Bill Roth: 2024 candidate for Kane County Board District 12


Party: Republican

Office Sought: Kane County Board District 12

City: St. Charles

Age: 66

Occupation: Retired

Previous offices held: Kane County Board — District 12

Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?

Most people start volunteering when they retire. I am been volunteering for over twenty years. It was how I was raised. By being on the County Board I see myself raising the bar by being able to help more people. I represent all of the voters in my district but also help all of Kane County. Kane County is a very unique County.

Over 50% of our county's land is still Agricultural land. The East side of the County is urban, especially Elgin and Aurora. I believe we need to continue support both sides of the equation and continue to invest in the County organization to become efficient.

Our County has some great processes like how we are preserving farmlands from development by buying the developments rights so it will stay farmland forever. But their are some processes that show we are still running as a small rural county which we are not.

There is still room for improving our processes and becoming more efficient.

What experiences and background would you bring to the office and how do these affect the way you would serve on the county board?

From day one I have been meeting with almost all of the board members individually to get to know them. It is important we work together where we can agree on improvements that need to be made to make Kane County a better place.

My entire career was in the IT departments. Being a Finance major I worked on majority financial systems and financial reporting for large corporations, small companies and startup companies. The first thing I would always do is meet with the business to learn the business. Usually within 6 months or less I would become an export on the business processes. At the county, I have been meeting with the majority of the department heads and elected officials to learn the business of how the county operates. You have to know the business in order to be able to make good recommendations for improvements. You learn the real issues by talking to the departments. A lot of the issues are hidden from the board, you have to invest your time to learn the truths.

What do you consider the three most-serious issues facing the county and how would you address them?

1. Improve our County budget process. In 2023 the entire process was in a total state of chaos. I found I was one the few board member that understand the concept of budgeting. A lot of the board member do not understand the concepts, for those members we have to provide training. Also reporting Budget versus Actuals through out the year is critical.

2. Over the last 4 years the county has received millions of dollars from the Feds and the county has gotten use to having surplus money given to them. We have too easily expanded programs but will not have the funds available to pay for them once the money is gone. We have to start planning on fixing that now and not when we are in deficit spending. Raising taxes are not the answer. We have to find other funding.

3. The county has to decide what services are: Must Have or Nice to Have or Like to Have. Since money does not grow on trees, we need to decide now and let our voters know. We cannot be everything to everybody.

How do you rate the health of the county's financial system? Do you support any changes in the county's fiscal policies?

I would rate the health of our county’s financial system as poor. When you say financial systems I do not mean the computer application that the county uses but it the processes we use in our financial reporting. We are not currently following what I consider Best Practices.

The county is currently only supplying monthly GL transactions reports to the county board. Those reports are too detailed and the majority of the board does not even look at them.

I have started recommending that the county go to “Exception Base” reporting on a monthly basis by department. An example of “Exception Base” reporting is that each department supply a monthly report showing Actuals versus Budget along with dollar differences and percentage changes. each department then need to provide explanations for over or underage’s when they exceed a predetermined percentage or dollar amount.

The term fiscal policies is currently being misused. It should be a guideline and not a hard and fast rule.

Why are you the best person to serve in this role?

I am willing to invest the time in the work that needs to done. The current board member position is considered a part time position. To do a good job in this position you need to invest and dedicate the time in order to be successful. Something I have been doing in my 14 months that I have been on the board. One example: I am only on 4 committees but I attend almost all of the 20 committees meeting every month in person. It the best way to learn and it helps to know the details ahead of time before it comes before the full board meeting. In the later meeting we then do not have to spend time asking the same questions that were asked in the prior meetings. Some of our county board meetings run way too long (more than 4 hours) because some of our board members do not do the necessary homework ahead of time on what has occurred in lower level committee meetings, so they then ask the same questions that have already been asked.

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