Scott Johansen: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 15


Party: Democratic

Office sought: Kane County Board District 15

City: Campton Hills

Age: 70

Occupation: Retired business professional

Previous offices held: No public office


Q: Do you support an increase in the countywide retail sales tax to help pay for expenses related to the SAFE-T legislation? Yes/No? If yes, which SAFE-T-related expenses, specifically, should be covered with the additional tax? If no, how do you suggest paying for the increased expenses related to the SAFE-T legislation?

A: No. I have asked for an analysis of the cost/benefits from the KCB Finance committee and received some cost information. I have looked at the budget as it is proposed for 2023 and see staff additions but no savings at all. I believe this information is incomplete, at best. I would need more information to justify any increase in taxes.

Q: What should be done to retain county staff? If you propose increases in salaries or benefits, how should those added costs be covered?

A: I would not support any salary increase at this time. I would need to see specific information that has been gathered by the employees that are leaving to understand the issues. The two counties that I believe are receiving these staff are DuPage and Lake counties. Both of these counties are much larger than Kane and have more financial flexibility than Kane does.

If salary concessions are made in specific circumstances, it must be understood that that will not solve this shift of employees. It will continue as long as these surrounding communities are able to provide better employment opportunities and higher salaries. The solution to that issue lies in the reassessment of the Kane County budget generally - not patching it up by a fix that will worsen the tax burden of Kane County. It must be understood that Kane County is loosing its tax base currently. Increases in taxes will only accelerate that process.

Q: Do you believe the county auditor should be an elected or appointed position? Why? Are there any other countywide offices that are currently elected positions that you believe should be appointed instead? If so, please explain.

A: I believe the auditor should be appointed by an outside committee, independent of county government. Preferably by excellent academic institutions such as Northwestern or U Chicago.

Q: The county has seen an increase in truck traffic. How do you propose to address the infrastructure needs that come with this increase in traffic? Do you support a moratorium on warehouse developments in unincorporated areas of the county? Please explain.

A: I would propose that truck routes be established that route outside developed town areas such as St. Charles or Geneva. I would support a moratorium until a plan is in place that addresses safety issues and identifies specific areas that would have approved routes that would meet those standards.

Q: What direction do you think the county should move as it relates to its aging buildings? Build new or rehab existing buildings? Why and how would you propose the county pay for any new buildings or improvements?

A: Kane County must develop a formal policy for the transition out of the petroleum-based economy and into the Green Renewable economy. This needs a formal plan and a qualified technology leader capable of assessing the building infrastructure. Inflation is at 8.3% and will be slow to reach acceptable levels. Financial strain driven by poor energy policy will only increase near-term. This building revitalization plan must focus financial resources on implementation of a Green Energy transition in its buildings, automobile purchases and infrastructure development in support of that transition throughout our county. The plan will be multiyear and will have costs and savings associated with it. The transition to EV and/or hybrid automobile transportation are central, including all publicly purchased automobiles. Kane County needs to develop a plan that incorporates a modern approach to these issues.

Q: How do you think the county should spend the remaining COVID-19 relief funds?

A: I believe the county has approximately $50 million remaining. These resources should focus on a couple of areas: 1.) the development of a waste stream system analysis that will measure the presence of a multitude of diseases such as COVID and polio, which has re-emerged on the East Coast. It will enable these illnesses to be identified quickly and easily so remedial action can be taken, if appropriate. All public buildings should be on this system, including schools. 2.) the creation of a distributed distribution network for diagnosis of COVID and the ability to prescribe Paxlovid immediately, if test is positive.

Q: The COVID pandemic also put a spotlight on the need for mental health services. What role should the county play in this?

A: The county should meet with the leaders of the areas that have been impacted, such as schools and homeless shelters, food banks, the sheriff and police departments, hospitals etc. and identify the needs as they see them. I also believe that the epidemic of overdose deaths that are related to this issue should be addressed by making Narcan widely available.

This should include availability is schools, with training to nurses, homeless shelters and any area that has been identified as a hot spot by overdose site identification. Fentanyl test strips should also be made widely available to our community - free of charge - in order for the vulnerable users to be made aware of its presence.

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