Long Grove Village President Angie Underwood speaking at the BACC Economic Summit on February 10, 2016. Photo credit: Daily Herald
In my previous blog entry I talked about my views as an audience member attending last Saturday’s Legislative Breakfast, listening to a panel of our State elected officials present and answer questions. This week, the roles were reversed as I took a turn at the podium participating in the Economic Summit sponsored by the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce. Mayors and Village Presidents from eight towns were invited to speak about current events in our municipalities, and the state of affairs in our local retail and business districts. I always enjoy these opportunities to interact with my peers and find out what is new and in the works with our neighboring communities.
When speaking publicly for the Village, I take into careful consideration the message that I want to convey and how it will influence the listener’s perception of Long Grove. But I have learned from experience that you cannot control how that message is in turn going to be passed on by others. When I communicate I strive to be positive and genuine and I believe that honesty is the best policy. My recent presentation mentioned the successful changes to our festivals in the past year; the increase in attendance and profits with additions of family activities and bands to attract a young adult demographic. I highlighted the fact that we currently have 54 businesses in our historic downtown, with new additions such as Village Pizza & Ribs, Bell’s Apple Orchard & Bakery, and Finch’s Beer. I kept my remarks focused on projects being undertaken by the Village Board that relate to economic development such as the update of our comprehensive plan and the downtown expansion of our public water system and anticipated connection to Lake Michigan water.
After the individual speeches, the audience submitted questions to the panel. One to be answered by all was our thoughts on the State of Illinois withholding funds to municipalities. I was specifically asked to comment on what the Village of Long Grove is doing to support the extension of IL Rt. 53. The newspaper today chose to write about my responses to the question on new residential housing and the possibility of multi-family housing in Long Grove.
Controversial issues are what we want to hear about, what we want to read about, and then pass judgement on. This dynamic is clearly evident in our local political climate too. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a sign of the times.
Grace under pressure is a skill that improves with practice, and I am grateful for events such as this which allow me to rise to the challenge. Maintaining composure and sounding articulate while answering tough questions is something many of us can benefit from, not just those in the political arena. As I continue to represent Long Grove I will keep singing the praises of this Village that I care so deeply for, regardless of the spin or slant others choose to hear. I aim to perfect the art of communicating my message–encouraging others to experience our unique atmosphere and visit the charming shops, restaurants, and open spaces which make our town a special place to live and raise a family.
State Legislators answer questions at the February 6, 2016 Lake County Municipal League Event.
Yesterday I attended the Lake County Municipal League Legislative Breakfast in Round Lake. This annual event was an opportunity to hear directly from our local State Senators and Representatives, who spoke about what is happening (or not) in Springfield. Eleven legislators sat on the panel, and responded to questions on many diverse topics such as: state funding for our schools, corporate flight out of Illinois, and reasons pro or con on the need to raise our state income taxes. One topic that all could agree on was the urgent necessity of getting a state budget passed, and the desire that they should all be in session until this is accomplished. The need to work together was acknowledged again and again, despite strong opinions on positions expressed individually. Another attendee used the word intransigence (confession–I had to look this up later, it means: refusing to compromise or to abandon an extreme position or attitude) as a descriptor of what was heard. Several legislators asked the municipalities present to pass resolutions demanding that the state pass a budget. If Long Grove demands that they simply do their jobs and find a way to compromise, will that work? If so, I’m willing to try.
The LCML also presented their 2016 Legislative Agenda, which details seven priority issues and four pieces of state legislation on the watch list. Priority issues of particular interest to Long Grove include:
- Automatic Appropriation for Motor Fuel Tax & Video Gaming Funds
- Protection of Electronics Recycling Program Funding
- Protection of our Local Government Distributive Fund Revenues
- Opposition to Unfunded Mandates
- Support of Expanding Home Rule Eligibility to Communities in Excess of 5,000 Residents
Please attend our next Village Board meeting on February 9th at 7:00 pm to hear more about this as well as other important issues.
(L to R) Nandia Black, Village President of Kildeer, Me, and Mimi Black of Kildeer.
One of the enjoyable parts of this job is having the opportunity to get to know some of the other Mayors in the Chicago suburban area, like my neighbor Nandia, pictured above. The Metropolitan Mayors Caucus provides a forum through which the 273 chief elected municipal officials of Chicago and the collar counties meet quarterly. We work together as local governments to develop consensus and act on common public policy issues and multi-jurisdictional challenges. This past weekend was the annual Gala event, held this year at the Shedd Aquarium. I had not been to the Shedd since chaperoning a field trip when my kids were in grade school, almost 20 years ago! The One World Aquatic Show was great, but even more interesting was mingling with my peers and meeting new faces. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner were also in attendance. My dinner table companions were from Suburban Cook County and DuPage County. What did they want to talk about? The Route 53 extension was top of their minds when learning I hailed from Long Grove. The evening was festive and the conversation was polite, and boy, did I get an earful!