2015 5th ward alderman candidate: Kate Noreiko

By Andre Phillips

Involvement: Former Kishwaukee Hospital director of human resources, former member of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Noreiko HR Consulting founder

Q: What do you think is the most pressing issue in your ward?

A: We have some basic issues of street maintenance, safety, but people are also concerned with economic issues in the city. The shaky financial position of the city … the loss of jobs, loss of retailers.

Q: What is your position on lowering taxes?

A: I’m not sure if it’s going to be realistic to lower taxes because the city is already facing financial issues. It does not know the impact of [Gov. Bruce] Rauner’s proposed budget. The city could potentially lose $2.1 million; taxes couldn’t be reduced in that climate. From the tax bill the city only gets 8 percent. Even if the city is able to impact something, lower something, it’s relatively small. The greatest percentage of the tax dollars go toward the school district.

Q: If there are any budget cuts, how would they affect the schools, NIU, businesses, etc.?

A: The school district obviously has to look at their budget. Potentially, they would lose dollars and NIU would lose dollars. If NIU loses dollars, I would think that they also would lose students. They’ve already lost students — that impacts rentals in the city as well as retail in the city [and], therefore, sales tax dollars. So, there would be a huge ripple effect.

Q: What concerns would you focus on between NIU and the community and how do you think that can help better shape the community?

A: There is mistrust between some city residents and NIU, particularly in certain sections of ward 5. The section around [the] Elwood House, and it’s going to take time to get beyond that, the residents are going to need to see transparency on the board of NIU in terms of the development plan. The fiscal development plans are changing.

I think that the city and NIU need to work together because NIU is a huge entity here. I think that the fortunes rise and fall together. I would certainly like to work towards encouraging cooperation on activities and projects as well as entrepreneur ventures.

I think that having more activities that the community can feel apart of, I think the downtown business be more welcoming toward students. There’s going to be an art day the beginning of May, Artigras, it’s a wonderful effort to showcase NIU students works, there’s going to be music, theater performances.