Linda Troester: 2022 candidate for Lake County Board District District 2
Office sought: Lake County Board District 2
City: Round Lake
Occupation: Retired; Former Sr. EH&S Manager for The Dow Chemical Company
Previous offices held: No elective offices; Have been A Ballot Box Judge & CASA Volunteer
Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
I am running for the Lake County Board because I love Lake County. I want to help make Lake County even better and more sustainable in the future. I have 10 grandchildren and I want my grandchildren to grow up to live, work, play, and raise children themselves right here in Lake County. I believe that Lake County has amazing people and spectacular resources. I also believe that government is the work of all the people. We need to all work together to create the future that we want to see. My motivation is my grandchildren.
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?
Our Lake County Board is working on many aspects of improving daily local government operations to deliver exceptional services and to create a future " ... where all people, families, and businesses have the opportunity to thrive ...". In order to reach the future we all want for our community, the board needs to deliver on many goals at once. I am certain that my background in environmental and health sciences gives me a fact-based decision making perspective, and my long experience working on collaborative teams, delivering on short- and long-term goals, will be valuable to the work of the board. Currently my primary interests are in good, cost-effective government, and environment/water/sewer/flooding concerns.
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.
Lake County operates a balanced fiscally responsible budget that was flat in 2021 and 2022 even during the Covid-19 crisis. There are many infrastructure and other projects that are itemized in the Lake County Board Long-Term Strategic Plan and Goals; these are funded on a prioritized basis. It is also important for citizens to realize that the County budget is only about 7% of their property tax bill, and yet it contains many critical services.
Some of the looming issues for the county will include water concerns of stormwater management, preservation of wetlands to mitigate flooding, and maintenance of our ecosystems. As in many other communities Lake County will be facing the effects of climate change and increasing population density that will lead to increasing land management and transportation concerns; these will require creative solutions and thoughtful preparation.
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.
Currently Lake County Board and committee meetings are open to the public via zoom, recorded video, or in person, with agendas in advance, so that the decisions taken are totally transparent now in that way. However, the communication of background information and why YEA or NAY is delivered is not always very clear. The progress toward goals and accomplishments which involve not just the Lake County Board but various administrative agencies is not clearly communicated to the everyday citizens. Many board members and agencies send newsletters with updates at random times; however, this is not the way to clearly show progress and attainment of goals. The communication of status could be improved and clarified annually at a minimum.
What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
I do not support improving automation as a goal in itself. This is not something that should be done to make our county merely appear efficient but should rightly be done as needed to accomplish specific plan goal(s). Adding technology tools can be expensive, require management and updating, and can be a barrier between elected government officials and the citizens they represent. Two examples of technology in service of county-wide goals include:
1- The shared service initiative for 911 to relocate the services into a centralized site allowing better coordination, reducing duplicative services, thus saving taxpayer dollars.
2- The "Report A Concern" portion of the Lake County website where citizens can report to the proper agency issues such as potholes, sewer issues, drainage, etc., for quick response.
At this time I do not know what the precise problem is that will be solved in county-wide offices, but am concerned that citizens not be frustrated when bringing issues forward.