David J. Brown: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 10
Office sought: Kane County Board District 10
Occupation: Retired estimator/project manager
Previous offices held: Kane County Board District 10 since 2020; 6 years as Batavia Mayor Pro Tem; and 22 years as Batavia Alderman, 7th Ward
Q: Do you support an increase in the countywide retail sales tax to help pay for expenses related to the SAFE-T legislation? 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: No, not at this time. I believe there will be some major changes to this legislation in the next year. We (the county board) will have to work with our judicial partners as this unfolds and make the appropriate decisions that are best for the county at that time.
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: As a 45-year member of the International Union of Operating Engineers, I believe firmly in paying competitive wages.
The county board is addressing retention, salaries and benefits of our staff, and is currently doing a wage comparison study of our surrounding counties. Once this is complete, we will have the necessary data to evaluate if we are offering our employees a competitive wage.
The county definitely needs to be paying a wage equal to, or greater than, the surrounding counties.
For the next budget cycle, there is enough savings from unfilled positions and additional unanticipated revenue that will cover any additional equity increase. During the next year, the board needs to prepare a two- to three-year budget plan that would include means for additional revenue, if necessary.
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: Currently, the position of county auditor is an elected position and should remain that way to avoid any conflict of interests with other department heads. There are no other offices that are currently elected positions that I believe should be appointed positions.
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? Please explain.
A: As a member of the board, when we see any increase in traffic, whether it be cars or trucks, we bring this to the attention of the transportation committee. If the committee thinks there is a valid concern, KDOT is then asked to evaluate the concern to see if there is a need for any type of infrastructure improvements. No, I do not support any such moratorium. Everything we use, wear, or eat at some time comes by truck.
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: This is also an issue the board has been discussing. During the month of October, the administrative committee will be reviewing a needs assessment of the county's facilities. The board has commissioned Wight and Company, an outside agency, to perform this assessment.
Once we have this report and have time to discuss the results, we will be better able to determine if a cost analysis is necessary. Based on the outcome of the analysis, if major improvements of the existing buildings or a new building would be needed, we would have to bond for either of these options.
Q: How do you think the county should spend the remaining COVID-19 relief funds?
A: The COVID-19 relief money was received by the county prior to my election to the board in 2020.
The majority of this money has been used for relief to small businesses, food pantries, the health department, and mental health and social services. The remaining money of the COVID-19 relief funds that we have received is in a separate account that can be utilized to replenish the general fund.
During the pandemic. there were additional payroll expenses that were paid for out of the general fund. This payroll reimbursement would relieve some of the budget deficit that we are anticipating.
Q: The COVID pandemic also put a spotlight on the need for mental health services. What role should the county play in this?
A: Mental health services are a priority of the county and a top priority of mine. The county has committed $2 million in ARPA funds for six agencies in the county that deal with mental heath services. I was one of two board members who reviewed a request from the health department for additional funds for mental health initiatives.
We made the positive recommendation to the American Rescue Plan ACT (ARPA) Committee to appropriate the requested additional $10 million.
After our recommendation, the ARPA Committee unanimously approved our recommendation. The health department will use these funds for much needed mental health services for the county residents.