March 28, 2011 1:22PM
Oak Lawn Village Board member Robert Streit
Office sought: Oak Lawn trustee of District 3
Name: Robert J. Streit
Address: 9610 W. Shore Drive, Oak Lawn
Date of birth: August 28, 1955
Home: (708) 422-3600
Work: (708) 422-3600
Education: Bachelor of Science in Management, University of Illinois
Occupation, employer: Owner of Sealtite Roofing and Collectors Outlet in Oak Lawn
Please list all sources of income: Sealtite Roofing, village of Oak Lawn
Spouse, spouse’s employer: Southwest Airlines
Children, age of children, children’s employer (if applicable): Alexis 18, Christopher 10,
Robert 9, all students
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 employed? None
What other elected offices have you sought? What year? Village president 1993
Have you ever been arrested or charged with a crime? No.
Do you have any criminal convictions on your record? No.
Political (elected or significant appointment) experience:
Oak Lawn trustee, District 3 (1991 to Present)
State of Illinois Roofing Advisory Board (1998-2010)
In your view, what are the two most important issues facing your constituents? How would you address those issues?
We must continue to find ways to provide government services at a cost the taxpayers can afford. This village board has passed six consecutive balanced budgets without an increase in the tax levy. While other governmental units have taken more money from taxpayers, Oak Lawn has refused to increase the tax levy.
Secondly, as chairman of the public works committee, I have pushed hard to rebuild our infrastructure, including repaving roads, replacing water mains and paving alleys. This year, we will spend over $12 million on infrastructure improvements alone. The public works department has developed an aggressive plan moving throughout the village to provide these long overdue improvements to our infrastructure.
Please explain something significant you would like to accomplish within the next two years if you are elected:
One of the most important projects we are working on is the rehabilitation of our water distribution system that serves not only Oak Lawn, but eleven other communities. I led a group to Springfield to meet with state leaders to secure $40 million dollars to fund this improvement. When the project is complete, it will guarantee a dependable source of clean drinking water for at least the next forty years for Oak Lawn and our customers. I intend to spearhead the completion of this project.
Please explain how you believe the office you’re seeking can help in creating local jobs.
The repaving of the streets, paving alleys and making other public works improvements creates jobs in our town. Additionally, economic development creates both jobs at the retail level but also in the construction trades as buildings are designed and constructed.
Do you believe the current way Illinois pays for education is working? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you change?
The village does not fund education and village officials do not have any authority over the funding or the operation of the school system. I believe in local control of the schools. The current system provides a reliable tax base for our local schools where alternatives rely upon the payments from the state. As we’ve seen in recent years, the state has been unreliable in its distribution of money it owes to local governments and to vendors.
Would you make any changes to the budget of the governing unit to which you are seeking elected office? If so, what?
The current board of trustees started the budget process with a $2 million deficit. By the end of the process, the board had balanced the budget without raising the property tax levy. Recently, I successfully proposed a program known as the Municipal Adjudication Program which will bring traffic and misdemeanor offenses for adjudication here in the village as opposed to the Bridgeview courthouse, bringing more revenue into the village and making court more convenient for our residents. I am always in favor of finding ways to fund our programs without raising taxes on our residents.
Are there any other issues you want to bring to the public’s attention? If so, what?
I was raised in the village of Oak Lawn. My parents remain in the home I grew up in and I’m raising my family in our community. I have been proud to serve the Third District for 20 years as I have worked with the third district residents to maintain zoning integrity. In recent years, we’ve had spirited debates at the board table because we have faced many difficult issues. I am proud that I have fought for the people of Oak Lawn to make sure that we had six consecutive years without a tax levy increase. While some individuals suggested raising taxes others, including myself, debated vigorously against the idea.
We also have been dealing with a legal investigation that demonstrated overbilling and bad judgments that may have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Again, we’ve had spirited debate about that issue because a couple of elected officials chose to protect the old law firms rather than the taxpayers. By replacing our former attorneys and changing to a set fee arrangement we have already saved the village over a million dollars.
Recently, we experienced a fraudulent referendum to change the form of government. The petition was full of forgeries and I successfully fought against this fraudulent attempt to change our village’s form of government. At the same time, my opponent was removed from the ballot because of findings of a “pattern of fraud” on his petitions. The volume of fraud, perjury and forgery in this year’s election cycle was unprecedented and is being investigated by the Cook County state’s attorney.