Sycamore Mayoral candidate Rick Kramer submitted this questionnaire, answering the Daily Chronicle's questions in the 2017 Sycamore Mayoral race.
Name: Rick Kramer
Office sought: Mayor
1) Why are you the best candidate?
I have served this community in several ways, I am currently serving in my sixth year as alderman of the Fourth Ward. My commitment and dedication is reflected by 43 years of service as a volunteer firefighter. My leadership skills were honed by the fire service, leaving the Pueblo West Vol Fire Department with the rank of captain. And in Cortland Fire Department I hold the position as captain. People depend on myself to make the right decisions on the fire ground, to make sure we are all safe and return home. I have been a Medinah Shriner for 28 years as an aviator, we are the ones who fly burn children and their families to the burn hospitals for free. Its all about dedication, trust and reliability.
2) What should be the top priorities for the community?
Quality service to our community through public safety, balanced budgets and transparency.
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 did everything to make this happen, as we have citizens that need this type of home. The county did not do their part as far as researching this type of home and could not make it happen.
4) What is your position on allowing the county to expand the amount of property it owns in the city?
Expansion is good as long as we have good interest in the development so we do not have underdeveloped and vacant properties associated with such development.
5) The city's parking meter system is one of the charms of downtown. However, finding parts for the meters is a challenge, and about half the fines go unpaid. Should the system be changed, removed, or kept as-is? Why?
I think it should be kept, as our meter service has found replacement parts rather easily. We do have a collection system that works and we have collected monies owed from those fines.
6) If elected, how would you work to help the city grow?
We all have to remember it's not what I can do, it's what the team can do. We have a good council in place and we all work together as a team. We always are looking for growth with more industry, this brings in more work positions and brings more people into the community. We give incentives to industry to attract them here to Sycamore.
7) How should the city finance its ever-growing funding obligations to its police and fire pension funds?
This is something that is always looked at by our finance committee. They do a good job with several ways to fund this without raising the tax levy for the last five years. It is ever-growing and sometime we have no choice but to look into the taxing levies. But this is always a very low increase to the public. As a taxpayer, I do my best to avoid any tax increases.