March 28, 2011 1:00PM
Ramona Thomas, candidate Hazel Crest board. | Supplied photo
Office sought: Village Trustee of Hazel Crest
Name: Ramona Thomas
Address:3613 Briar Lane Hazel Crest, IL 60429
Date of Birth: February 9, 1969
Web site: N/A
Twitter handle: N/A
Thornridge High School, studied Mathematics & Communication at DePaul University.
Occupation, employer: Finance Manager for AT&T
Children, age of children, children’s employer (if applicable): Brittany, 21, attends Alabama A&M University; Maya 15, attends Homewood Flossmoor High School
Please list any relatives, including in-laws, who are employed by a government agency at the federal, state or local levels? What are their job titles and with what agency are they emplyed? N/A
What other elected offices have you sought? What year? None
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime? If so, for what? What was the disposition? No
Do you have any criminal convictions on your record? If so, for what? What was your sentence? No
Political (elected or significant appointment) experience: Strategic Coordinator in the office of the State Representative of the 32nd District, 2009-2011
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
Property taxes and budget crisis.
I would address the budget crisis by insisting that state legislators pass a balanced budget utilizing a line by line analysis rather than a lump sum appropriation. This path will eliminate waste, while at the same time, insure that vital programs for seniors, youth, and disabled remain viable. With respect to property tax relief, the assessment process by the assessor must be streamlined. The fact that property values has plummeted is not reflected in the assessments. In addition, the formula utilized to determine the equalization factor/rate is severely flawed. These are just two examples of challenges we face and how I will address them as a Trustee.
Please explain something significant you would like to accomplish within the next two years if you are elected to the office to which you aspire.
Springfield is currently pondering consolidation of school districts. Clearly, this is significant to the south suburban population. The bulk of our property taxes funds our school systems. As a result, any consolidation measure would or should have significant impact on our tax bill. In the next two years, I would like to ensure that the consolidation measure does not come to fruition. In the event there is a consolidation of school districts encompassing Hazel Crest - I will insure that the next assessment reflects the combining of resources which translates into lower tax bills.
Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help in creating local jobs.
The creation of jobs is of paramount importance to me. However, the creation of jobs has become a buzz word to ignite support and votes rather than a true concept. I am interested in creating local jobs. A huge construction project on the interstate does not necessarily translate into local jobs. There is no question that such a project will, in fact, create jobs for union laborers, road builders, engineers, etc. However, there is slim likelihood that local people will be hired for these jobs. For this reason, I will introduce an Ordinance/Resolution requiring a certain percentage of jobs for municipal projects go to local residents. In other words, if a project is being paid for with municipal funds - the contractor will be required to hire a certain number of local residents to work on site. This is true local job creation.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
The way Illinois pays for education has strong points in the south suburbs. The same may not be true for those living in Chicago and within the purview of the CPS system. As noted earlier, our property taxes essentially fund our educational system. Our schools, while certainly not perfect, far exceed the performance of big city counterparts. The funds from the property taxes is certainly a benefit to keep our schools viable. However, I would also be amenable to pressuring the state to make higher appropriations for our schools to relieve some if not all of the burden.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
I would make a change to Hazel Crest’s budget. I would like to see a line item budget. Following this path cuts out wasteful spending practices. In addition, pension reform is clearly warranted.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
The public should be aware that the two party system in Hazel Crest leads to the same challenges we are experiencing nationally and locally. As an Independent candidate I have the ability to work on both sides of the aisle and get things done. I consider myself a problem solver rather than a problem maker.