Deborah Allan: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 17
Occupation: Retired office manager and harp player
Previous offices held: Kane County Board District 17 since 2002
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. My neighbors and I have the most confidence in government that is local and responsive to our needs, so that is the venue in which I want to serve. I have had the honor of representing District 17 for almost 20 years, and Kane County has worked diligently at making our work, and the spending of our neighbors' taxes, transparent and sensible and helpful to our urban and suburban and rural communities. I have enjoyed being part of a government that is generous rather than punitive, and is always looking for the best practices we can use to solve the problems we face. My sole agenda is to keep leading Kane County in those directions that make our lives here a little easier and happier.
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. Most recently, I have been involved, with municipal leaders, Kane County staff, and contractors and have been updated daily regarding the recent gas spill in Lily Lake.
The County Board's responsibilities are to create a sustainable, balanced budget each year and set policy for the Kane County government.
I vote to pay employees fairly and support the staff and Elected Officers who develop plans and projects to help Kane County residents, such as DUI/Mental Health/Veterans' Courts, the revamping of stormwater policies/engineering/cost-share help for older developments, the enhancement of our fiber capacity, green policies such as our solar projects/electric fleets, the protection of our farmland, and the widest, most enduring use of Elgin Riverboat Casino grant funds
The homework of making good decisions is done in Committee, and I have been assigned to most of them over time. I worked directly on our first solar array at Animal Control and was Chairman of the Administration Committee as we oversaw the building of our newest Multi Use Facility which houses, at last, a fully-functioning Coroner Office and a Buildings and Maintenance space.
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. Kane County is required to build and pass a balanced budget each year, and we always do that. We frequently have contingency funds left at the end of the year, it is not unusual that we budget so conservatively that our share of State funds is greater than we predict, and staff is so careful about their
spending that there have been unused funds left in the budget at year's end; those monies are always placed in funds to deal with emergencies (IMRF/SLEP/WC requirements) and challenges in the next year's budget.
Right now we are searching across the whole government to achieve equity in pay among our own staff, and equity compared to other public/private entities in order to fill empty positions and hold on to our experienced people. We are working to develop the correct number of people and the salaries we need to keep them, in order to build the most experienced and efficient government possible to serve our residents.
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. Open Finance, the successor to Open.Gov, shows every check written and can be used to compare spending between years and vendors and categories by anyone with interest in doing so. If someone has particular questions, they can send an email, or call their County Board member! I certainly don't have all the answers, but I probably know how to find out.
The Supervisor of Assessments voluntarily gives classes showing people how to lower their property assessment, if possible, and he makes that available online. The Sheriff and Circuit Clerk regularly hold job fairs and classes for various kinds of certification to help interested residents, as well as people who have spent time in jail, get better jobs.
The one silver lining to a pandemic is government, certainly including Kane County, now allows the public to watch regular Committee meetings where the homework is done, as well as the full Board voting meetings where our taxes are spent, as they happen, or in YouTube archives.
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. There will always be room for improvement, and I believe Kane County has been quick to respond to citizens' request for improved services, and to put in place suggestions by the people who work in that government. If someone has a suggestion, please reach out to me.
I have a question for Daily Herald readers: should we sell, or hold on to the 40-acre old jail site on Fabyan Parkway, Geneva, IL? Is it better for that property to be used for economic development in that area, or should it remain public property for everyone's use? Once sold, it's gone; I doubt it would ever be public space again. What do you think?