Michelle Cameron: 2023 candidate for Prospect Heights City Council, Ward One
Town: Prospect Heights
Age on Election Day: 49
Occupation: Senior Customer Service Specialist
Employer: Rust-Oleum Corp
Previous offices held: none
Q: What is the most serious issue your community will face in the coming years and how should the city council or village board respond to it?
A: The most serious issue facing the City is the lack of revenue needed to address all if its infrastructure needs. Being a bedroom community, we lack the revenue generating businesses needed to be able to provide a for a realistic replacement schedule. The City Council needs to be very upfront with its residents as to what can be expected with regards to infrastructure improvements.
Q: How would you describe the state of your community's finances?
A: To put it bluntly, our finances can best be described as hand to mouth. Historically, we have been able to provide for our day to day needs such as payroll, snow plowing and keeping the lights on. There is not enough revenue collected to be put into a reserve fund to provide for planned long term infrastructure replacements.
Q: What should be the three top priorities for spending in your community during the next four years?
A: a. Paying day-to-day bills.
b. Replacing vehicles and equipment in order to properly respond to emergencies.
c. Small scale flooding mitigation.
Q: Are there areas of spending that need to be curtailed? If so, what are they?
A: Spending revenue on anything other than day-to-day essentials must be extremely limited. Beautification projects can only be done once the basic daily needs are 100% funded with a contingency or if there is a grant available to pay for it.
Q: What do you see as the most important infrastructure project the community must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what project(s) can be put on the back burner?
A: Drainage projects are the most immediate infrastructure need in the city. We rely heavily on grants to fund these projects. Currently we have been very successful in getting grants due to the stimulus spending by the federal government. This will not last forever. Once this funding stops, so will our ability to continue doing significant improvement projects.
Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage local government? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions with your village board or city council.
A: It is important to be able to work with everyone on the council. I have worked with council members on both side of issues in order to get to a conscience that is in the best interest of the City. We have to find what we agree on rather than focus on where at we disagree. I like to keep reminding fellow council members that we are here to get things done for the City, not our individual interests.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?
A: I really like helping people. As an Alderman, I am able to use my problem solving skills to help whole neighborhoods of people. My life experiences help me in understanding what is important to people and how to help them navigate the system to solve their particular issue.
Q: What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A: Making a big effort to get more people involved in City government. Once more people understand how it works, the better off we all are. Hopefully then, more people will give of their time and talents to make us a better community.