Adam Schlick: 2022 candidate for Lake County Board District 2


Party: Republican

Office sought: Lake County Board District 2

City: Wauconda

Age: 40

Occupation: Battalion chief, Wauconda Fire District

Previous offices held: Village of Wauconda trustee


Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?

A: I'm running for Lake County Board because I'm passionate about public service and believe strongly that elected officials should be experienced community leaders who are committed to solving problems and offer residents a transparent, pragmatic, and results-oriented approach.

If elected, my focus will be on several priority areas. The first will be to maintain solid fiscal policies and balanced budgets, especially with the impact of inflation. The second focus area will be to ensure that we do everything we can to grow and revive the economy coming out of the global pandemic. Next, I will make sure that the county board supports the Lake County Sherriff's Department in a way that promotes public safety. Fourth, we must continue to enhance the Lake County Forest Preserves through improvements of current properties. Last, you'll often hear me say I'm focused on people over politics. What this means is advocating for voters' best interests - versus certain agendas or affiliations.

Q: If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?

A: If elected, I will prioritize working closely with the various department heads (e.g., head of finance, head of transportation) to learn more about their operations and work together to find opportunities for improvements and advancements. An elected official should be committed to learning about every facet of government operations. We don't need someone making millions of dollars' worth of decisions who isn't willing to get in the trenches and truly understand what drives the county forward.

While I have yet to serve on the county board, currently I serve as a trustee on the Wauconda village board, a position I've held since 2017. During my service, the Wauconda Village Board has completed many major initiatives, including the successful shift to Lake Michigan water; the approval of a five-year strategic plan; and the distribution of funds to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: Given the recent history of flat tax levies, do you think the county/forest preserve have done good jobs of budgeting or do you see specific area that can be improved?

A: It should be the goal of all elected officials to keep the levy as flat as possible and the budget balanced.

However, I am concerned that in order to keep the levy flat, the board has made the choice to defer certain expenses to a later date. While I appreciate their commitment to flat tax levies, we all know that when you "kick the can down the road," it eventually catches up to you. And in most cases, this deferred approach leads to local units of government having to impose new taxes and fees on residents, like the gas tax.

I would prefer we focus on short-, medium- and long-range planning that identifies upcoming capital expenses and allocate resources to them today while finding ways to reduce existing expenses where possible through enhanced efficiencies.

This balanced approach helps residents today by keeping the levies flat and helps residents in the future so they don't get surprised with undue financial burdens due to the Board's inability to plan in a holistic way.

Q: Would you support putting a referendum on the ballot for voters to decide if they wish to issue new bonds to preserve open spaces, restore habitats, create more trails and upgrade forest preserves?

A: The forest preserves are a vital asset to our community and one of the many reasons Lake County is a wonderful place to live.

Given their importance, it is critical that these preserves are accessible and well-maintained and have the amenities our taxpayers are looking for. It is only right to give voters the opportunity to have their voices heard about what they expect from the preserves.

Equally important, taxpayers must be clearly informed as to the costs associated with issuing bonds to fund preserve upgrades.

The wording on referendums can be intentionally ambiguous to confuse voters and not tell them the true financial impact. Taxpayers deserve full transparency, and my focus would be on ensuring voters have all the facts available to make the right choice for themselves and their families.

Q: What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?

A: Feedback from residents I have spoken to has a common theme - they don't feel listened to. I believe this is the single most important issue facing District 2.

Specific examples of this include a new burning ban and a consolidated waste hauler agreement, both of which impacted residents in unincorporated Lake County and were met with significant dissatisfaction.

It's clear that residents are frustrated with the board's lack of engagement and lack of action.

Positive change starts by listening to more ideas and more voices, and by putting the mechanisms in place to address any areas where there's a gap between residents' expectations and what the county offers.

I am always eager to listen to residents' input. I have been serving Lake County residents in various capacities for nearly two decades. Throughout that time, I have seen firsthand that incorporating more direct feedback from residents into policies leads to policies that are more successful and more widely adopted.

Q: Lake County officials want public feedback on how to spend portions of some $135 million in leftover federal pandemic funding. What are your thoughts on how the money ought to be spent?

A: I have been closely following all activities associated with Lake County's receipt of $135.2 million as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. I will start by commending the board on the numerous great initiatives proposed in its 2022 Recovery Plan aimed at helping our county fully recover from the pandemic and emerge stronger. However, my concern is that this money will be used to create programs that are not sustainable without future tax increases. The money should be used to help businesses that are still recovering from the pandemic and should also be spent on infrastructure investments that would benefit all residents, such as roadway improvements.

I also suggest the county allocate some of those funds to special taxing districts, like park districts, that didn't receive money from the federal government. Many of these special taxing districts provide front-line services to residents. By helping these special districts, we can directly help more residents.

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