Infrastructure, development among top Franklin Park issues
Barrett Pedersen, Franklin Park village president, says infrastructure and attracting commercial businesses are among the top issues facing Franklin Park. | Provided
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:37AM
FRANKLIN PARK — Barrett Pedersen, Franklin Park village president, recently discussed some of the issues facing the village.
Q: Can you briefly describe the top three issues Franklin Park faces?
A: Infrastructure would have to be in the top three. Road repair and water mains and storm water management.
One of the biggest challenges we have is bringing commercial business to the village without home rule. With all the communities around us having home rule sales tax, they are able to give incentives (to businesses) that the village is not.
Getting the manufacturing jobs that are available and getting people to fill them. That’s one manufacturers bring up to me. Trying to get younger people excited about industrial jobs. You can have a four-year degree and make $35,000, $40,000 and $45,000 a year to start.
Q: Given the economy, how would you describe Franklin Park’s fiscal situation?
A: I think we’re doing well when you consider where (the economy) is at. I’m bullish on our future revenues considering so many industrial businesses are taking up vacant properties. Digital Realty Trust will pay more than $500,000 in utility taxes.
Q: How is the state’s pension crisis affecting Franklin Park?
A: Police and fire pension funds are on track to be fully funded. In 2016, they’re to be funded at a certain percentage (by state law). There’s a discussion on whether the state formula will be adequate or whether there should be some tweaking at the local level.
Q: What is Franklin Park doing to promote economic development?
A: Business retention meetings. We offer businesses that have locations outside an opportunity to consolidate. We spend a lot of time upfront. We talk to brokers, attend meetings of the International Shopping Center Association, talk to the Illinois Alliance of Manufacturers.
Q: Do you think the government of Franklin Park is doing a good job of conducting its business transparently?
A: I think we’re doing an excellent job. Village trustees get a package on the Friday before Monday meetings. Now we take that entire package and post it on the Internet. We’ve redesigned the agenda format so we have much more specific description of what will be voted on. Freedom of Information Act requests are posted on our website.