Naperville’s First 2019 Mayoral Candidate Forum

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Mayor Steve Chirico and challenger Rocky Caylor participated in Naperville’s first mayoral candidate forum of the 2019 election season.

Instead of facing off, like a debate, they both spent 30 minutes in front of the audience alone, and both answered the same series of questions, on topics ranging from the environment, city services, and development.

Chirico says development is a priority of his.

“Economic development is critical if we’re going to fund great schools. They have but one lever to pull and that’s property taxes. We need to have a strong local economy and a strong tax base to secure long-term funding for schools and parks,” he explained.

Caylor emphasized caution when approaching modern development.

“Respectful and responsible strategic development. I’m pro development if it goes right. We’re at our borders; we’ve got infill development. We need to sit with the neighborhoods and figure out what’s compatible,” said Caylor.

When asked about Naperville’s affordable housing, Caylor agreed it is a problem, but did not specify a solution.

“We have seniors, I’ve listened to them talk in the council chambers, they’d love to be downtown, but there’s nothing affordable for them here,” said Caylor.

Chirico said the city has been trying to improve the situation, but said it’s difficult to get support for affordable homes like apartments.

“Neighbors never want development around their home. That’s just the way it works. We need to balance that with the needs of the whole community,” said Chirico.

The forum was hosted by Indivisible Naperville and a number of other grassroots political organizations.

Election day is April 2, and you can follow NCTV17 for more information about all the candidates running for local office.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.