Two men focused on government transparency and opposed to any tax increases are vying for the Kane County Board District 19 seat.
Kurt Kojzarek, a Republican, is a former Elgin Township trustee and current Elgin Township clerk. He said he comes to the race with answers different from someone who has been on the board for several terms but thinks that's a good thing.
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"When you're just coming up with the same solutions over and over again, you're really becoming more of the problem," Kojzarek said.
His opponent, Hidayat Khan, is a Democratic precinct chairman who says he is frustrated with hidden agendas of elected officials. Khan said his motto is transparency and his goal is to teach people about the impact the board has on residents' lives.
"I'm trying to build a bridge between the county board and the people," Khan said. "Most of the people, if I talk to them, they don't know how the county works, what the county is."
Kojzarek wants to start an online checkbook detailing county expenses to make it harder for departments to hide wasteful spending. He also supports a stricter ethics ordinance for employees and elected officials.
While neither candidate supports a property tax increase, there are initiatives they want to fund. Both think the computer system upgrade for the county courts is crucial to operations.
Khan said part of the county's surplus can go toward the purchase, though there is not nearly enough to cover the more than $12 million expense. Kojzarek said a new budgeting approach making each department justify every expenditure every year could find some extra money to put toward the software purchase. He also suggested increasing fees on those going through the court system, rather than raising taxes on everyone.
"I want to make sure the people who are using the courts are the ones really paying for it," Kojzarek said.
Kojzarek also said he would support proposed raises for the staffs of the state's attorney and public defender, as long as the money doesn't come from tax increases but is found through the zero-base budgeting.
Khan said the raises are an option, like other proposals, though he said he wouldn't have specifics until he was elected and able to have access to more information.
"If I get elected, the first thing I want to see is what is really necessary to run the county," Khan said. "If it's necessary, we can find some way to support it."
Kojzarek is Vice President of Marketing with Property Specialists Inc., a property management company based in Rolling Meadows. He grew up in Elgin.
Khan works for General Electric and moved to Elgin in 1990 from Pakistan.
District 19 covers portions of Elgin, Gilberts, Sleepy Hollow and Carpentersville.