Mark Mulliner: We Need to Return to Debating the Issues and Not Let Personalities Get in the Way
Mulliner's 7th Ward seat is being challenged by newcomer Dean O'Brien.
- 7th Ward candidate: Mark A. Mulliner (Incumbent)
- Web site: www.markmulliner.com
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Family: married to Barb; son, Jason; daughter, Amanda
- Education: bachelor of science, education, Northern Illinois University
- Occupation: owner, School Technology Services Inc.
- Previous elected offices: current 7th Ward alderman, Elmhurst Library Board of Trustees
What is the primary reason you are running for this office?
I love Elmhurst and I believe that it is the best city in the United States. I have served the people in my role as alderman and I wish to continue serving them. I promise one thing, and this is that whenever I vote on any issue, I will continue to do what I have in the past and vote for what I truly believe is in the best interest of Elmhurst.
What will be your priority if elected?
Provide core and essential city services while controlling the costs for those services. The City of Elmhurst needs to continue to control the costs of government while providing the core functions: public safety, infrastructure (roads, sewers, water, sidewalks, etc.), economic development to help keep taxes under control, and compensative flood mitigation.
The City of Elmhurst needs to study the flooding problems that have been occurring throughout the city and determine what solutions will minimize the flooding issues without moving the problem someplace else. The city needs to study the problem and educate everyone. Four areas need to be addressed. Issues include stormwater management, sanitary water management, funding and ComEd power outages.
We must preserve the history of Elmhurst while building for the future, and take a common sense approach to government.
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
I have worked hard for the city over the past 12 years and have always voted for what I believe is in the best interest everyone in Elmhurst, and I promise to continue to vote that way in the future.
I have knowledge of what is going on in Elmhurst because I have been there and have been attending City Council meetings since the early 1980s on a regular basis.
I am a lifelong resident of Elmhurst, for most of that time in the 7th Ward, therefore I have a history of what has been going on in Elmhurst. With a new city manager, a new superintendent in District 205 and a new head librarian at the library, I believe it is important to have some people with institutional knowledge.
I have a common sense approach to government
How long have you lived in Elmhurst?
Lifelong Elmhurst resident, most of that time in the 7th Ward.
What's your favorite thing about Elmhurst?
The people. It's always wonderful to talk with people in Elmhurst. We all care so much about this great city.
What is the biggest problem in Elmhurst?
The annual flooding and power outages that affect some areas of the city.
Are there any challenges or problems in your ward? If so, what needs to be done?
The annual flooding in some areas of the ward. Through the comprehensive flood mitigation program, the City of Elmhurst is studying the flooding problems that have been occurring throughout the city and will determine what solutions will minimize the flooding issues without moving the problem someplace else. We must study the problem and educate everyone. Four areas need to be addressed. Issues include stormwater management, sanitary water management and funding.
The ongoing power issues in some areas of the city also is a problem. I have requested that the City Council prepare a resolution to send to the Attorney General's Office for help on this issue.
With the retirement of Tom Borchert, what do you think are the most important attributes for a new city manager?
Someone who can manage a city of our size, someone who can communicate affectively with the people of the city and the City Council, someone who understands the culture and history of this great city.
Do you think the city is spending taxpayer money in the most efficient and effective way? What, if anything, would you change with regard to budgeting and spending?
We need to continue to focus on the core functions of the city operations.
We’ve heard residents of all ages, but especially seniors, say that it’s getting too expensive to live in Elmhurst. What can be done to make Elmhurst more affordable for all residents? Do you think the city will need to raise taxes again in the near future?
I have a great deal of respect for the seniors in Elmhurst. They helped to make this city what it is, and I believe that we have to help to hold the line on taxes for seniors and others who have a lived here. That is why I put in a request to create some relief for seniors and others who are having trouble paying their taxes. I hope this request gets a hearing in the Finance Committee.
Do you agree with other aldermen who are proposing several new TIF districts in town? Why or why not?
I believe that we need to look carefully at the use of TIF districts, and in the future we should look to see if there are any opportunities that make sense. I would have to study each area individually before I could support any of them.
What is working and not working in terms of economic development in Elmhurst? What, specifically, would you do to encourage businesses to come here?
I think when it comes to businesses and industry in Elmhurst, the city has two roles: to retain the businesses that are in the city and to sell new businesses on the benefits of Elmhurst. We need to promote our perfect location, at the crossroads of most major expressways as well as easy access to O’Hare, and the fact that Elmhurst is a good-sized city with a small-town feel. The more businesses that we have in Elmhurst in the business and industrial area, the lower we can keep the taxes on the homeowner.
Spring rains are right around the corner, and a flooding mitigation plan could take years to implement. In the short term, do you think the city is doing everything it can to assists residents who experienced the bulk of the flooding problems last year? Will you be nervous when the rains start?
Yes, I’m nervous! So are people throughout Elmhurst, however the city has started a compensative flood mitigation study and will be monitoring the situation during the spring and summer so that we have good plan to move forward with in the near future. We need a good plan to make sure that we are spending our money wisely.
At the same time, ComEd is moving forward with its plans, and I continue to put pressure on ComEd to fix all of the problems in the Elmhurst. My request to the council and Attorney General's Office I hope will provide additional pressure on ComEd to fix this problem.
Nearly a dozen water mains broke within a one-week period this winter and, separately, failing infrastructure is listed as one of the reasons for flooding in Elmhurst. What needs to be done with infrastructure and how is the city going to pay for it?
We need to budget, as we have been, to fix the visible and invisible infrastructure in Elmhurst. In most years, the budget reflexes about 17 percent of the capital monies going to each of the major infrastructure areas. The city has been very good at getting grants and issuing bonds when necessary, and it needs to continue with this approach.
Do you think city officials and aldermen have a good relationship with citizens of Elmhurst with regard to trust and transparency? Is there anything you would do to improve that?
The City Council is the board of directors for the City of Elmhurst. As such, the City Council should operate in a professional, open and inviting environment. Everyone in the city, as well as all of the elected officials, should have an opportunity to have their voices and concerns heard and responded to appropriately. Right now, I would that the City Council is having some trouble operating at a professional level. In order to achieve that professional level of operation, the members of the City Council should have a workshop from an independent parliamentarian on the “Elmhurst version” of Robert’s Rules, so that all members of the council remember how to operate at a board level. We need to return to debating the issues and not letting personalities get in the way. Debate is good. It helps us come up with better solutions.