J. Hudgens: Candidate Profile
Elgin Township Board (4-year Terms)
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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.
Office sought: Elgin Township Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married for 36 years to Deborah Hudgens Three adult Children- Liza, Meredith & Andrew One Grandchild
Occupation: Heating, Air Conditioning & Ventilation Contractor and President of Elgin Sheet Metal Co.
Education: Attended Southern Illinois University (1970 - 1973)
Civic involvement: Elgin YMCA Youth Volunteer Basketball Coach Salvation Army Volunteer Youth Basketball & Soccer Coach Elgin Classic Little League Baseball & Softball Coach City of Elgin Property Maintenance Appeals Board (Past Chairman City of Elgin Heating Commission (Present Chairman) City of Elgin Building Commission (Present Chairman) First Baptist Church of Elgin, Past Treasurer and Past Chairman Board of Trustees Past President of Larkin High School Athletic Booster Club (1994-1996) Rotary Club of Elgin (Noon), Past President of (1993-1994) Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce, Past Chairman of Board of Directors (2003) Northeastern Illinois Sheet Metal Contractors Association (NISMACNA) Trustee (1979 to present) NISMACNA Labor Committee, Past Chairman (1999 through 2011) NISMACNA Labor Committee, Past Chief Contract Negotiator (1999 through 2010) Sheet Metal Workers Local #265 Joint Apprentice Training, Trustee (1981 to present) Sheet Metal Workers Local #265 Health & Welfare Funds, Trustee (2005 to present)
Elected offices held: Republican Precinct Committeeman Elgin Precinct 46 (2000-2004) Elgin Township Trustee(1997 - Present)
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Flat or declined Home values and the Elgin Township Property Tax rate. Elgin Township must deliver high value for the tax payer dollar.
Key Issue 2
Reduced funding from State of Illinois and how that effects our local Mental Health and Social Service Agencies. Local service provider agencies are getting far less and yet the needs have increased during these hard economic times.
Key Issue 3
Identifying and Exploring items with-in yearly Township budgets to possibly trim. Trustees must audit each item with-in our yearly budget to ensure all expenses are kept to the minimum.
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.
1. Trustees must keep the Township Tax Levee and Tax Rate as low as possible and still provide much needed services to the Mental Health and Social Service needs with-in Elgin Township. Tax payers have been effected like never before as home values have shrunk but still are paying same or greater property tax bills. (mostly due to other much larger taxing bodies) We must do all we can for the Elgin Township Taxing body to ensure we do not raise Township controlled taxes during these had felt economic times. On the other hand, at the same time many of the social needs with-in our community have increased. Elgin Township must still provide for the needs of those that require help during most desperate times. 2. The constant reduction of State & Federal Funding for many local Mental Health and Social Service Agencies has caused many of local agencies to cut or drop some services. The Elgin Township Trustees need to continually identify the most needed community services and provide what help we can to keep minimal services available for those in need. 3. Each Year Trustees must work with the Supervisor to find areas of the budget that can be trimmed with-out putting much needed services at risk. Also Trustees must assist in determining the value of proposed new and existing Elgin Township Programs. Trustees should work to promote partnerships with existing local Provider Agencies to provide the highest value of services and the lowest possible cost to the tax payers. Taxpayers expect and deserve stringent financial accounting of their tax dollars and spending within approved budget guidelines. In auditing township bills, trustees provide the mechanism for a fiscal "checks and balances" that guards against misappropriation of funds, spending abuses and potential fraud.
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 need to provide only the essential services that are presently legislated by the State of Illinois. The past "gobbling" up of vacant land has been non existent over the past several years and few municipal governments are taking over vacant land. Townships need not make our government larger, but provide the basic services for the Local Residents. Legislation provides that townships provide only certain services. These services are best served by townships. Townships are able to respond quickly to needs with very little bureaucratic burdens (like that of State or even County governments.) Townships are best equipped to respond quickly to those in need.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
Township Government's primarily responsibilities are the three area's that are legislated by the Illinois Statutes (Administering a General Assistance Program to qualifying residents, Maintaining the Township Road District Highways and Bridges, and appraising Township Property values.) Township Government provides services that fall outside of other areas of government. Townships are also given a variety of statutory responsibilities which are somewhat lesser known but equally important. Among these services are environmental, senior services and youth services. Township Government can provide quick response to the needs of the elderly, the poor and to those with mental health issues that the State of Illinois leaves to local government to care for.
In these hard economic times, can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
The only services that could be trimmed or eliminated are our Assistance to mental health concerns, youth programs and programs for seniors. I am NOT in favor of trimming or eliminating and these vital services or partnerships we have developed and maintained over the years. These are essential for those that are receiving help in this area. For example, in part of our Youth Programs, we are providing funding for food through our Youth Back-Pack program in partnership with Northern Illinois Food Bank. In most cases, this food is the only stable nourishment provided for these children.
What specific background or experience do you bring that makes you the best qualified candidate to serve as an elected official in the township?
I am an experienced and dedicated leader for Elgin Township and that qualification has history in this office which I hold and am seeking once again. My record speaks for itself in community involvement from charitable organizations to U-46 schools, always trying to support our community's activities. I support those causes which need assistance when other avenues seem to close. One of my strongest assets is budget development and knowing how to handle critical decision making during these difficult budget times. I was born in Elgin lived here for 40 plus years, both east and west side. My past leadership at Elgin Township shows the voters they can count on me to do what's right and continue to represent in the strongest way possible. Finally my past record of leadership at Elgin Township can be clearly seen in my willingness to listen to those seeking help, issues brought before the board that require fair and even consideration. Experience as an elected township official and knowing what needs to be done for Elgin's greater good is one of my best qualifications I bring to this candidacy
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