Dold Hosts Summit for 10th District Mayors
Municipal leaders met with Congressman Monday.
When Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) invited mayors and village presidents to his 10th District Mayors’ Summit, the idea was to discuss job creation and economic development.
At the event Monday, the conversation stayed focused primarily on the weather.
Municipal leaders from Highland Park, Winnetka, Northfield, Buffalo Grove, Riverwoods and other communities were more concerned with the damage from last Tuesday’s storm that left nearly half a million people without power at its apex.
“We talked about our common experiences and how we can work together,” Winnetka Village President Jessica Tucker said.
Dold anticipated the mayors’ needs and added a special presentation to the agenda from Lake County Emergency Coordinator Kent McKenzie. The leaders learned from an expert and each other as they recounted how their communities experienced extensive damage.
McKenzie discussed emergency management, including safety instructions for communities to follow. He recommended that families keep emergency kits at home in case a situation like last Tuesday's storm occurs again.
“It was a great opportunity to hear from our colleagues,” Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said. “We can coordinate with each other to make sure we’re all on the same page. We can have some dry runs.”
Most of the municipal leaders that attended were pleased with Dold’s effort to add the storm preparedness component to the agenda.
“We have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” Rotering said.
Providing local jobs
Economic development to stimulate the economy and provide local jobs was still a major topic with plenty of discussion. Providing incentives for entrepreneurs to open businesses in 10th District communities was high on the list.
“We need assistance with incentives. That’s where the federal government can help,” Buffalo Grove Mayor Jeff Braiman said. “We need help from the federal government getting people loans. For the little guy, this is different.”
Braiman asked for loans to people ready to open businesses in the area from the Small Business Administration (SBA). Dold thinks this is one answer among others.
“[The SBA] has been one program that has been going well,” Dold said. “Nearly all the stimulus money for the SBA went very fast. It was not enough.”
Dold, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, went further with ways the federal government cal help small businesses obtain financing. He wants more control in the hands of community bankers.
“Community bankers know the people best. Let them make the decisions on who can pay back a loan,” Dold said.
He would also like to lift restrictions that would increase capital requirements on performing loans to allow individual bankers to make decisions about customers.
Payroll tax relief
Rotering was quick to agree with Dold’s assessment of community bankers. She praised a number of local bank officers for their efforts to work with the community. “They understand the fabric of our community,” she said.
Another incentive Dold mentioned was giving payroll tax relief to employers starting a new business. He would reduce the employer contribution for a given period of time to ease the start-up cost.
“There’s no loss (of revenue). If the person is not going to be hired, there is no job,” Dold said. “We also have to be mindful of the healthcare laws so employers know all costs associated with hiring.”
Rotering mentioned that Highland Park has given temporary sales tax relief to new businesses opening their doors.
Northfield Village President Fred Gougler is another civic leader who wants to see increased incentives for business.
“Federal incentives are important,” he said. “We want more help from the SBA.”
Tucker was there to learn how the federal government can help municipalities improve economic development to stimulate employment.
“We were here to share municipal initiatives,” Tucker said. “We wanted to hear about job creation and how to contain costs.”