Full Name: Ellen McAlpine
What office are you seeking? Village of Cary Trustee
What is your political party? independent
What is your current age? 0
Occupation and Employer: Manager - Envoy Mortgage Ltd
What offices, if any, have you previously held? I am in my 8th year as a Trustee for the Village of Cary
Education: Harper College - Business
National Louis University - Business Management
Community involvement: 25+ year member of Cary Grove Chamber of Commerce and previous 8+ year Board Member, Directory of Miss Cary Grove Business Scholarship Pageant, Saints Peter and Paul EM and Lector, previous Athletic Director, Religious Education, Youth Mentor Leader, Little City Foundation volunteer, Riverside Foundation volunteer for special needs adult programs, as well as many other programs and charitable organizations.
Marital status/Immediate family: I am married To Christopher and we have 5 children and 5 grandchildren
Why are you running for office?
I am running for re-election as a Trustee to continue serving the residents of our wonderful community. I am excited for the numerous projects that we have slated to be completed both this year and into the future. I feel honored to represent our residents, business and village and want to continue on a path to improve our village and the lives of all living here.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I believe that I possess the necessary qualities and skill sets to serve the office of Village Trustee. Those include, but are not limited to, my business experience and background, as well as my active involvement in the community volunteering my time to various schools, church, Chamber of Commerce, Park District programs, and multiple civic organizations, as this affords me to opportunity to interact and listen to our residents. It also enables me the ability to see what other communities are doing and both learn from that as well as bringing these new ideas to our community in a collaborative manner.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
I believe that safety is always the highest priority for elected officials. I am aware of the ban that impacts assault weapons and assault pistols that this applies to and understand the intent of the ban. This is a state policy decision and therefore I believe that concentrating on local municipalities and things that I can have an impact on is best for my position.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
We are very fortunate that Cary has one of the low crime rates in the county, however, crime is always an issue that communities face and need to continually address. We have an excellent police force and leadership that utilizes a community policing approach that has been very effective. Additionally, our police department incorporates outreach at schools and educational programs beginning school age and continuing throughout adulthood. Our police force is committed to garnering ongoing training for our police officers and working in conjunction with surrounding communities and the county to ensure that we have the available tools and resources for our force to be the best possible police force.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
The Village was operational throughout the shut down and worked collaboratively via intergovernmental cooperation with local municipalities and county government to navigate these challenges together. We were proactive in helping our local businesses that were negatively impacted by obtaining and distributing grants to those that qualified. We also opened Alfresco Alley to encourage outdoor dining which was received positively by the community and businesses.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
There are many things that were learned from the pandemic and are still being processed as we are now living in a new normal. The obvious items would be the optics of hygiene, spreading of germs, and social distancing during a pandemic due to not knowing all of medical consequences and erring on the side of safety. It also shed light on mental health issues that were experienced by many and the need to have resources readily available. Additionally, it highlighted that working in cooperation with our local and state government is the most effective way to govern.
How would you spur economic development in your community?
The Village recently hired an economic development contractor to assist in future expansion with full support of the Board. The role will assist with current and future developers to identify and bring new development to our community. It is imperative that we have sustainable and meaningful development that will add value to our Village. We have limited property left to develop and we need to insure that when something goes into the available spaces it meets the criteria of highest and best use of the property, brings revenue to the Village, enhances the character of Cary, and improves the quality of life for our residents.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
As a current elected official I believe we are tasked with being good stewards of our residents tax dollars. I am well aware of the increasing tax burden to our residents. The Village portion of their tax bill remains affordable while we still provide top notch services to our residents. We are striving to increase tax revenues into the village with future businesses and development in an effort to manage the taxes that we control.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
The recreational sale of marijuana was approved by state statue and therefore it is a legal business in the state. As an elected official, we welcome businesses to our community and collaboratively work with them to be successful.
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
We currently have numerous projects in process in our community and I am always open to future developers. I believe that being an effective elected official entails having an open mind to listen to our residents as well as potential developers and business so that a well informed decision is made. We have a large project about to begin in our downtown which will provide a boost to this area as well as new entrance signage that will benefit from both a visual impact and draw people to the area. We are completing additional senior housing which continues to be a need as the population is aging and would like to age in place as well as rehabbing and repurposing our previous Senior Center. Our road infrastructure is always a priority and consistently ranks high in all resident surveys. One avenue we pursue is continuing to seek out available grants to improve roadways, bike paths, police mandates, outdoor living, infrastructure and other opportunities within our village as well as working with local, county, state and federal governments.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
What is your position on open, transparent government?
In order to have an effective government, it needs to be open and transparent for all.
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?
It would depend on the situation. If a developer or business requesting confidentiality while they were evaluating an opportunity to locate in our community, I would evaluate the circumstances before rendering a decision. if disclosing their information would impede the process and alert competitors, then I would consider signing one for this purpose.