Navreet Kang sent out the following announcing his candidacy for City Council:
Carbondale, Illinois, a city considered the hub of Southern Illinois, is a beautiful town, which I have called home for more than 25 years. I have a Master’s degree in Horticulture from India, as well as an MBA degree from Southern Illinois University. Also a small business owner myself, and a landlord, I have come to understand what it takes a community to grow. I have been a part of our ONLY community radio station, WDBX 91.1FM, a not-for-profit organization, both as a volunteer DJ and a financial supporter as well. I am currently serving as one of the three Executive Directors on the Heterodyne Broadcasting Company’s Board of Directors.
In order to grow Carbondale, we need to not only help current small business owners to grow, but also bring new businesses in order to generate more tax revenues for the city, provide meaningful employment to our residents. These would-be new residents/employees/business owners will not only invest in real estate but generate more revenues for the city government thru increased spending within the city. In order to keep existing and bring in new businesses, the City will need to offer incentives and above all, look for reasons to accommodate them, rather than not as is perceived today.
We have a lot of old vacant properties within the city of Carbondale, which are not only eyesores, but also a drain on our city’s treasury because the city has to provide services, for which it receives little to no revenues in real estate taxes. While it may be necessary to go outside of the city limits for certain situations, I will encourage and look for ways to make these properties viable, and revenue-productive. Growing just outside our city limits puts extra and undue stress and demands on our infrastructure, including water, sewer, fire and police department resources. By making the properties productive, and revenue-producing, we can eliminate such undue demands on our limited resources. In-fill development for both residential as well as commercial properties is required for the city to make an efficient use of its resources. With my 14 years of experience working on the Carbondale Planning Commission, I will work with the city manager and the council members to encourage the in-fill growth.
Speaking of bringing new people, businesses, and keeping our existing ones, it is ever so important that all the residents of the city as well as the visitors are afforded a safe and secure environment where they do not feel threatened, and would instead love to come to and stay in Carbondale, thereby increasing our tax revenues.
If I am elected to the City Council, I will strive hard to bring in new businesses, provide incentives to existing local businesses to stay, provide a sustained safe and secure environment in which we all wish to live. I will also work with outside agencies to help improve access to Carbondale both via ground and air, which will further make Carbondale an attractive place to come to. As a Council member, I will encourage the city to work with not only our local Tourism and Convention Bureau but to go outside and network with other such entities to make Carbondale a Tourist destination. Carbondale has so much to offer in and around town that most of it stays best kept secret. As a Council Member, I will make sure that the secret is out, and help our hometown, Carbondale, an welcome place to anybody who would care to come and stay.
Generally speaking, the property taxes in the City are very high compared to just outside the city limits, which if not kept in check, will further encourage the residents to leave the city limits and go outside and build. Property taxes have steadily increased in the past three years, after a few years of not having any city property tax levy. Once elected, I will strive hard to find other ways of funding city expenditures, in addition to looking for efficiencies within, thus eliminating government waste and redundancies.
SIU is a great asset to our city, being the largest employer in the area. Student enrollment has been on the decline except a very slight increase this year. We need to provide a safe and welcome environment to our most precious commodity, the students of SIU, and encourage their involvement in community projects, and harness their exuberance as well as energy and channel into productive citizens. As a Council member, I will work with the University Administration to encourage enrollment, as well as a positive involvement of the students in our community at large.
While there is a large Asian and other minority community in Carbondale, contributing to the city’s tax and revenue base significantly, there is no representation on the city government from this sector. I will help fill that void, and serve not only that particular sector but all residents of Carbondale, thereby bringing more diversity, and build more tolerant environment in our city. With my business experience, having served as a Commissioner of the Carbondale Park District in the years past, as well as the sitting Commissioner on the Planning Commission as well as the Zoning Board of Appeals for the past 14 years, I will bring all these resources to serve all residents of our great city. I look forward to working with the City Council, the Mayor, and the general public of Carbondale to make this a better and more economic, culturally-diverse and aesthetically appealing community.