Other, Sociology and Communications, University of Illinois at Chicago
Married, Douglas Saam
Dexter L. Saam, 8
Tucker M. Saam, 5
Maximilian D. Saam, 3
On the Record
What experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for office?
Batavia is home to me, and I have made it so by being involved in our community. In the past years, I have been on numerous boards including Batavia MainStreet, Batavia Arts Council and Art In Your Eye steering committee. Through each of these community groups, I have worked closely with the City of Batavia as well as the Chamber of Commerce, giving me insight and knowledge of what is happening and decisions being made in our community. With each organization I have also had to work hard to approve and balance budgets, fundraise and focus on economic growth and development, especially in our downtown. I have worked within our community, opened my own business here and been very receptive to obtaining viewpoints of my neighbors about what is important to them living here in Batavia. I believe that I have the experience working with and connecting businesses and community members with the city government.
What are your top two or three priorities if elected?
It is very important to me that there is an increased level of communication between residents and city officials. We are in a community where it is to everyone’s benefit to have an open government and make information readily available to those who seek it. This will keep more people involved and informed as well as help to remove the misconceptions that happen when the correct information is not accessible. The decisions of the City Council are being made with our tax dollars and we need to be included and informed during the process. Another priority to me is to continue to revitalize our downtown. We have heard this for years and rightfully so. Downtown is everyone’s neighborhood and we all want a reason to spend more time there. The increase in activity in our downtown in the past year or so is inspiring and makes me want to strive for more. Not only does this promote community in downtown, but it increases the tax revenue which will help relieve some of the burden on homeowners here in Batavia. A thriving downtown creates a thriving Batavia. I have helped to spearhead a few downtown revitalizing projects with Batavia MainStreet. In the past two years we have hosted a successful downtown fundraiser called “Cocktails on Clark” as well as created a monthly local retailers pop-up market called Artisan Collective.
Would you support freezing your taxing district’s levy until housing prices rebound? Why or why not?
By freezing our tax levy, other important city services may suffer. When cuts are made in one area, increases will need to be made in another to balance that out. Although I would love to stop any increase in taxes for homeowners who continue to feel the burden of the economy, I do not want to risk our public safety with cuts to police and fire or water and sanitation. This may be an issue that could be voted on through referendum to see what services we as a community feel we can live without or live with less of.
What one decision by the city council do you most disagree with and why?
As I continue to receive information on the Prairie State power plant deal, I feel that this would be the decision that I disagree with most made by the council. My disagreement comes mainly with the decision to purchase all of our energy from one place. An important thing I have learned from my financial advisor is to diversify. The City Council decided to obtain all of Batavia’s energy from one place, thereby leaving our rates completely dependent on Prairie State. Other surrounding communities may purchase energy from Prairie State as well, yet they have other energy sources to help balance out their rates. Another issue I see with Prairie State is that of transparency and disclosure. At this point, the Batavia City Council receives limited information about the financials and workings of Prairie State. The information that Batavia City Council receives is not even directly from Prairie State but through NIMPA, a joint action agency created by Geneva, Batavia and Rochelle to purchase a portion of Prairie State. I feel that the city council needs to pursue greater disclosure and information for Prairie State to further protect our community members who are all affected by this through their energy rates.
What was the biggest accomplishment of the city council in the past year?
I would say that the completion of the McDonald’s project was a huge accomplishment of this past year. In my opinion, City Council made the right decisions to work with McDonald’s to keep them in our downtown. I am a huge local business advocate, but corporate businesses such as McDonalds and Walgreens help to bring a tremendous about of tax dollars into our community and pay the largest portion into the TIF. Projects like these are essential to creating a thriving downtown Batavia.
Why should voters elect you to office?
I would love the opportunity to serve voters as a voice and decision maker on the Batavia City Council. I will make steps to bridge community and government and work to increase communication between residents and city officials. This is my family’s home and you are our neighbors. The decisions I make for this community will be well informed and take all community opinion into account as well. My experience with Batavia MainStreet and my passion for our community will help me to create good relationships with our current and prospective businesses. My experience with Art In Your Eye, the Batavia Arts Council and Water Street Studios have shown me how important cultural activity is in our community. The love and appreciation of the arts is something that sets Batavia apart from other communities, and I commit to supporting the growth of that. I am committed to making this the BEST Batavia it can be for our children, our families, our businesses, our guests and ourselves.
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