project and Drainage and Stormwater improvements. In these situations, if the city has a successful application, we have a change for some Federal Transportation Funding to help out with covering costs.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your municipality has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. Since our city's funding mainly relies on sales tax collected in Prospect Heights, having recreational marijuana sales in the community will greatly benefit us. Currently we have Zen Leaf located on Rand Road, which will bring is a lot of residents from the surrounding towns. My only concern is the location. I would ideally have liked to have it further away from the local school. While the windows are boarded up and students passing by won't be able to look in, I still believe that it can have some effect on them.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. One idea that I have to better our community would be to start up a Chamber of Commerce specifically for Prospect Heights. We want to bring more businesses to our town and have them proud to be part of it. We want to promote these businesses so that not only our residents continue to shop in Prospect Heights, but that we get people coming in from the surrounding towns.