Meet the Candidate: Adam Moodhe
Editor's note --This is the fourth in a series of profiles of candidates for Buffalo Grove Village Board positions. Candidates for Village Trustee will be featured first followed by candidates for Village President. All candidates received the same questionnaire. Their answers appear verbatim without any added editorial comments or interpretation. This is done so readers can read direct answers from each candidate. Profiles will be posted in alphabetical order.
--- Stan Zoller, Content Coordinator, Buffalo Grove News and Information.
Village Board Trustee
How long have you lived in Buffalo Grove?
Please provide brief background information.
I've grown up in Buffalo Grove, have been actively involved in the Village since I installed the first Handicapped Parking spaces at the Ranch Mart shopping center in 1977 for my Eagle Scout Service project. I graduated from Stevenson High School and served in the Air Force as a Security Policeman. So, I have an understanding of Public Safety issues. I have the experience and dedication to this Village that many running this time don't have. I have attended countless Village Board meetings, long before running for Trustee, not as merely a spectator, but through active participation, I have worked with every sitting member on this board, I know the staff members, I am ready on Day one.
Have you served on a village committee or commission before? If yes, which one and how long did you serve?
I have served on various committees and commissions since the '80s. I have been on Buffalo Grove Days committee as the Audio Co-Chair; responsible for obtaining the technical services for 18 years. I am also a 14-year member of the Village Emergency Management Agency. I have been actively working on Economic Growth as a Current sitting member of the Planning and Zoning Commission for the last 4 years,
What other civic activities, if any, have you been involved with?
I am Chairman of the Executive Selection Committee for the Longfellow PTO Board for 2 years. I am Cubmaster of my Boys Cub Scout Pack 381 at Longfellow School for the past 6 years. A sitting member of the Scout Troop 140, Eagle Scout Board of Review, and a Youth Protection officer for the Troop. I have coached Park District Soccer and Basketball. A volunteer for Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes in Buffalo Grove for 10 years, which my wife, Mary, sits on the event committee.
Why are you running for a Village Board position?
The Village is going to be facing challenges over the next few years, I have concrete ideas to tackle those challenges; incentives for commercial building owners, alternative revenue ideas, and tax stability ideas to protect us, as taxpayers, from wild property tax swings, with long term planning of our pension responsibilities. Long term thinking, not just what we can do in the next four years. But the vision to make this a Village that our children want to raise their families, 20 years from now. These are the types of new visions that we need, and I have the experience to get them accomplished.
In general, what do you see as the most pressing issues facing Buffalo Grove?
Tax Stability, Fiscal Responsibility, Economic Growth, and Long-term thinking. Each of these is tied to the other with Long Term thinking being critical. If we have long term thinking with fiscal responsibility, we can achieve tax stability. With each of the other, we can show developers the value of Buffalo Grove and achieve the economic growth we all seek.
There has been considerable discussion for years about economic development in the village. What kind of economic development (retail, commercial, industrial) do you think should be a priority and why?
The best way to promote development will be using mixed-use zoning in areas that are presently B-2. The prime reason for this will be to have the retail and residents in close proximity to each other. Much of the Lake Cook and Prairie View Metra corridor plans call for this type of development. The other reason this can work is it allows developers an opportunity to recoup their investment at a faster rate, thereby giving them an incentive to developing this type of project. The one drawback to this type of use is we have to be willing to accept a higher density than what might exist presently. Our industrial base has been and will continue to be a strong position for the Village. Now we need to start rounding out the revenue stream to put us in a greater position of strength.
Which business development plan do you think should be a priority? Lake-Cook Road corridor, Dundee Road, Milwaukee Avenue or the Prairie View concept?
The politically correct answer is; whichever area you might live nearest too or see the most. The reality is whichever a developer is willing to build out. In an ideal world all of them, at the same time, would be great. Market conditions and land availability are the true driving forces. We have the blueprint for developing the Lake Cook Corridor, and the Prairie View Metra area. The next Board will be tackling the update of the Village Comprehensive Plan and will have an opportunity to make some changes to zoning that is more in-line with present market conditions and the changing personal lifestyles of current and future residents. Despite what some Candidates are saying, you cannot force a developer to buy or rebuild a property. Any more than you can force a homeowner to paint their house lime green. We live in a free market society and, the best we can do is provide the guidelines for what we would like to see developed and then promote those concepts to achieve our goals.
How do you think the village should encourage redevelopment of existing retail areas that are struggling?
It is, again, a matter of the landowner wanting to do the redevelopment. I am certainly inclined to look at revenue/tax sharing concepts that will help redevelop parcels. I would like to see a discount or waiver of permit fees for areas that wish to upgrade their appearance. I would also like to see the Village get more aggressive in its marketing to developers. The Village, itself, cannot just pay to redevelop those properties. The Board is elected to provide cost-effective services for its residents. They are not elected to go into debt and increase taxes as land speculators.
Should the village limit development to preserve green space?
The Village must take into account the importance of green spaces on the overall welfare of the community. Paving over land just on the hope that it will produce some kind of benefit is short-sighted. We have to preserve green spaces to deal with the constant effects of the environment we live with. We need to provide open, green space for water run-off and even just the scenic benefits they provide. Some have stated; building can be done as long as there is replacement storage somewhere. This gets into the old adage "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". The problem is, the last I checked we are not making more land. The laws allow for that replacement to be put, almost, anywhere within a floodway. So, then we are forced into making determinations as to which residents we will allow to flood, not to mention the effects it could have on other communities. Building within these areas needs to be prudent, and well controlled.
Some of our volunteer groups (commissions, committees) have seen shrinking membership. What would you do to engage the community on a broader scale? What would you do to encourage broader demographic participation?
This is not just a Village issue, this is an overall U.S. issue. If you Google; 'declining volunteer rates in America' you will see a plethora of studies identifying this issue. I see it directly in PTO participation as well as in Scouting. Growing up my family was actively involved in Civic and Church volunteer efforts so, in me, the role of giving back to your Community is ingrained. But, to the point of what the Village can do in particular; I would like to see the Village Talent Bank questionnaire placed more prominently on the Village web page so that people know how to join a committee. I would like to see write-ups in the Village Newsletter and Social media platforms about the committees so that people know where, and what they can volunteer. Once we have the talent bank forms and can position people to best utilize their strengths, we need to keep them engaged. Nothing kills off a volunteer spirit like having an enthusiastic person and not engaging them.
There is a proposal to add a "Community Engagement Director" to the village staff. Do you think it is needed? Explain why or why not.
I'm leaning towards not budgeting or spending money for this role, as a stand-alone position. We have a number of young, energetic management analysts already on staff that could share this type of role on a project by project basis.
Do you think the Village communicates well with residents? If not, how can it be improved?
The Village has many ways that it communicates. Newsletter, Email blast, the web site with posted agendas, Social Media sites, even physical signs that it puts up for some things. But we can't force people to engage with those many avenues. The Villages' communication should be relevant, broad-based and frequent, which it does accomplish. It becomes incumbent upon all of us, as residents, to read that information. To seek out answers if we have questions. To be informed and engaged in our community.
Final thoughts -- Add any information or comments about your candidacy.
I have the experience, dedication, and vision our Village needs to prepare for the long term. I understand the challenges and more importantly the enormous strengths our Village has to continue to be one of the best places to live. I am ready on Day One to be your Village Trustee and would be grateful for your vote on April 2.