- Position sought: Will County Board, District 3
- E-mail address: Willcounty3@comcast.net
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Willcounty3
- Phone: 630-699-8133
- Age: 50
- Family: Married to wife Monica Engel (a Valley View School District educator) for 26 years; daughter, 23; son, 21
- Education: Business management, Joliet Junior College
- Occupation: Real estate broker (25 years) with Coldwell Banker Honig Bell
- Political party: Republican
- Previous elected or appointed offices: Valley View school board member (2001-2007)
Is there any additional experience you believe qualifies you for the position?
Previous member of the Valley View Educational Enrichment Foundation board. 25 years as a small business operator/real estate broker in the Will County area.
What would your priorities be if elected to this office?
Jobs, property taxes, smaller government with fewer restrictions on small businesses, balanced budgets
What sets you apart from the other candidates?
No other candidate in my race has the number of years of experience working with and sitting on a governing (taxing) body. I have dealt with multi-million dollar budgets, tax levies, and have had to work with tax payers to resolve district wide issues.
What can the county do to promote job growth and draw new business to Will County?
Become a more small business friendly environment by reducing red tape, offering incentives (with penalty clauses). We need to attract companies by offering them a place where they know the job force is ready willing and able to add to their bottom line. That means the county board as well.
Do you believe Cook County is encroaching on Will, and how would you make sure there isn't a negative influence from the city?
Cook County’s style of politics is encroaching on Will County. The natural progression of the housing market brought many homeowners from Cook County to Will County looking for a better place to live. Now some of them would like to put in policies that are identical to Cook County policies which will only bring the same results they have had in Cook County. In order to keep Will County what it is today, we need to make sure that those types of policies and politics are not condoned here.
Should it be Will County or a special commission in charge of a proposed airport? Why, and how would that work?
It should be a commission that reports to and is accountable to the Will County Board. The county needs to maintain control of that area up to the time that the airport is built. Issues such as roadways, drainage, housing, business, industrial all need to be considered to keep a controllable amount of growth in that area, while not overloading any of the current municipalities that exist today. The county should definitely benefit from this airport, and so should the villages that are in that area today.
All candidates have lauded the current board for work balancing the budget; what more would you do to practice fiscal responsibility?
We can as a board control our expenses while also being sensitive to the needs of our county workers and their families. Everyone wants to have certain services in the area. We can continue those services, while watching budget items that do not belong in our expenses or by watching for duplication, waste and misuse of county assets. Many times there is duplication of efforts that can bring savings if discovered and rectified. I have seen how boards have several committees that overlap each other and end up spending money on both. Self-auditing these items on a yearly basis will show where we are most effective and where waste can be eliminated.
Besides Renewing Will County, would you propose any projects related to sustainability in the county?
Special projects can come up on an as-needed basis. The biggest thing to do with special projects is to make absolutely certain that they have a start time, goals, objectives, budget and most important an end date. Not all special projects need to continue forever. Again a yearly audit of these projects to determine their continuing viability is necessary.
What ideas do you have for improving the county's infrastructure and transportation?
Anything that can be done to improve the current state of public transportation within the county should be examined and qualified to determine which projects can move forward. Seniors are especially vulnerable in these economic times, and need to be one of the focuses of our efforts.
In what ways can the county operate more efficiently and improve technologically?
Technology can be one of the most expensive areas to update but can bring the highest long-term savings. An audit of where we are now and what assets we have will determine the necessity of any updating or upgrading needed at this time. Putting technology in the hands of those that need it on a daily basis comes first. First responders, fire, police, etc., need to have the most up-to-date communication technology to make sure they are safe and the public is safe. Our newest Emergency Management Association bus is the best example of that technology. They can provide every service our first responders would need in just about any situation even if all power were out. Then we need to look at efficiencies within the county building(s) to determine a need basis for upgrades.