2015 3rd ward alderman candidate: Michael Marquardt

By Andre Phillips

Involvement: Leader of the junior high youth group at First United Methodist Church

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

A: The loss of businesses that used to be in our ward.

A lot of the manufacturing facilities are gone and ward 3 goes up Sycamore Road and losing the retail business going up that way we need to work to retain and attract new ones.

Q: What is your position on lowering taxes?

A: Lowering taxes. Everybody wants lower taxes. I want to lower or freeze taxes as much as possible. There are cases where we just might not be able to necessarily, mainly because it’s a budget issue going forward. The city of DeKalb is to start with, but it’s also going to be affected by the state of Illinois’ budget, because they’re talking about cutting the amount of money that comes back from income taxes.

[Gov. Bruce] Rauner says he’s going to try and increase the funding; he might be doing that for high schools and regular school districts, but there’s also a cutback on colleges. That affects Northern quite a bit, and also there are less students coming here recently; that cuts down on that and gets less state money.

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

A: City budget cuts may affect some of the services that are offered and one of the main things is the streets. The city may not be able to repair and replace streets as fast.

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: NIU and the community. We need to work together, not only the administration, but the students, as well. There is a fair amount of money that is spent in the city by NIU students that we want to keep.

I would like to see more of a unified vision for what the city should be. We need to have a long-term goal for what expansion we want and where we want some of the streets and roads to go, the vision for retaining and attracting current businesses that we have.

If we don’t attract and retain any businesses, we’re going to fall further behind and businesses are going to go to other cities.

DeKalb is a real melting pot. When I first came to DeKalb, it was 10 to 12 percent of the residents were poverty level and now it’s 30 percent. And yet, DeKalb also has the highest in the county for higher-educated people with degrees.

We need to figure out how we’re going to provide services for everybody and also provide opportunities for those on the lower income at the same time as retaining our citizens.