Sycamore Mayoral candidate Curt Lang submitted this questionnaire, answering the Daily Chronicle's questions in the 2017 Sycamore Mayoral race.
Name: Dr. Curt Lang
Hometown: St. George, Utah
Office sought: Sycamore Mayor
1) Why are you the best candidate?
After graduating from Dental School in1976, my wife Karen and I moved to Sycamore. Over the past 40 years, we have raised our 3 children, and have been active in community activities and organizations. Serving patients at Courtview Dental Center and meeting friends in Sycamore has been truly rewarding.
I have the experience, desire and necessary qualities to be the next Mayor of Sycamore. My 40 years of business experience includes local and state dental organization leadership, managing Courtview Dental Center, and Property Development in Sycamore. My roles as an active Sycamore community member include School Board member, Alderman for Sycamore’s First Ward, Library Board member, Rotary member, United Fund Board, Youth Baseball leader for 10 years, active Church member. My various community roles have given me the desire and experience to be a mayor for Sycamore’s citizens.
I would be committed to serve the city of Sycamore with integrity, honesty, commitment, and compassion. I would seek communication with citizens to hear their concerns as well as work toward their solutions.
Sycamore has a legacy of offering more to its citizens and children. I am determined to ensure that the legacy of Sycamore will continue for the generations to come.
2) What should be the top priorities for the community?
As mayor I would listen to the priorities of the people of Sycamore, and seek to learn the their needs and their interests. I believe the top priorities should be local business, education, safety, and infrastructure.
A thriving local business district is vital for a healthy Sycamore. When our quaint downtown is healthy everyone seems happier. I would encourage the businesses outside our downtown. They are also an integral part of a healthy Sycamore, as they bring jobs and the energy our community needs.
Sycamore’s children are the future for everyone. Their career choices, their future families, and their service to society will likely be determined by their education. With the funding issues our schools are experiencing from the State legislature, working with the city is paramount.
Safety is on all our minds with the randomness acts of the world. I will encourage the police, fire, and public works departments to continue improving and to educate us all on how to be better prepared.
There are infrastructure plans to continue with improvements in street, sewer, and water treatment. These are costly but necessary. We all enjoy the quality they bring to our lives.
3) Did the city council err when it voted to allow the county to convert a State Street house into a sober-living home?
The city council listened to the needs of the county and the drug court for several meetings concerning their desire for a Sober Home. The council wanted to help those who had been through the court rehabilitation process and were being guided by court supervision to re-enter society. The county felt the State Street house would meet their need. They would provide all the funding, supervision, and management of the new Sober House. The council relied on the County and the drug court to develop and prepare the Sober House. The Council granted a special use permit, limited for that purpose, to help in rehabilitation. If the house did not come about, the county would return the property to the tax roles and sell the property.
4) What is your position to allow the county to expand the amount of property it owes in the city?
It is my understanding that when the county made their last annexation of property it was to be all they would need for many, many years. We have all witnessed the County’s desires for more buildings.
The government needs to be counted on to do what they say just as citizens are accountable. When the county says they have enough space for many many years, they should live within their acquired space.
5) The city’s parking meter system is one of the charms of town. However, finding parts for the meters is a challenge, and about half of the fines go unpaid. Should the system be changed, removed, or kept as is? Why?
I am in favor of keeping the current parking meter system. I think the quaintness of the 1-penny meter is well worth the effort to keep Sycamore’s reputation as the” home of the penny meter”. It makes our visitors smile to see a penny meter; it validates the slogan of “life offering more in Sycamore!”
It is my understanding that the city has obtained some old meters from another municipality that will provide us with the needed parts to manage the current meter system for a long time.
6) If elected, how would you work to help the city grow?
We have a city planning commission that studies and approves growth ideas. We have a comprehensive Unified Development Ordinance that the council has approved for growth guidance.
If elected, I would encourage growth within the existing ordinances. However, I am in favor of new ideas, new developments, and investors that like what Sycamore has to offer. I would work with the Chamber of Commerce, planning commission and council to create a business environment that would encourage business and industry, bringing more jobs to Sycamore.
I have had many discussions about keeping the quaintness of downtown, while giving more opportunities to our local small businesses. The Ideal industrial park is awesome! Another manufacturing site would be a long-term goal that would also bring jobs and taxes to give relief for property taxes and as well as jobs to our community!
Sycamore has a reputation for being business friendly. I hope to encourage open discussions with builders, contractors, and businesses owners about how Sycamore can continue and improve the reputation of Sycamore being “business friendly”.
7) How should the city finance its ever-growing funding obligations to its police and fire pension funds?
The city has obligations, and unlike the State of Illinois, Sycamore is well on its way to meeting these and other pension obligations. The majority of the city’s property taxes are currently going to meet the city’s personnel obligations.
The growth that comes to Sycamore would be the source that could relieve property taxes and bring added funds to pension funding. Keeping our downtown vital and attractive to business will continue to bring consumers to enjoy a vibrant Sycamore.
The addition of more business in Sycamore would be tremendous. I would encourage future development on east Route 64, on north Route 23, on south Route 23 and on Peace road. This would result in exciting development and business activity. These developments would increase the revenue to the city and keep Sycamore growing for generations to come!!