Meet the Candidate: Mike Terson

Editor's note --This is the last 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.

Candidate's name 
Mike Terson

Candidate for:
Village Board President

How long have you lived in Buffalo Grove? 
This time around, since 2005

Please provide brief background information. 
I graduated from Buffalo Grove High School in 1988, and since moving back to the community, have worked at the Park District and served on many community organizations.

Have you served on a village committee or commission before? If yes, which one and how long did you serve? 
Yes - 50th Anniversary Commission for 3 years
What other civic activities, if any, have you been involved with? 
I served on the Link Together Coalition Executive Board. I currently volunteer on the Lake County Youth Empowerment for Success Coalition Board, the College of Lake County Southlake Campus Advisory Council, the High School District 214 Alumni Council Board, the Buffalo Grove High School Parents Association, and I volunteer as a mentor to 2 college students with the One Million Degrees program at Harper College.

Why are you running for a Village Board position? 
To bring better and a more modern style of leadership to our community.
In general, what do you see as the most pressing issues facing Buffalo Grove? 
Increasing revenue, so that we can pay for the needs of a failing infrastructure, while continuing to provide a high level of service. Improving how we accomplish economic development is how we will accomplish that.

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? 
Industrial is successful; so, while it's not unimportant, it's not a "priority" that needs our focus right now. Retail/commercial is the issue and high priority. Why? Because we only generate $208 per square foot in retail sales. We need economic development to double that number. Until we change that number, we are running up the down escalator.

Which business development plan do you think should be a priority? Lake-Cook Road corridor, Dundee Road, Milwaukee Avenue or the Prairie View concept? 
I think they are all important; but, the Lake-Cook Road corridor is the priority because it has the potential to be the game changer that has the biggest impact on how the other corridors get redeveloped. That being said, the Dundee Road corridor is right there too, because it is in such bad need of redevelopment. The car dealerships have got to be redeveloped; we cannot wait on that.

How do you think the village should encourage redevelopment of existing retail areas that are struggling? 
The short answer is economic incentives. But I also think there is opportunity for the elected leader of the community to create better relationships with commercial property owners. Sometimes it's those little things, like open communication and networking that get things going.

Should the village limit development to preserve green space? 
No. Here's why... We already exceed the recommendation by the federal government on the amount of usable recreational open space for the size and population of our community. And, with the federally required increase in water storage capacity (20%) to develop the only "green space" in question, doing a project there would actually increase the amount of usable recreational open space in the community even more. That doesn't mean I am unilaterally in favor of developing the golf course just to develop the golf course; it would have to be the right project that would significantly and positively impact our community and quality of life. But, if I am answering the direct question, the need to limit is not there.

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? 
I will look to engage the community in the places they engage, not wait for them to come to Village Hall or fill out a form. My plan is to be everywhere often, as well as accessible on social media. The role of a Village President is different than that of a trustee. I will bring that role to a new level of engagement with residents.

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. 
While I don't think it is "needed," I am not convinced that it is a bad idea either. This is definitely something I want to discuss further with both the staff and Village Board. I definitely don't think it would be fair for me to criticize it from the outside as a candidate. I think it's a valid concept that has merit and needs to be looked at and discussed. From experience, I know that not every position within an organization is easily quantified on paper; however, I also know that there are a lot of roles within an organization that significantly impact the success of those positions that are easily quantified. I think this situation calls for patience, due diligence, asking relevant questions, followed by logical decision making.

Do you think the Village communicates well with residents? If not, how can it be improved? 
Yes, and I think it can always be improved as well. As technology advances, so are ways to communicate. I love that our Village staff are so proactive in finding these ways to improve communication, and I look forward to being an asset to them in achieving those goals.

Final thoughts -- Add any information or comments about your candidacy. 
There is no logical reason why residents of a community with the kind of median income, average education level, highly rated schools, beautiful parks, and number of existing homes with high property values should have to go to other towns to spend their money when they want to shop or dine in nice restaurants. With the exception of groceries, we are constantly leaving Buffalo Grove to spend our money. And, our reward for going to these other towns to spend money is higher property taxes. I want to change that; and, I have a plan to do it.


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