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Name: Jeff Olson
Years of residency in city: 33
Occupation: General manager at Olson's Auto Scrap Metal Recycling 2004 to current
Previously elected positions: one 4-year term as Seneca's Street Commissioner / Council Member 2015 to current
Contact information for voters: My cell phone number 815-228-7488
Why have you decided to run for mayor and what goals do you plan to work toward?
My reason for running for mayor is my genuine passion and love for the Village of Seneca. I have greatly enjoyed being Seneca's street commissioner and want to continue working with the community to make sure we keep Seneca as great as possible. If elected mayor the most important goal is to keep Seneca a safe community like it currently is. I will focus from day one on cleaning our town up, there are many eye sores in Seneca throughout town and they need to be addressed and proper actions taken. I have a plan to revitalize our downtown and will work with our council, business owners, committees and residents to achieve this goal. We also must continue working on our streets, sidewalks, alleys and storm water drainage throughout town. We have made great strides in fixing some of these issues but must continue working daily to achieve the goals we didn't meet. I will work daily to achieve as many of these goals as possible and make sure we do so within a balanced budget. Our tax payers deserve all of these goals to be met and as a team I'm very confident the next council will continue achieving these goals.
What sets you apart from your opponents?
I am the only candidate who has experience achieving goals and doing so under budget yearly for our village. Our taxpayers deserve the next mayor to be one who will achieve goals while living within the villages means. I have ran Seneca's Street Department with the help of our council and employees under budget the last four years and is something I'm very proud of. My availability and communication skills with our council, employees and residents are the other things that set me apart from my opponents. Since day one of running for office in 2015 I have given my phone number out to Seneca's residents to make myself available to them at all times. 95% of the time when they call I will go meet with that resident in person to listen to their thoughts and concerns. Something neither of my opponents have the experience in doing so for four years as an elected official.
How is the mayor’s role different than a city commissioner’s?
The mayor is one of 5 votes. However, the mayor is also the leader of the council. As mayor compared to being a commissioner I would guide the council in deliberations, lead council meetings and work with all commissioners, employees and committees in the town rather than focusing primarily on one department.
What is the greatest challenge the village faces? What is your strategy for addressing it?
I believe our biggest challenge will be fixing flooding issues throughout town. We have numerous issues that need to be addressed and we have to find the funding to fix these areas. Some of these issues are ones that will be addressed this summer and we have the funding to fix. The other projects are much bigger and we will need to continue working hard to find grants to help offset the cost. I will work side by side with our council, engineer and employees to find solutions and funding to fix these flooding issues.
What’s your vision for Seneca?
My vision for Seneca is maintaining a safe community, enforced ordinances for a clean and safe town, improved drainage throughout Seneca, a renovated downtown, improved infrastructure, thriving businesses, better transparency on the villages behalf and a community where our residents are more involved in the villages decisions.
What asset would you like to see utilized more in the city? Explain your answer.
I would like to see more people take advantage of our leaf collection program we offer in the fall. The reason why is simple, we need to limit the leaf burning in Seneca. Many people suffer from health conditions that only get worse when people are burning. The next council needs to make a decision how we need to handle this issue moving forward.
How would you rate Seneca’s public services?
On a scale of 1-10 I would rate our public services at a 10. We have excellent employees and volunteers that do an amazing job.
How do you plan to make yourself available to the public?
I work right here in town at our family business and am lucky enough to be able to break away to take care of city business whenever needed. I am accessible in person and by phone day or night. I have been accessible since taking office in 2015 and that will not change if I become mayor.
Since announcing your candidacy, how many City Council meetings have you attended?
All of them as Seneca's Street Commissioner
Other than for health reasons, why would you leave your position mid-term?
There would be no reason other than health reasons I wouldn't finish my term. I live here, raise my family here, work here and I am not going anywhere!