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updated: 1/30/2012 4:40 PM

GOP candidates for county seat have different priorities

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  • Carol Calabresa

    Carol Calabresa

  • Dan Donahue

    Dan Donahue


The Republican candidates for the Lake County Board's 15th District seat cited radically different issues as their top campaign concerns.

Incumbent Carol Calabresa said her No. 1 priority is maintaining the county's fiscal responsibility.

Challenger Dan Donahue said his top goal is amending an agreement between Libertyville and Lake County officials concerning a master plan for the county property on Winchester Road.

The candidates -- both Libertyville residents -- will face off in the March 20 primary. They talked about their priorities in questionnaires for the Daily Herald.

Calabresa, a board member since 1986, praised county officials for adopting a 2012 budget that's almost $20 million less than the 2009 spending plan.

County officials have reduced personnel costs, too, Calabresa said. Those moves saved nearly $50 million between 2009 and 2011, she said.

Calabresa wasn't comparing this year's budget to last year's in her answer, however.

This year's $487.9 million spending plan is about $9.3 million larger than its predecessor. And planned, widespread employee raises primarily are responsible for that increase, County Administrator Barry Burton told the Daily Herald in November.

Calabresa was among the seven commissioners who voted against the 2012 budget in November. In her questionnaire, she explained her vote by saying she wanted deeper cuts "and funding for only core and mandated business operations."

Donahue is an appointed member of Libertyville's plan commission and zoning board of appeals. In an interview earlier this month, he told the Daily Herald he decided to run for the county board because he didn't like how Calabresa and other county officials acted during discussions about plans for the county campus last year.

The campus is on Winchester Road west of Milwaukee Avenue. The Winchester House nursing home, a sheriff's office substation, a permits building and other offices are on the site.

Donahue said changing the agreement regarding the land is his top priority. He cited no specific objections to the agreement itself.

He said he wants to require new public hearings and allow adjoining property owners to share their opinions on future county programs there, as well as traffic management.

Libertyville required the county to craft a master plan for its 172-acre campus as a condition of approval in 2007 of the Central Permit facility. The matter was debated in public hearings for more than a year and the village also hosted two public sessions.

Residents in the surrounding area were concerned about potential uses, such as parole and probation offices, that could compromise safety. The county made several concessions through the process, including increasing setbacks for building and parking, and also agreed not to build a correctional facility on the site.

Village leaders in November accepted the agreement.

The 15th District includes Libertyville and part of Mundelein.

The winner of the GOP primary will face three-time Democratic candidate Del Parra in the November general election.

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