Village manager discusses finances, development, transparency
Niles Village Manager George Van Geem. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 4:47PM
NILES — Niles Village Manager George Van Geem recently took the time to answer some questions about current issues that the Village of Niles faces and the village’s fiscal situation.
Here’s what he had to say:
Q. Can you briefly describe the top three issues Niles faces?
A. Pensions are No. 1; I would say that funding infrastructure is No. 2 and economic development is No. 3.
Q. Given the economy, how would you describe Niles’ fiscal situation?
A. Given the economy, our situation is very good. We’ve been conservative for many years. We don’t have to do significant cutbacks. We have to watch our dollars and cents, and we’ll be OK.
Q. How is the state’s pension crisis affecting Niles?
A. The state pension crisis does not directly affect Niles. Indirectly, it’s going to hurt us. Eventually if they step up, they’re going to cut from other areas like social services and it’s going to affect people who rely on those services. We may see an increase in the community’s needs that we need to step up to.
Q. What has to be done in the future, in terms of pensions?
A. We’re not in charge of setting pensions, but we have to be vigilant with our legislators to make sure they reform the pension programs and reduce the costs. They pass all the rules and they send us the bill.
Q. What is Niles doing to promote economic development?
A. We’re active members of the Chamber. We do whatever we can to promote business retention and attraction. We’re in the process of recruiting for the position of an economic development coordinator.
Q. Do you think Niles is doing a good job conducting its business transparently?
A. Better than ever. I really think we’re as transparent as we’ve ever been. We try to be open with all the meetings. We’re one of the best when it comes to transparency.
Q. Why is funding infrastructure a significant issue in Niles?
A. We need to recognize that our streets are not going to last 30 years. We have to fund them for their realistic life expectancy.