Paul Lencioni: 2021 candidate for St. Charles City Council, Ward 3
City: St. Charles
Employer: Blue Goose Market
Civic involvement: Current: Board Chair Kane County Repertory Theatre, Fox Valley Food for Health Advisory Board Member. Former: St. Charles Plan Commission Assistant Chairman, St. Charles Township Trustee, St. Charles Business Alliance Executive Board/Treasurer
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. This is a complex question that can't be answered simply. The answer is -- we have to rely on every approach depending on the situation. It is very much case by case depending on the circumstance. In the end we in our community are all in this difficult situation together. Above all else we must come through this together. We have to live through this, both in the flesh and economically. Then we have to heal and grow once we reach the other side. We must respect the law. We must provide safety and peace of mind to ourselves and our neighbors. We must consider and understand all peoples' views and make the best lives together with our neighbors. To make the best decisions we absolutely have to lead and communicate with courage. Sometimes that requires bravery and at other times humility.
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. I think the St. Charles municipal government did their best to balance their responsibilities. There were many decisions they made which were exemplary.
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. I am not aware of changes that need to be made. The best response to community trials is to bond together and have leaders in place who are ready to respond and visibly lead through the challenge.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. A good answer to this requires more research. The government must always be a fiscally responsible as possible and operate within it's revenue projections to avoid overburdening the residents with tax requirements. It is equally important to drive revenue by being a net provider of goods and services to the regional community. That is done by growing the city's reputation as a great destination. That means growing your reputation as a good place to do business regionally and to be a great place for people to eat, shop, and enjoy life.
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. I am not currently expert in the details of the municipal asset base. My answer is from a perspective that recognizes I have more studying to do to provide well-founded executive level analysis. From a community based viewpoint, completing the vision for final resolution for the St. Charles Police Department is important. Finishing the First Street project is important. St. Charles needs to appropriately devest from municipally owned property that is not critical to government operations and find ways to move downtown plans forward.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. I believe we locally need to recognize that the state law has been changed and accept this change as the foundation of our local stance on cannabis. We must take an approach to be innovative and understand how legalization changes can be most positive and least burdensome. We cannot ignore this change and lag behind other communities who will be more proactive. There will be challenges and we must understand them to put our community in the best position going forward. I think there are plenty of challenges connected with enforcement of this new legal environment and we need to support our law enforcement community as they figure out those complexities. I do not believe in ignoring that this legal environment has changed.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. The best communities support each other and have high connection and they rally together. I think the greatest challenge facing St. Charles is getting our citizens to know how important they are to the success of the city. St. Charles has averaged just over 10% voter turnout over the past two election cycles with just under 10% casting a vote for anyone in city government. It is not possible to be successful as a city with that few people believe their voice counts and I'll tell you why. I believe inspiring the residents to be more invested in our community by being more present as leaders, by being more vocal in encouraging people to feel connected, and by setting a leadership tone of more positive and inviting culture we can see significant benefit in how our town runs. I believe that is the route to encouraging more businesses to move to St. Charles, more dollars to be spent in St. Charles, more charity to be done, and more local investment to be made. It all starts with determined participation and local spirit of belonging.