Candidate profile: Matt Lanter

Matt Lanter
Matt Lanter

Name: Matt Lanter

Age: 43

Immediate family members: Wife, Lynne, two daughters, three stepsons.

Town: Swansea

Office seeking: Village trustee

Occupation: Homebuilder

Previous and current elected offices and terms served: Village trustee 2013-present

Why are you running? I want to make a difference. It has been a great honor to serve my Swansea neighbors over these last four years. I have worked hard for the people of Swansea and I would like to continue that work.

What is the most important issue facing the village of Swansea? How would you approach it? Finances. It is a constant struggle to balance the available funds with the needs, and expectations of the citizens. Economic development is the approach. We must continue to recruit businesses to fill vacancies, and work diligently to pursue new retail development. New sales tax revenue is really the only way to fix the financial pressures.

If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? A good trustee does not have a personal agenda. They must make decisions that are in the best interests of Swansea. Consider long-term effects of their decisions. Must be willing to compromise. Need to listen. Be available to staff and citizens. Dedicate time and put forth effort. Be able to look at the big picture AND focus on the details.

How would keep costs down or reduce costs in your municipality? There are simpler things to do like hunt for cheaper prices (buying copy paper by the pallet), negotiate better contracts (on things like internet, phone, copiers, etc). We have also begun the more difficult task of looking for efficiencies. Setting up systems and processes. Working to maximize the utilization of employees. In general, being proactive instead of reactive. One real world example of this is creating a comprehensive maintenance schedule of every machine and piece of equipment at our sewer plant. The benefit of this program is that equipment lasts longer. So now we are spending a little money on maintenance rather than big money of replacing these expensive components prematurely.

In St. Clair County, there will be votes on two sales tax referendums. One would benefit school facility costs, one would benefit public safety. Do you support either or both of the referendums? Why or why not? This is a very difficult issue. The state’s inability to pass a responsible budget is affecting public safety and education. Our children and our protectors are suffering the consequences of our legislator’s inability to control their spending and focus funds on the priorities they should be. I would encourage everyone to take a close look at these referendums and become an informed voter. Each individual voter has to decide what is right for them and their family. As a volunteer firefighter I would welcome additional funding for the fire department, but as a businessman I wonder about the unintended consequences of possibly having one of the highest tax rates in the state and country.

Why should people vote for you? I love Swansea! I have dedicated the last 21 years to the people of Swansea as a volunteer firefighter. I work as a homebuilder and have built homes for hundreds of Swansea families. I am a small business owner so I bring a business sense to the board. I am proud of the major accomplishments made over the last four years: hired a school resource officer, updated the police car fleet, purchased a fire truck, repaved miles of roads, purchased two new dump/snow plow trucks and pickup trucks. We have annexed new lands and recruited many new businesses. I am most proud that we have accomplished all of this while maintaining balanced budgets. But there is still much work to do and I would like to continue to work hard for the people of Swansea.