Kelli P. May: 2022 candidate for DuPage Forest Preserve Board District 2
Office sought: DuPage Forest Preserve Board District 2
City: Villa Park
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom and wife
Previous offices held: Current District 45 board member
Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
One of my greatest passions in life, is looking toward the future. This includes education as a whole, and a large part of that in turn includes preserving our natural resources for DuPage's next generation and beyond. I believe it is important to leave a legacy to our heirs in DuPage County, that includes not only a love and appreciation for nature, but also a strong sense of how important it is to maintain our natural resources.
Naturally, a main focus of mine as a current District 45 board member is educating our youth. Education about our natural resources is an important piece toward continuing sustainability for the future of not only our county, but our state, our country, and beyond. Educating our next generation and maintaining our resources in financially responsible ways that maintain transparency and accountability is also critically important.
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?
My priorities in this position will be educating youth and all residents, as well as fiscal accountability and working together toward these goals and others.
Education is an important part of what I'd strive toward bolstering in this position. I would like to see more learning opportunities for DuPage residents that center around conservation, preservation, and sustainability, as a main priority of the Forest Preserve board. My plan is to work together with the entirety of this Board and in turn with the county board, in order to create a balanced budget that is continually sustainable. As a school board member, I am familiar with working in a collaborative group, toward a common goal. My experience there will lend itself to collaboration in this new capacity.
What are the county's open space needs and how should this board address them?
There is a distinct need to keep open spaces available and open, and to prevent overdevelopment. This is crucial not only for the purposes of maintaining these areas for our recreational needs and for protection of the overall environment, but also to aid in warding off flooding -- which is prevalent in Dist 2. Overdevelopment and building bigger houses on the same area of land, for example, causes potential for flooding because there is essentially no longer anywhere for water to go, especially in the aftermath of a storm.
My suggestion to address this would be to try to continue to set aside the open space that we have currently, while encouraging redevelopment that incorporates and maintains the current open space rather than eliminating it.
Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them.
Since forest preserve revenue is funded in large part by property taxes, and is allotted separately from the more broad allotment of finances to the county board, it is a predictable money source and therefore is presumably easily budgeted. However, that doesn't seem to be the case, since the forest preserve has borrowed funding through bonds. I see that as a chief looming threat to continued sustainability to the Forest Preserve budget currently & in the immediate foreseeable future, and therefore the future of the county as a whole.
How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
I believe that there is a need for better overall transparency from the county and the forest preserve boards, as well as a more clear path to the community's access to our own records. Although agendas, budgets, and public records are in fact public, they aren't easily navigable to the general public. It is important that individual records are more easily accessible, since they are needed in a multitude of situations. It is necessary under the law that agendas and budgets are public as well.
Describe your position regarding the state of the forest preserve district's budget, describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the district should handle them.
I have an issue with spending above revenue, and borrowing through bonds without a concrete plan as to how these funds will be repaid. I see that as a threat to sustainability and a threat to future budgeting efforts. I believe that the Forest Preserve Board as well as the County Board should make a concerted effort to end spending and borrowing above budgets, especially without a plan for how to handle things such as repayment in the future.
Name one concrete program you'll create or personnel move you'll make to improve efficiency in the office or make it more successful. Explain how it will be funded and how you will overcome any obstacles to initiating it.
I would love to create or amplify programs that educate the community in conservation and sustainability of natural resources. I would utilize resources that currently exist within DuPage and our Forest Preserve Centers to create, fund, and sustain this endeavor by engaging volunteers and existing resources. I do not see much in the way of obstacles to overcome in this effort.