Join us as we discuss Round Lake Beach Mayor Richard Hill’s political history, his daily work with his Board of Trustees and his Fireside Chats!
Mayor Richard Hill has been Mayor of Round Lake Beach for almost 20 year, though years ago, he never dreamed that he would be involved in politics. Hill has worked in Human Resources for Ace Hardware and his job there led to his membership in the Round Lake Chamber of Commerce. He became President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1989. During that time, he was appointed as a commissioner to the Round Lake Park District and a year later ran won an election for that position.
Hill enjoyed his work both on the Park District board and the Chamber of Commerce. Hill’s decision to run for the Round Lake Board of Trustees was in part guided by his attendance at a Village finance committee meeting. He learned of shortfalls in the Village budget and decided to run for trustee along with a slate of candidates to “Rescue the Beach”. Hill and his slate won the election. The Board with the influx of new trustees were able to work well together and were able to overcome the budget shortfall.
In 2001, with the support of all Village trustees, Hill ran unopposed for Mayor of Round Lake Beach, an office that he has held ever since. He will be running again for another 4-year mayoral term (unopposed) in April, 2017. He feels that his background in Human Resources at Ace Hardware has helped him to work well with others. He hopes to continue the work started with the improvement of the infrastructure of the Village of Round Lake.
One such method of bringing improvements to the Village is through TIFs (Tax Increment Finance district). TIFs allow pieces of property to be improved, usually for commercial development, with a freeze on their assessed valuation for a certain period of time. TIFs can be controversial because other taxing bodies do not receive the benefit of increased taxes for that period of time. Improvements in Round Lake include the Cultural and Civic Center, a new police station and Village Hall. A TIF was used in a residential area of Round Lake Beach to improve the residential development of Meadow Green.
One issue that Mayor Hill was asked to weigh in on was the state legislation passed regarding video gaming. Each Illinois municipality was allowed to decide for itself whether to allow such gaming within their municipality. In Round Lake, Beach, the issue was contentious and Mayor Hill had to cast the tie-breaking vote to allow gaming. Hill feels that the passage of gaming has not led to any increase in crime.
Mayor Hill has implemented “Fireside Chats” to reach out and educate citizens regarding governmental issues. The “Fireside Chats” are monthly televised programs with different governmental employees and office holders. Some recent guests have been the Lake County Sheriff and the State’s Attorney.
In addition to his job with Ace Hardware, his role of Mayor and his involvement with the Round Lake Chamber of Commerce, Hill is Chairman of the Central Lake County JAWA (Joint Action Water Agency). JAWA is working to bring Lake Michigan water to central Lake County. Hill is also a member of the Northwest Lake County Wholesale Sewer Advisory Committee Policy Committee which works on consolidation of sewer systems to reduce inflow and pollution.
Mayor Hill feels that the best way to solve problems and bridge gaps in civic matters is to have conversations with people. Listening to people and taking the time to try and work through differences is key to solving many issues.