Christopher Kious: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 23
Office sought: Kane County Board District 23
Occupation: Current Kane County Board Member, President of the Forest Preserve and consultant to manufacturing businesses
Previous offices held: Kane County Board Member (4 years), President of the Forest Preserves of Kane County (2 years)
Q: Do you support an increase in the countywide retail sales tax to help pay for expenses related to the SAFE T legislation? Yes/No? If yes, which SAFE T-related expenses, specifically, should be covered with the additional tax? If no, how do you suggest paying for the increased expenses related to the SAFE T legislation?
A: I support putting a referendum before the voters to see if they agree with an increase in the countywide retail sales tax to implement the SAFE T act. Before we do that I hope to see more clarification from our judicial and legislative partners as to exactly what that amount will be. This is a groundbreaking program that will completely revamp certain areas of the judicial system and there may be a lot of unforeseen costs and consequences when the legislation is implemented. I want to be sure that the investment is right thing to do before we spend the money.
Q: What should be done to retain county staff? If you propose increases in salaries or benefits, how should those added costs be covered?
A: Because of the previous administration's low priority on paying a living wage to many of our employees, we are spending a large portion of our current, experienced staff's time on training replacement employees. This indirectly translates into increased hidden costs and inefficiencies that are more expensive and result is lower productivity. Any successful employer will tell you that high-quality, long-term staff, who know their jobs, are the best way to run a business profitably. After considering all the efficiencies in workplace tools, like the best software etc. we should make sure that we are paying enough to retain quality employees. I think it is imperative to consider implementing at least a portion of the CPI (cost of living index) so that the county can begin to once again keep our experienced staff.
Q: Do you believe the county auditor should be an elected or appointed position? Why? Are there any other countywide offices that are currently elected positions that you believe should be appointed instead? If so, please explain.
A: I don't believe that the board has seriously considered the possibility of changing the auditor to an
appointed position. I think we should at least occasionally review the possibility and compare our system to other, similar county's history of whether appointed or elected is more cost effective and how service to their constituents is affected.
Q: The county has seen an increase in truck traffic. How do you propose to address the infrastructure needs that come with this increase in traffic? Do you support a moratorium on warehouse developments in unincorporated areas of the county? Yes/No? Please explain.
A: I don't think it is prudent to implement a total moratorium on Truck facilities in all unincorporated areas of the county. Kane is a big, diverse county that should be able to accommodate business needs and residential needs with a minimum of conflict. It is critical that the county and municipalities work together to avoid the direct conflict between large, potentially disruptive installations and established residential neighborhoods. By working with CMAP and other planning groups we should be able to make sure that the trucks and their transfer/storage facilities are planned and serious conflicts are avoided.
Q: What direction do you think the county should move as it relates to its aging buildings? Build new or rehab existing buildings? Why and how would you propose the county pay for any new buildings or improvements?
A: As chair of the Administrative Committee I encouraged, and the committee instituted, a complete review of all the County's buildings and holdings. Our study was recently completed and will be used to inform our
decisions on whether to rehab/remove or build new. Cost is an important factor but suitability of the facility to provide the proper workspace and the importance to the historic aspects of a property should also be weighed. We currently have budgeted a small but not insignificant amount for capital improvements that the preliminary findings of the study have indicated we will need to undertake to avoid serious maintenance and structural issues in the next 5 years. We must consider all options to address the shortfall in the budget and provide the best solutions to maintain the county's buildings.
Q: How do you think the county should spend the remaining COVID19 relief funds?
A: Our American Rescue Plan Committee has done a responsible and reasoned job of allocating funds to local service entities that address the adverse effects of the Pandemic on our residents. We should complete the allocations to the departments that have requested reasonable amounts to serve our county residents. Then we should re-open the acceptance of proposals from service agencies to address ongoing effects of the pandemic on our population.
Q: The COVID pandemic also put a spotlight on the need for mental health services. What role should the county play in this?
A: Addressing Mental Health issues is very important to reduce the number of societal issues that adversely affect our residents, from drug addiction to domestic abuse, child abuse and crime. We should actively support our Health Department, work with the existing 708 boards and consider ways to extend 708-type services to make sure that all residents of Kane County can receive services they need.