Scott Helton: Candidate Profile
Lake County board District 12
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Lake Forest
Office sought: Lake County board District 12
Family: Wife- Janet C. Helton/Married 1983.
Occupation: Property Tax Administrator- Finkel, Martwick & Colson/1983 to present.
Education: Illinois State University-Bachelor Degree/Political Science-1973. Appraisal Institute-SRA Designation-1979.
Civic involvement: Lake County Board of Review Advisory Committee (2009-present). Adhoc Barat Campus Advisory Committee/Lake Forest Glenview Naval Air Station Redevelopment Committee.
Elected offices held: Village Trustee/Glenview (1977 to 1989). President/Lake Forest Caucus (2002-2003).
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No.
Key Issue 1
Real Estate Taxes. Streamline the property tax appeal process. Create an online property tax appeal system. Make the appeal process easier for Senior Citizens by scheduling Board of Review hearings at the respective Township Offices.
Key Issue 2
Create Jobs. Aggressively recruit businesses from higher tax counties. Develop tax incentives to encourage new businesses into Lake County while working to retain existing businesses. Establish a "Fast Track" permitting process to help businesses
open up faster.
Key Issue 3
Fiscal Responsibility. Privatize certain county functions, such as Winchester House. Utilize intergovernmental agreements to save money on joint purchasing, and providing services. Institute zero-based budgeting to ensure every dollar is being spent in an efficient manner.
The county remains in the black, but property taxes across the region are high. Should programs be cut to save taxpayers money? If so, which ones and why?
Property taxes are high in Illinois due to the fact that we have more units of local government that any other State in the Union. We must encourage units of local government to work together to more efficiently use our hard earned tax dollars. As the former Chairman of the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center (RED), in Glenview (centralized dispatching of fire apparatus and ambulance equipment for 6 fire departments), I recognize that government has the ability to work with one another to provide more cost effective and better service to our residents. As a County Board Member, I intend to work with the entire Lake County Board and Lake County Officials, to systematically review ways we can streamline our services with other units of government.
What should be done with the Fort Sheridan golf course? If no building or management proposals come back from vendors, do you propose abandoning golf? If so, are you concerned about a lawsuit? If you propose building a course, how should it be funded?
Six (6) years ago, I proposed that the Forest Preserve District should put the Fort Sheridan Golf Course project out to bid, with the requirement that the golf course to be constructed be a "Championship Caliber" facility that would not adversely effect the surrounding municipal golf courses (i.e. The Glen Club, which I was involved with as a member of the GNAS Redevelopment Committee). Under my plan, no Lake County tax dollars would have been used to design, build and operate this facility. The LCFPD recently requested bids from the private sector to develop a 9 hole course at Fort Sheridan, but no bids were received. Currently, the Fort Sheridan Golf Course site has been improved with walking paths, and is growing into a special natural area. My wife and I enjoy our walks at this beautiful site. The current use appears to be the logical use of the property at this point in time.
We should never govern over the fear of a lawsuit because anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone at any time whether
it has merit or not. If there is a determination that an action has a significant potential for substantial liability, that is another matter. We must make decisions in the best interest of the taxpayers of Lake County.
The Winchester House nursing home recently was turned over to a private company for operation. Should other county or forest district departments be privatized to save taxpayers money? Please explain.
I publicly stated six (6) years ago that we need to privatize the operations at the Winchester House, a skilled nursing facility, run by Lake County. Rarely do government entities do well in running medical or long term care facilities in an efficient manner. I am glad to see the County Board has taken the steps to turn this operation over to the private sector which already is saving Lake County taxpayers over $1,750,000 per year. Each option for privatization at the County level should be examined on a case by case basis to predict the likelihood of cost savings and efficiency.
Is there a specific type of service or amenity that is lacking in your district? If so, how do you propose to provide and fund that?
Once again, the service that is lacking in my District, and all Districts, is a way to easily appeal property taxes. To put the system online would allow for a reduction in staff, which could be used to offset the increased cost of computer hardware and software.
Should the county continue to pursue open space policies' Why or why not?
We must look for economical ways to improve upon our open spaces. As a member of the Lake County Forest Preserve, I will strive to enact a plan that informs and encourages all of our residents to better utilize the open space opportunities already available. In these tough economic times we should be careful when acquiring additional open space land; we need to evaluate the cost of acquiring and maintaining open space land before we make any financial commitments of taxpayer dollars.
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