Toby Shaw: City Council Candidate
The questionnaire below was completed by city council candidate Toby Shaw. Mr. Shaw will be a candidate in the city council primary election on February 26th.
Seat for which you are running:
2 year city council
Can you tell us a bit about your background, both personally and professionally?
I graduated from Judson College in 1999 with a Bachelor’s degree in Computers Science. My education prepared me for a career of continued learning in the areas of technology, business, and leadership. I currently manage a team of nine Oracle database administrators with in the IT organization at US Cellular in Bensenville, IL.
I am married and have four children. We are active members in our local church, Vineyard Church of Elgin. I was born and raised on a family farm in Baraboo Wisconsin where I learned the importance of hard work, saving, investing, and living within your means.
Why are you running for Elgin City Council?
I am running to bring down to earth practical leadership to the city council. I believe city council needs more business experience and I am running to fill that gap. As I talk to residents I continually hear how concerned they are about their taxes and fees rising year after year. I am running to represent the taxpayer and fight on their behalf.
What do you view as the major issues facing Elgin in the next few years?
Unemployment: Elgin’s unemployment continues to lead that of our neighbors. With a five year average of over 11% we lead our neighbors. Our residents need jobs and thus the city needs to support its existing businesses to grow and entice new businesses to call Elgin home.
Storm Water/Sewer Separation: This issue is large, complex and expensive. We need an approach that balances the speed in which we address this issue with the impact to our overall budget. We need to prioritize our spending to ensure that we give this issue the funding it deserves.
Hemmens: In the next few years a decision will need to be made as to what to do with this facility. As it stands, it is currently a rental facility for the city but loses over 800K annually.
Technology Infrastructure: The city is currently falling behind in keeping up with the rapidly changing world of technology. As a city we need to embrace technology where it makes sense to server our residents more efficiently.
Are you generally in agreement with decisions the city council has made in the past few years? Please describe any measures with which you particularly agreed or disagreed.
Overall I am not in agreement with the decisions the city council has made over the last few years.
After serving on the Elgin Budget Task Force in 2011 I was keenly aware of the budget struggles that were facing us. As I followed the 2012 budget creation process I was dismayed to watch as additional fees and taxes were looked to as the solution while residents were fighting to make ends meet at home.
I am deeply concerned at how we continue to spend money while leaving other priorities unfunded. The issue of storm water run-off and sewer separation is one issue that could have been addressed years ago with all of the river boat proceeds. Now the council is looking to residents for more money rather than prioritizing the need to be met with the current revenue levels.
If elected, what do you expect to accomplish during your time on the council?
Taxation: I will vote against the rain tax and work to cut spending in other areas to fund necessary capital projects.
Accountability: Four of our largest facilities are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in operations. I am committed to identifying what the root causes of these losses are and work to reduce or eliminate them. To be clear, it is not my intention to close these facilities. It is my intention to reduce the burden to resident’s year in and year out.
Transparency: Our current taxation and fee structure make it challenging for residents to know how much they are paying to the city overall. I will work to make it possible for residents to gain this information either on their water bill or on-line.
From a crowded field of candidates, why should voters choose you to represent them on the city council?
Issues: My stance on taxation, priorities, and jobs is what residents are clamoring for. They believe in my message and they trust that I will follow through on what I have said.
Results: Changing Elgin requires effectively engaging your fellow council members. I am a candidate that will be able to work with others to get results.
What’s the best way for voters to find out more about your campaign?