"Whenever I hear of rising violence and a rising death toll in the City of Aurora, I take a deep and concerning breath, and recall a time when Aurora mourned close to 30 murders in a single year. Fortunately, those days are gone, and we can never allow them to ever return."
We must have problem-oriented policing. The plan to address the issue includes:
- Reinforcement and expansion of community-based policing. We must have more officers to walk a beat again and address quality of life issues such as keeping properties repaired.
- Increase the number of community groups. The Mayor’s office will be actively involved in forming and sustaining our community groups. We will be encouraging aldermen to increase their involvement in their wards doing the same thing.
- Re-create the Community Based Prosecutor unit working directly with police and community groups to address the quality of life issues at the grass-roots level.
- We must prosecute as many crimes as we possibly can locally in Aurora branch court, including drunken driving cases.
- We must make local, state and federal partnerships for proactive policing and I will involve the Mayor’s office with consistent meetings. Repeat criminals in Aurora is unacceptable.
- It is important to catch kids at a young age by helping them recognize what the law is. We must reinstate and expand the peer jury system and other youth crime diversion programs.
Moreover, it is important to prioritize getting police back to their full staff positions. This is an area where we can’t afford to cut costs.
"Our schools are being dragged down by the fiscal mismanagement of Springfield. Without a strong and vibrant school system, Aurora’s future will not be as great as we want it to be.
- Work with school administrators to lobby Springfield for equitable school funding so that homeowners are not over taxed to finance schools.
- Work with the school districts, public servants, business owners, and parents to create an Education Commission that will find ways to lower costs to help relieve stress on budgets and helping pool resources to more effectively provide additional savings that can be used to help children in all school districts.
- As part of the Education Commission, a collaborative grant writing initiative will allow the school districts to secure funding to improve buildings, educational instruction programs, afterschool programming and job training.
- We must work with neighborhood organizations to increase alternative career options such as credentialing and badging for non-college attending youth to receive advanced training and education (non-degree based) that is accepted by employers.
- We will work with the school districts to enhance and increase work-study programs that provide employment opportunities to students while allowing them to get their education.
BUSINESS / ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
"We must not rest on our past successes. The economy is coming back, and we must lead again to excel and grow our local economy."
- First, we build success through Business Retention and Expansion – in essence we take care of the businesses we have right here in the city. Now, if we don’t work to keep those businesses here, we will just have a zero-sum game…we lose a company at the same time as we attract one–a wash. That’s not building on success. Moreover, we will look inward FIRST before working to bring anyone from the outside into Aurora. Again, existing businesses have skin in the game with investments etc. that should receive priority. We will encourage our area lending institutions to work more with existing businesses to make commercial projects happen. We want to make sure AURORA has an enhanced and vibrant economy. WE WON’T FORGET THE BUSINESSES THAT CALL AURORA HOME!
- The second element to this effort to build success is through Business Recruitment – The Mayor is critical in taking a role in attracting business to the city. I’ll add this: we have 12 aldermen and the mayor…13 in total. Thirteen heads are better than one. I will enlist the Aldermen to assist in taking an active role in attracting business in their wards and the city as a whole that complement the businesses currently in Aurora.
- We will work to enhance the city’s Development Services Team system to ensure that if a business is expanding or just making improvements it should be done on time and on budget. NO SURPRISES…Time is money and money is time. The longer it takes for a business to open that means that the business is not making money and people are not working…And the City is not receiving tax revenue.
- We need a City-Wide Business/Economic Development Master Plan. We have one for Downtown Aurora, but we don’t have one for the entire city. It’s time. It can guide us on the path to success and inform businesses and developers that we don’t just talk. Developers want to know that we have a plan that allows them to buy into our vision for a better Aurora.
- We must have a well-trained and educated Workforce. We can’t kid ourselves. If existing business can’t find qualified workers, what choice do they have? Our high schools must prepare those that may not go to college to be workforce ready. Those who are college bound must be educated toward the types of businesses Aurora is seeking to retain and attract. Aurora must partner with its educational institutions to ensure our young people will be prepared for opportunities in the future. We can’t have enough workforce development programs in this city. We will work with all our partners to ensure that a well-trained workforce is a staple in the City of Aurora. A city relies on the success of its school districts and educational facilities. Therefore, their success is our success.
- The Seize the Future Downtown Master Plan is not finished. We made great strides with the River EdgePark and the many new additions in our downtown. But more must be done. I will direct our Invest Aurora board to convene a subcommittee to re-focus on the Master Plan for downtown and lay out a 10-year plan to finish what was started by the business community in 2005.
"A 52-mile broadband fiber-optic network is in place. Aurora needs to regain its competitive technology edge to benefit its citizens and businesses. With an enhanced business community and the ability to attract additional companies, the end result will be more revenue to fund needed services and programs."
- Work with the City’s economic development arm, Invest Aurora, to launch an aggressive internal/external marketing/public relations plan to existing and potential new businesses on the benefits of our fiber-optic network.
- Increase efforts to encourage businesses located in Aurora’s business parks to connect to the fiber-optic network especially companies looking to expand their operations.
- Ensure that all educational institutions have the opportunity to connect to the fiber-optic network in order to provide students with top quality internet access.
- The City of Aurora must develop a plan to monetize its 52-mile broadband fiber-optic network to realize a return on its investment in order to fund needed services and programs throughout the city.