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John Prigge: City Council Candidate

25 February 2013 Elgin Illinois 20 Comments

John Prigge John Prigge (Photo by The Elginite).

The questionnaire below was completed by city council candidate John Prigge. Mr. Prigge will be a candidate in the city council election on April 9th.

Name:

John Prigge

Seat for which you are running:

4 year city council

Can you tell us a bit about your background, both personally and professionally?

My family’s roots in Elgin were established about 95 years ago primarily on the northeast end of town. I am a graduate of Elgin High School’s Class of 1976 and am a single father to my 15-year old daughter.

I am currently in my 23rd year as an auctioneer and in my 11th year as the public address announcer for Elgin Community College’s basketball and volleyball teams. Prior to that I held customer service positions with AT&T for 17 years.

Why are you running for Elgin City Council?

To continue serving Elgin with independent and common sense leadership while offering practical solutions to challenges our citizens face.

What do you view as the major issues facing Elgin in the next few years?

Stopping our spending and funding addictions for wants and begin showing true fiscal responsibility and empathy with our taxpayers on true needs. Also, to continue to provide high levels of core services efficiently and economically.

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.

My voting record in just the past two years on fiscal and fairness issues, indicates I have disagreed with the majority of council decisions. Examples of this are the last two budgets, our on-going $900,000 funding of rehab costs for the ERC, our attempts to find different ways for our taxpayers to pay more for the same things via different methods and paying cash incentives to businesses to come or relocate within Elgin and not hire Elgin citizens. The decision to make all councilmembers liquor commissioners was a smart decision.

If elected, what do you expect to accomplish during your time on the council?

I am committed to finding and implementing more solutions and services for our citizens at minimal or no cost. With myself and four new councilmembers I hope to remove the refuse fee from our water bills, pursue rescinding the natural gas and electric taxes and cease the Elgin Rain Tax scheduled for 2014. I also hope to explore true revenue diversification for city coffers by finding people other than the already over-taxed Elgin citizens to increase city revenues.

From a crowded field of candidates, why should voters choose you to represent them on the city council?

Because I have established myself, via my pro-taxpayer voting record and my four-year resume of accomplishments, as a responsive and proactive councilmember. My dedication of 30 hours a week to this position sets me apart at a time when citizens need their elected officials to not only be accessible, but to be willing to get their hands dirty. I have been fortunate enough to have perfect attendance at all council, budget and retreat meetings since 2009. I live here. And by doing so, I can see the effects of my service to our citizens first-hand.

What’s the best way for voters to find out more about your campaign?

I am the most active councilmember on Facebook at “John Prigge Elgin IL City Councilman”

As promised in 2009, I am the only councilmember who has a website dedicated exclusively to my councilman duties at www.JohnPrigge.com

My email address is JPrigge@sbcglobal.net

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20 Responses to “John Prigge: City Council Candidate”

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  1. I am told you are AGAINST the so called Rain Tax. Good, I am also against the storm water runoff assessment. Thank you. Business license tax is also a poor idea which they rammed down our throat with little warning .

    • paul says:

      ” Business license tax is also a poor idea which they rammed down our throat with little warning .”

      It passed 7-0 in 2012 after many months of Elgin OCTAVE protest including packing council meetings. If anyone tells you you they snuck that one in they are lying to you.
      Prigge obviously voted for it given it was unanimous.
      The business tax raises relatively a small amount of money relative to the huge tax increase they foisted upon the Elgin taxpayers in 2011 while Elgin Octave was consuming all its energies with the piddly business tax.

      • Wrong, the Bus. Lic. Tax was voted twice apparently. First time was in 2010 I think, but I was not there. Don Quixote would know or Prigge. thanks Ed I have canceled checks and should look them up also.

      • Chuck Keysor says:

        Paul, I don’t want to degenerate here. But a discussion of the Elgin Business License is of relevance in order for any concerned readers to understand the nature of the “Rain Tax” and why Eduard’s EBL comment is of significance. And I need to offer some fact-based information to counter your un-informed assertions.

        1) The business license was not introduced in January 2012 as your post said. It was reaffirmed in January of 2012 by a council that decided it was not going to be intimidated. It wasn’t about money, because as you noted, the money was not large relative to the affairs of City Hall. First,here is a brief but fact based time line of the Elgin Business License:

        In November 2009, the Chamber sent a letter to its members announcing the proposed business license, and stated that the annual fee would be $35 for the average member (area under 2,500 square feet).

        In December 2009, an article about the proposed Elgin Business License was published in the Chamber’s December 2009 newsletter.

        On December 16th, 2009, the Elgin Business License was passed unanimously by the Elgin City Council on the consent agenda. (Sound familiar, pass the new tax in the year of an election, AFTER the election????? Just like the Rain Tax, if not derailed, it will be voted on in December of 2013, with enough time for people to forget before the 2015 elections.)

        In March, 2010, the City Council approved the Purchase of Service agreements with the Chamber and the DNA. The “deliverables” section of the Chamber’s PSA had been completely deleted by the Chamber, yet the Council approved it anyway

        In May, 2010, the City sent notices to all businesses asking them to register by mid June 2010.

        October 2010, all businesses were required to have a business license, and to pay for the entire year of 2010.

        End of the factual time line.

        2) You said it is a lie that the EBL was snuck in. Again, you seem to be basing this upon your incomplete timeline. It was in fact “snuck in” based upon my extensive interviews of Elgin business owners, which included an email survey sent to close to 2000 Elgin Business License holders. Something like 1/4 responded, a very high response rate. But for almost all businesses, their first awareness was when they got their notice in May of 2010 that there was this new law, and they must comply. The matter got little press coverage, because no one questioned or protested it.

        I personally read the papers very carefully, and at that time, I read them very carefully because they were free and for my role as NWNA president, I had to track what was going on. However, in that time period, I only went to about 1 out of 3 council sessions. I had never heard of the EBL, until a woman named Marcie Wojak complained about it at a council session in December 2010. She protested this as being an invasion of her privacy.

        It is clear we have different standards, as the magnitude of the money taken by the EBL was not the problem. This was a philosophical matter, concerning the rights of individuals and companies versus the power of government. If that is of no concern to you, I don’t know why you sometimes seem to wave the conservative banner.

        It was because of this shared disapproval of this governmental abuse of individual liberties, for no real purpose, exept as a flimsy way to prop-up the failing Elgin Chamber of Commerce, that Craig Mason and I decided to start the Elgin OCTAVE. Were we criticized for trying to get rid of a tax after it was in place? Of course, but since we didn’t know about it until after it was in place, should we have sat by and done nothing? No, we investigated, networked, got to know people, and then use what we had learned to help fight the Elgin municipal fire alarm monitoring monopoly (which was a TERRIBLE idea of RICH DUNNE’S).

        IF we would have had an open minded council, open to the clear expression of Elgin’s business community against the EBL, the EBL could have been repealed. But as noted, it was not about money, it was a contest of wills, with the council even being mad at our name, saying that was insulting and inflamatory. So they were going to have the last word.

        OK, so on to today, the rain tax has been just like the Route 20 conversion proposal, the fire alarm monitoring monopoly and the Elgin Business License, in that virtually no one knew about these issues. Were they in the papers or discussed at council? Well yes,,,, but the reality is that information does not work out into the broader community. So it seems that it is up to a few people to seize upon issues that they feel the public MUST know about, and let them know that there are negative consequences if they choose to do nothing.

        Even the simple Save the Route 20 campaign, though panned by the Courier as a failure, was cited on Dave Kaptain’s election night victory as quite possibly having been the factor that put him over the top. So issues raised and stirred up prior to an election can be very important. That is why it is of importance now to make people aware of the “rain tax” and try to get as many council people as possible who think this is a bad idea. And the reality is, even if we get three candidates on the council who are opposed to the Rain Tax, there is still a fight ahead, since if Gilliam, Dunne, Esterino, Dave Knight, Tom Armstrong, Carol Rauschenberger get on along with Steffen, Moeller and Powell, it will be a long shot. But at least we can fight, and inflict wounds that will need to be kept fresh until the 2015 elections……..

        Chuck

        • paul says:

          I didn’t say it was introduced in January 2012. I said: ‘It passed 7-0 in 2012 after many months of Elgin OCTAVE protest including packing council meetings’. FACT.

          “This was a philosophical matter, concerning the rights of individuals and companies versus the power of government.If that is of no concern to you, I don’t know why you sometimes seem to wave the conservative banner.”

          Hilarious if you actually believe the government has no right to tax. Because unlike you I recognize the right of the government to impose beer taxes, rain taxes, garbage taxes, dog license taxes and business license taxes. And a busines license tax sure as hell ain’t an invasion of privacy despite your allusion and delusions to the contrary.

          “IF we would have had an open minded council, open to the clear expression of Elgin’s business community against the EBL, the EBL could have been repealed.But as noted, it was not about money, it was a contest of wills, with the council even being mad at our name, saying that was insulting and inflamatory. So they were going to have the last word.”

          Yeah, a grand conspiracy by the 7 council members to pass the EBL 7-0 just to spite Elgin Octave! Hilarious.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Thank you for the angry reply I anticipated. Your first post on this, that came across as straight forward worried me as those not away may think some of what you said was true, even though it was wrong. For most people, I believe your vitriol does more to damage your credibility more than anything I could say.

            I think Mitch Esterino may have taken a page out of your play book when he suggested I didn’t believe men landed on the moon just as you said that I think the government has no right to tax.

            Thanks, Chuck

          • paul says:

            And yet another Keysor lie: “you said that I think the government has no right to tax.”

            No, I said: ‘Hilarious if you actually believe the government has no right to tax. Because unlike you I recognize the right of the government to impose beer taxes, rain taxes, garbage taxes, dog license taxes and business license taxes. And a busines license tax sure as hell ain’t an invasion of privacy despite your allusion and delusions to the contrary.’

            But speaking of damaging your credibility, how about your above claim of the city council passing the EBL in 2012 for the purpose of spiting Chuck Keysor aka Elgin Octave.
            Seriously, thank you for that laugh.

            Curious: why do you have a huge Prigge sign in your yard when Prigge voted yes on the EBL just to spite YOU.

          • Chuck Keysor says:

            Paul: I am happy to display my sign for John Prigge and to support him for re-election because I have to evaluate each candidate on the whole. Because I disagree with John on one issue does not mean I am going to reject him.

            Because John is civil and willing to communicate, I maintained a full dialog with him even through the worst of the Elgin Business License debate. His ability and willingness to communicate with people that disagree with him sets him apart from the rest of the council.

            As an important note of comparison, Rich Dunne only called me one time during the Elgin Business License episode. He called me to tell me that he had changed his mind and would vote AGAINST keeping the Business License in the 1/25/12 council meeting. However when the vote was cast just a few days after he called me, Dunne voted to KEEP the business license.

            I would rather have someone like John Prigge who at least sticks to his position, even if I don’t agree with it, instead of how Rich Dunne flipped on me. And as I noted in my opening, I will not reject someone for a single issue. Rich’s flip on the business license is one of MANY reasons I do not have any Rich Dunne signs in my yard and why I do NOT support Rich Dunne for re-election.

            Or to end on a positive note, I am happy to actively support John Prigge, Terry Gavin and Toby Shaw for City Council!

            Chuck

    • paul says:

      Interesting. Not a single word in Prigge’s thread about the Courier News article completely trashing Prigge.

      >>Mayor: Councilman ‘clueless’ on nonprofits’ woes
      By Mike Danahey mdanahey@stmedianetwork.com March 21, 2013 12:36PM

      Mayor David Kaptain says Councilman John Prigge is “clueless” about the plight of charitable organizations in town.<<

  2. Well said Chuck. You should run for mayor as I have said many times. You forgot to mention the Downtown Neighborhood Association did not have to pay for the License until 2013 if I remember correctly. They installed new streets and brickwork. I would like to see that happen at the corner of Wing and Weston and McLean .Someone has more clout than I for sure. It is hard to get a decrepit manhole repaired with out several phone calls and a photograph sent to City Hall.

  3. Paul, If you have a last name be sure to let us know so that we do NOT vote for you. Thanks Ed Kalsbeek

    • paul says:

      Ed, I don’t ride my bicycle enough to warrant your support.

      Chuck isn’t running for mayor because windmills don’t vote.

  4. Paul, you are twisted. The council spited lots of business people with The EBL. You obviously were NOT at the meeting packed with people opposed to the Business License TAX at the council meeting. Or perhaps you were Blindfolded ??

    • paul says:

      “Paul, you are twisted.”

      Gee, Ed. I didn’t call you any derogatory names. You don’t say what I’m twisted about! Did not the council vote 7-0 to pass the EBL? Why, yes they did! DID not Chuck claim the EBL would/could have been repealed but the council voted 7-0 otherwise JUST to spite Elgin Octave? I think Chuck did say that: “it was not about money, it was a contest of wills, with the council even being mad at our name, saying that was insulting and inflamatory. So they were going to have the last word.”

      Someone is certainly twisted here, Ed.

  5. Common Sense Clarence Hayward says:

    I feel very confident that Councilman John Prigge will continue to be an advocate for the average over taxed tax payer if elected to this council.

    Please consider voting for Councilman John Prigge, Terry Gavin, and Cody Holt for the four year positions and Toby Shaw for the two year position.

    Together I feel they will all be advocates for the average, overburdened tax payers of Elgin.

    Thank you

  6. Herb Weyers says:

    John: As you know, I’ve already voted for you. Why? Because I like your ’style’ of being well-informed, then expressing yourself in a meaningful manner. That said, there is one area where I wasn’t happy with a decision you made and that was with the purchase of a new ’stock type’ aerial ladder for Elgin’s Fire Department. Most recent aerial ladder purchases in Elgin have been of the 100′ length or greater but this new unit only has a 75′ main ladder on it. I ask you, WHY? It will surely look good in the 4th of July parade but allow me to say it won’t reach many structures within our city; my home as well as my neighbors here in Century Oaks to be blunt about it. Structures with a street setback of 70′ or greater and you can count on the main ladder of the vehicle being useless on streets such as Forest, Oakdale, Parkview, as well as numerous homes west of Randall. Allow me to go on record to state that if I learn of a fire in any of the areas where this truck is housed, I will be the first to suggest to the homeowner that they find a good lawyer. This really has little to do with you or your colleagues on the city council but is, in reality, a fire department and city manager issue.
    For those reasons you will continue to have my support.

    • Herb Weyers says:

      As a ‘post-script’ to my comments of a few hours ago, allow me to add the following: Within days, the city’s new fire truck will arrive in town. I’d dearly love to see its acceptance test performed with the truck set up on Riverside Drive at the rear of the high-rise building there; you know, the building where one of our esteemed city officials resides occasionally. I would welcome the press in this town to be there as well and then ask, ‘Where’s the savings when a vehicle can’t perform as expected and intended?’ The choice of the manufacturer was an excellent one. The vehicle purchased would work out well back in an old coal-mining town in PA where structures are built close to the street but in a city the size of Elgin, let me suggest the city council as well as the citizenry have been schnookered by politics-as-usual emanating from city hall.

  7. Herb Weyers says:

    John: Congratulations! Hopefully you will now feel a little less like the ‘Lone Ranger’. Be assured your victory has a lot to do with your ’style’ while representing us; being well-informed, expressing yourself in a respectful, meaningful way, then calling it a day. I don’t always agree with your decisions but be assured I always respect you for representing all of Elgin. I look forward to helping you finish the job in two years.