Name: Jim Cosler
Office sought: Mayor of Cary
1) What skills, qualities or experience do you possess that separate you from your opponent?
The position of mayor is one which is very important to the community. To succeed in this responsibility, a person must possess the qualities and attributes which the people in the community desire. My success as a write-in candidate for trustee was garnered by my ability to reach the people of Cary. I have put considerable effort into communicating, informing, and educating our citizens on their local government and its actions. By doing so, I have earned a trust which is changing the old ways of Cary and allowing people to re-engage in the process. Clearly, I have forged a new path for Cary residents which sets me apart from the past. It is evident everyone is excited for this new direction and I am proud to be the person who produced change.
2) What can the Village of Cary do and what should it do to ease the property tax burden on homeowners?
As everyone knows, property tax burden is very real in our county and state. The Village of Cary is a relatively small portion of that bill when compared other taxing bodies. Nonetheless, every penny counts and small increases by many parties can lead to large increases. For that reason, I have voted two years in a row to keep the village tax levy flat, unlike the incumbent who favors tax increases. Additionally, it is my goal to bring in more businesses which generate sales tax revenue. Cary’s revenues from sales taxes are far below the average community in Illinois and; this must be reversed. We need a new culture in our leadership which promotes development of businesses to help offset the property tax burden. As Mayor, I will overhaul the culture which settles for business as usual. As someone who believes in Cary and its potential, I would like to take our town to a higher level.
3) How would you describe the climate in Cary government for businesses? What needs improvement? What's working?
The business climate in Cary varies depending upon geographic location. Downtown Cary has received incredible focus in the past four years in the form of economic incentives, village assistance, and community events. This has resulted in downtown business occupancy levels which are near capacity. Other areas of Cary haven’t benefitted from this type of emphasis and this is reflected in complaints and calls for help. I would improve the fairness of assistance projects offered by the village and ensure all businesses have a fair shake. There cannot be a continued system in which certain businesses receive help while others do not.
4) What will be the biggest challenge that Cary residents and their village government will face over the next four years and how will you meet it?
Under the current leadership, total village expenses have increased more than 12.6% in four years. During the same time frame, revenues have only seen a marginal increase. As was discussed in the most recent village board budget meeting, this course is unsustainable. We face over half a million dollar deficit in 2018, with no plan to address the shortfall. Meanwhile, there are attempts to spend large sums of money on unnecessary capital improvements. There must be restraint in spending and the focus should be brought back toward serving the residents of the community. To address the shortfalls, there needs to be a focus on attracting businesses to our village in order to generate additional sales tax revenue. I have set a goal of attracting a 10% increase of sales tax revenue year over year by attracting businesses throughout my term.
5) The Pedcor complex has been a divisive issue in Cary for several years? Now that the complex is completed, what are your thoughts?
The fact that the Pedcor complex is complete does not alter the fact that Cary’s processes and procedures, along with the voices of the taxpayers, were circumvented in an unprecedented manner in the process. In fact, it sets a disturbing precedent that Cary’s zoning ordinances and comprehensive plan are nothing more than malleable concepts to be altered at will. Most troubling of all, is the incumbent continues to assert that the State of Illinois has a 10% affordable housing mandate which the Village of Cary must comply with it. There is simply no such mandate. Please reference Illinois Compiled Statutes (310 ILCS 67/).
6) What should Cary residents expect to have happened in Cary by the end of your term?
There are many goals I have set for our government, our community, and the Village at large. My tangible goals for Cary are:
• 10% increase in sales tax revenue year over year – Offset rising expenses and property taxes.
• 100% of Cary businesses visited or contacted every year - Foster the business climate in Cary. Current visits are 10-15 businesses per years.
• Adding staff directed at marketing and economic development – Addresses short staffing and a need to market Cary.
• Limit expense increases below 2.5%. – Expenses have increased over 12.6% during the incumbent’s term.
• Add activities/businesses for young adults and teens –It is important to address the current scarcity of entertainment and recreational activities geared towards young adults.
• Demonstrate increased cooperation with other Districts and Boards – Focus on intergovernmental cooperation to benefit the community overall.
With my leadership, the community will experience a ground shift in transparency and ethics. The people will be brought back into the processes which are used in village decisions. The divisiveness we have faced in the last four years will be eliminated and our town will be able to trust local government. Please visit my website at www.JimCosler.com for more details and to ask me questions.