Lisle mayor candidates differ on development, transparency
by Bob Sanchez, Daily Herald
Chris Pecak says he's trying to unseat longtime Lisle Mayor Joseph Broda in the April 4 election because "it's time for change." But Broda says his re-election to a fifth term would provide continuity during "a critical period" for the village. "I am the candidate who will make sure Lisle's progress and momentum will continue on the right path in the future," Broda said. Pecak insists Broda and members of the village board have lost focus on several key issues, including redevelopment along the Ogden Avenue corridor. "I believe it's time for a property tax freeze, a truly balanced budget, and open, transparent and inclusive leadership," Pecak said. He said he and other members of his Prosperity for Lisle slate are "prepared to usher in change." When it comes to zoning and development, Pecak said the village has a reputation for being difficult to work with. If elected, he said he would work to change that. "We need to send a new signal to the business community letting them know we're ready for redevelopment," said Pecak, a construction project manager. He estimates there are dozens of acres along Ogden in need of redevelopment. "We need to actively pursue that -- bring in commercial development and raise our sales tax base," Pecak said. Broda said sales tax revenue is growing in Lisle and the best way to continue that trend is to attract new businesses. Still, Broda acknowledges it's long been a challenge for the village to spur redevelopment in downtown and along the Ogden corridor. The village, for example, has a plan for what it would like to see along Ogden, but some of the properties are difficult to redevelop because they are shallow. Broda said there are two specific sites along Ogden "that are prime for redevelopment," including the former Lockformer plant at 711 Ogden Ave. However, he said, both properties are "a little overpriced" right now. "We have a lot of opportunity in the village of Lisle," Broda said. "Hopefully, we can see some movement in the very near future." On the issue of transparency, Pecak is blaming Broda for the village's failure to fully comply with a binding opinion from the Illinois Attorney General's office. The opinion directed the village to release the "verbatim recording" of a closed-door discussion about refinancing debt from the construction of the Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex. But the village only released eight minutes of the discussion and it's now been told by the attorney general to release the full recording. "An open and transparent government has nothing to hide, yet Mayor Broda has repeatedly tried to hide the contents of his illegal meeting," Pecak said. Broda insists the village has been open and puts a variety of information for the public on its website. "We are very transparent in what we try to do," he said. Despite their differences, both agree when it comes to Lisle's ban on video gambling machines. Broda said the ban, which has been in place since 2009, won't be lifted "unless the residents and the businesses of this community want that." Pecak said he personally opposes video gambling. "I think it takes money out of the pockets of the most vulnerable in our community," he said. "It doesn't generate any tourism and I don't see any benefits to it."