Incumbent faces two challengers in village president race
Updated: March 1, 2013 6:54AM
FRANKLIN PARK — The three candidates for Franklin Park village president in the April 9 election range from a political novice to a former village trustee to the incumbent. Their priorities vary — infrastructure improvement, reducing spending, lowering property taxes — but all are long-time village residents.
A village trustee for six years, Juan Acevedo also served on the zoning board of appeals for eight years. For 17 years he’s owned and operated a law clerking service.
For Acevedo, the main issue in Franklin Park is property taxes, which he says are too high.
“People can’t afford to have any more taxes on them,” Acevedo said, adding that a proposed $15 million bond issue last year should have gone to referendum. “I think people should have a say in that kind of expenditure,” he said.
If elected, Acevedo said he would also work on bringing in new businesses, particularly manufacturing. At the same time, he’d be cautious about offering subsidies to business.
“I would make sure that the village is indeed getting something for the tax breaks,” Acevedo said.
He added that he would check with other taxing bodies to see what services can be shared. Acevedo is also a proponent of flood relief and beautification.
“I have experience with local governance,” Acevedo said. “I have the ability to work with people. I’ve been a business owner for 17 years. I know how to build relationships.”
Though he has not held public office before, Christopher Litwin did put his name in to serve on the board of education at Mannheim District 83 last year. He works security and sells insurance.
“Many people might say I’m not qualified because I’ve never held public office,” Litwin said. “I would hire the best people to work for the village. The village president position is supervisory.”
Among his qualifications Litwin lists 14 years as a village resident, ten years as an auxiliary officer for the Franklin Park police and customer service skills gained from his work.
For Litwin, spending by the village government is a major issue.
“We’re building a police station,” Litwin said. “The money could be better used for more police officers and better equipment.”
If elected, Litwin said he would work on bringing businesses to the village and improving service by the village government.
The incumbent village president, Barrett Pedersen, has held that post since 2009. He also served as a village trustee from 1989 to 1993 and served on the board of the Franklin Park library for six years and the cable TV commission for four years.
He is an attorney, though he confines his law practice to evenings and Saturdays while serving as village president.
Pedersen sees alleviation of flooding and infrastructure improvement as main issues in the race.
For flood relief, he anticipates projects taking place this year near the Crystal Creek and Silver Creek watersheds.
“There will be more than 200 homes that will be removed from having to buy flood insurance when we get the storm water projects completed,” Pedersen said. “We’re probably passing a debt certificate in April. It won’t be on the property tax bill.”
The village government is collecting information on the condition of streets, alleys, water and sewer infrastructure, which will be ready in February. A cost analysis will take place over the next couple months. In June or July the village government aims to consult with residents on how to fund infrastructure improvements.
Among major challenges facing Franklin Park, Pedersen lists absentee landlords of commercial property and getting ComEd to spend money to alleviate power outages in Franklin Park.
“There are some very exciting things going on in Franklin Park,” Pedersen said. “I want to be part of them.”