Anita Marie Lewis: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 3
Previous offices held: Current Kane County Board member, East Aurora District 131 school board
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A. I am running for reelection because I feel I am just beginning to make a difference for my community. During my first years as a county commissioner, there were many things I had to learn. My 42 years in the private sector business world and as an active volunteer in the County prepared me, however there are policies and procedures that are related to county government that I needed to learn. I have served on the various committees and with the full board so I am much better informed as to workings of our county, our strengths, and our challenges.
I want to continue to work on Economic Development, Mental Health initiatives, and maintaining a balanced budget while still taking care of our employees and our community. I do not want to raise property taxes so I know it will take hard work, creativity, and teamwork from this board to relook at everything we do and make the hard decisions.
Q. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
A. My main contribution in these past four years has been to work in a bipartisan way to maintain our budget without adding taxes. We have been able to give small raises to our employees, keep very good benefits and not cut services to our community.
As a board we added solar panels to the Animal Control facility, saving money. The county opened the new multipurpose facility with the coroner's office as the anchor and room for the Sheriff to have his vehicles on site.
Q. Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming and how the county should deal with them.
A. The county is in a position where we currently have a balanced budget through a lot of hard work, and this year supplementing with ARPA funding. In the future our tax structure and spending habits will not allow us to maintain the level of service we have all come to enjoy. We must find funds to keep up and give competitive wages to our employees, to maintain our aging buildings and roads and fund all the new government mandates regarding the Court Services area. To do this, we will have to look at all funding sources including grants, doing things more efficiently, solar options for other buildings, staff and management levels excess balances in existing funds including ARPA and possibly a small Retail Tax.
Q. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If it's adequate, explain why. If you think improvements are needed, delineate them. *
A. I feel the county is transparent and that the public has access to all records that are legally allowed. As an example, recently there has been much talk about the County Clerks office in regards to Election Processes. After the last election, many FOIA requests came in and were answered in a timely manner. Constituents spoke before board meetings and voiced concerns and the Clerks office and their Election Counsel gave presentations explaining the laws and the County processes. Anyone who wanted to could go to the Clerks office and see all the ballots and the process.
Q. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
A. I believe to save money we need to look at automation in the clerk's office, the county clerk's office and the treasurer's office. We have new staff in most of these areas and they are already looking at ways to make things more efficient and also save money.