Full Name: Josh Huseman
What office are you seeking? City Council, City of Sycamore (Ward 1)
What is your political party? Independent
What is your current age? 41
Occupation and Employer: Vice President, FNBO
What offices, if any, have you previously held? I am currently serving in my first term as Alderperson of Ward 1 for the City of Sycamore
Campaign Website: https://www.facebook.com/husemanforsycamore
Education: B.S., Northern Illinois University
Community involvement: I have served or previously served in the following organizations:
- Board Member, DeKalb County Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Trustee, Christ Community Church
- Economic Advisory Council, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood
- Board Member, Illinois Bankers Association
- Volunteer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County
Marital status/Immediate family: Married for 17 years, with three children – all attending various schools in Sycamore
Why are you running for office?
I believe that outside our family, loving our neighbor is the next best opportunity to make a difference. This is what motivates me to serve in local government. Further, Sycamore is a place where my dreams have come true, and where our family is rooted for the future. I am simply trying to invest in sustaining Sycamore’s future success by serving in this role.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I have already demonstrated credibility for the office in my first term, including two years of leading through a difficult pandemic. With 16 years in the finance and banking industry, I am well qualified to understand and manage the budgeting process, long-term capital planning, and overseeing our City Manager. “How” I am qualified is that I am an engaged neighbor who is connected throughout Sycamore, I am proactive in seeking input on important items, and I have built credibility as a strategic thinker on the City Council.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
This is a constitutional amendment issue that does not effect the issues that come to the Sycamore City Council.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
The Sycamore Police Department produces an annual report, which can be found on the City of Sycamore’s website. I am not familiar with any specific crime issues in Ward 1.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
The pandemic was a confusing and difficult time for everyone. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt to those who were making decisions in the midst of uncertainty and stress. I am proud of how the City supported our local businesses with restaurant and bar tax relief, as well as providing free safety shields to any Sycamore business in the depths of the pandemic. I am also thankful of the first responders, and the tireless effort they contributed throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
We are relational beings and have shared humanity together. One difficult element of the pandemic was the inability to spend time with friends and family, and I learned not to take this time for granted.
How would you spur economic development in your community?
I have two specific topics I would like the council to consider.
- Land Use: Our comprehensive plan calls for redevelopment in some of our older parts of the City, and I would like to see us be proactive in these areas. We have recently established a TIF district near Route 23 and Page Street, which is a great area to be considering. I also would like to see us redevelop some of the excess parking spaces that are no longer needed, as well as consider long-term planning for the Bill Johnson Boulevard.
- Business Owner Resources: I would like to see us create a downtown relocation (or new business) incentive package to encourage more businesses to locate downtown. We have a few vacant properties and a facade grant improvement program, but I would like to expand that to include other incentives such as sales-tax rebates and other elements that would make downtown more vibrant. I also have a concept of a business owner transition curriculum to aid our business owners who are nearing retirement age. National studies show this is a risk for communities like ours, and I would like to retain the diversity of businesses we have in Sycamore, and we need to help them incorporate sustainable practices that will be attractive to future buyers.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
The best thing we can do is have diversity in our tax revenues. The City is primarily funded on sales tax revenue and tax-sharing with the State of Illinois. We are also supported by property taxes and use fees. It is important that we don’t have a reliance in any specific categories, and instead retain stability in our funding sources. This means we need commercial and industrial development with small and mid-sized businesses, diversity in housing starts, and that we treat our sales-tax generators well. These are all things that keep taxes as appropriate levels.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
The State of Illinois has already approved this, and the City already receives an allocation from the state on a pro-rata basis. Should a dispensary choose to locate in Sycamore, I would listen to residents and follow the procedures already in place for the special-use permit required.
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
It is important that we execute on the 2019 water master plan, and continue to update our water infrastructure. We also need to follow our roadway improvement planning and address the low rated streets in the City. Lastly, I think we also need to look at redevelopment projects, which I outlined previously.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Yes, of course
What is your position on open, transparent government?
Darkness can’t coexist with light, and I can’t imagine government any other way.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Would you sign a nondisclosure agreement with a prospective company that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?
Yes, provided that the legal justification has been met. This is why the Illinois Open Meetings act has many specific and predetermined reasons that a Council may meet and discuss private confidential matters. In most circumstances, this information is soon thereafter able to become public.