Steve (Stephen) Smouse: Candidate Profile
Antioch Township Supervisor (4-year Term)
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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.
Website: Candidate did not respond.
Office sought: Antioch Township Supervisor (4-year Term)
Family: Married,one daughter, both parents, four brothers, one sister
Occupation: Antioch Township Supervisor, Licensed Insurance Agent, Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer.
Education: Antioch High School Class of 1970 Attended Millikin University 1970 - 1971 Graduated Worsham College, Chicago, Il 1978 Mortuary Science College of Lake County/ Victory Memorial Hospital EMT-A and Paramedic Class 1992 to 1994.
Civic involvement: President Antioch Hillside Cemetery Association Antioch Rescue Squad Paramedic 1992 retiring Feb 1, 2013 continuing as licensed retired member. Antioch Rotary Club 1984 to 2009 retired member. Friends of the Antioch Library. Former member of Village of Antioch Planning Commission until 1992. Former member of the Village of Antioch Arbor Day Committee
Elected offices held: Antioch Township Supervisor 1999 to present Antioch Township Trustee 1997 to 1999
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Keeping the township finances in the black as I have for the past 14 years. Our national, state and some local governments are trying to deal with overwhelming debt built up over decades of financial neglect. Our township taxes for what it needs and only spends what is necessary but never money we do not have. We suppliment with grants and volunteerism to move forward.
Key Issue 2
Continue assisting our citizens with programs we can afford. Our senior programs are always expanding with events done in house and also through existing programs such as the Il Secretary of States Super Senior drivers license program that we do twice each year (just completed last Friday) and the weekly Catholic Charities lunches. Completing Tim Osmond Sports Park and proceeding with the work on Vern Thelen Park with a Mud to Parks grant through the Fox Waterway Agency and the State of Illinois. These parks will be enjoyed by many generations to come, we had no township parks when I took office.
Key Issue 3
Continue our public safety projects. We have an active Antioch Township Public Safety Office at the Antioch First Fire Districts Station 3. Run by volunteers, we have a weather office with mostly donated equipment. We have erected four state of the art weather sirens in the township, (Emmons School, Grass Lake School, Antioch Township offices including Lake High School and Oakland Grade School and the bridge on Rt 173 at Webb's Boathouse between Lake Marie and Channel Lake). We have a grant in the pipeline for another at the Grass Lake Bridge on Grass Lake Road and we have a previously used siren for Tim Osmond Park. The communications tower will be erected this spring at station 3 and this will expand our weather and communications greatly. Public safety for people in the township is very important to me.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
Keep finances in the black by spending only as necessary. We froze the salaries of township elected officials for the next four years and lowered the twp tax levy by 2.5% this year. Continue to support the Northwest Demonstration Project. This is a project between Antioch, Grant, Lake Villa, Avon, Wauconda and Fremont Townships, Lake County Department of Transportation and the various agencies of PACE. This is a transportation suppliment to the PACE dial a ride service for seniors, the handicapped and the general public. Transportation will be a big issue in the future and we have positioned ourselves to be a part of the solution. This project has generated over 3200 one way trips during the first ten months of 2012 just from Antioch Township, more that 12,500 system wide. With support from our townships we can suppliment our federal grant to keep this program going. Support volunteerism and cooperation between government entities.We have partnered with other Townships, the Village of Antioch, Antioch High School Dist 117, Lake County, the Fox Waterway Agency and many others to accomplish much more that we can on our own. We also need to encourage our wonderful volunteers whether they be religious groups,the AHHA program for local citizen assistance, youth sports team coaches and parents, scout troops, school organizations, seniors, et al. They are a wonderful way to save tax money and encourage people helping people. Our country was built on these principals.,
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
Townships are in a unique position to help people at a local and personal level.We spend less per capita, township expenditures have grown at a lower rate than those of any other level of government in Illinois since 1992 according to the Wendell Cox Study of Illinois Townships. People can come to a local office, see people that they know and like and obtain direct help in times of need. We do more with less and still have time to help seniors, the needy, assess our properties and care for our roads. (Antioch Twp has 85 miles of roads.Now we are creating parks and working on transportation issues. We serve new roles all of the time.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
General Assistance, property assessment and township road maintenance and development. This is set by Illinois State Law.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
I constantly review every issue coming before the board to make sure that it makes economic sense. We lowered our tax rate by 2.5%, lowered the road district 5.5% and froze elected township officials salaries for the next four years. We use many volunteers in our programs. I personally take care of the mosquito larviciding for township catch basins,I use our township tractor to mow a portion of Tim Osmond Park and have my CDL to be a relief driver for snowplowing township roads and all of the plowing at the park. This is at no additional expense to the township.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
Background and experience are reflected in accomplishment. During my tenure at the township we have accomplished the following. Grants totalling greated than $2.5 million (grants do not need to be repaid) Built a new township center with the cooperation of High School Dist #117 and Lake Villa Township. Building was paid for when we moved in. Illinois First Grant with Rep. Tim Osmond. Built Tim Osmond Sports Park on 40 acres of township property adjacent to 40 acres of Village of Antioch Property and 80 acres controlled by Dist 117.This project has been ongoing for the past few years as we could afford to develop while coordinating three OSLAD grants totaling $1.4 million with the assistance of Rep. JoAnn Osmond. Mud to Parks program ongoing at Vern Thelen Park, 35 acres on Rena Av in cooperation with the Fox Waterway Agency. Meals on Wheels program for Antioch and Lake Villa provided a home at our new township building with office space for Catholic Charities to run the program. Initiated passport services. Established Public Safety Office and erected four weather and public safety sirens. I am certified in the National Incident Management System (NIMS 100,200,300,400,700,800) through command level. Established larvicide program at the beginning of the East Nile alert. I am the licensed applicator. Established senior programs with the new building with the help of former trustee Linda Pedersen (now county board member). Monthly trips and activities along with the popular senior picnic are ongoing now headed by trustee Anita Dyer. Became outlet for Salvation Army. Established township transit with Lake Villa and Grant Townships for local trips for seniors. Worked from the beginning as an offshoot of township transit for the Northwest Demonstration Project described above to expand transportation for the future. All the above plus more I have probably forgotten but always with the belief that the peoples tax money should be used conservatively and wisely. We have no debt, have no loans or bonds and in my hands we never will.
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