County Board Candidate - District 9
What is the importance of the County Board to your constituents in Champaign County?
My constituents include large parts of Savoy and Urbana. There are issues in both municipalities that would benefit from collaboration with county government. For example, supporting the development of the Curtis Road underpass for Savoy, which needs state and federal funding to become a reality, and supporting downtown Urbana development, which could be enhanced with the consolidation and relocation of county government facilities.
What is a key policy difference between you and your Opponent?
My opponent is a graduate student who has been in this community for about 4 years. I have lived here all my life, 63 years. My belief that a person who knows this community and its residents, businesses and charitable organizations will do a better job in representing them in making any policy decisions at the county level. Furthermore, my opponent was against selling the Champaign County Nursing Home (CCNH) and I am in favor of selling it. Although I worked there as a volunteer as a tween with the Junior Red Cross; I supported the referendum that made the building of the new CCNH facility possible; and when my mother needed skilled care to recover from surgery I considered the CCNH; the facts are undeniable that the financial drain of the CCNH on the county is debilitating. The county must sell the CCNH and return to competently and efficiently providing excellent core government services, i.e. fair elections, safe correctional facilities, safe roadways, and secure courtrooms.
The County Board is responsible for a yearly budget of nearly $130 million. How would prioritize this money, and are there any parts of the current budget you would change?
Experienced county board members that I have met tell me that of the $130 million budget only a very minor portion involves discretionary funds. I have heard between $240,000 and a million as discretionary. Most of the county budget is restricted for the use of those departments that collect those designated fees. For example, the circuit clerk’s office collects court security and technology fees that are incorporated into court case filing fees and those are used to maintain and update circuit clerk technology and to secure courthouse. At this point, and given the CCNH’s continuing financial burden until it is sold; my priority for discretionary funds would be to just pay the bills to keep the lights on.
Is there anything else you would like to say to an undecided voter in Champaign County?
Turnover of county board members has been an ongoing problem as documented in this recent story. http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2018-08-05/tom-kacich-turnover-plaguing-champaign-county-board.html. I have lived here all my life and have no plans to move. I will not take part in the merry-go-round of board members. I am here to stay - just look at my record: