Maggie Auger: Candidate Profile
Kane County board District 23 (Republican)
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: Kane County board District 23
Age: Candidate did not respond.
Family: I am married to Ray Auger. We have two adult children.
Education: Juris Doctorate, Northern Illinois University, College of Law Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education, Northern Illinois University
Civic involvement: Candidate did not respond.
Elected offices held: Kane County Board, District #23 - 2010-current
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
Fiscal Responsibility- As your representative on the Kane County Board my primary duty is to ensure that your tax dollars are utilized in the most effective manner. Last year the County Board maintained a flat levy and we seek to do the same for 2013. Kane County also continued to have strong financial reserves and conservative financial management. Departments have been reorganized to become more cost efficient. If re-elected, I will continue to steward the taxpayer?s money. By law, the Kane County Budget needs to be balanced on an annual basis. Kane County has earned an AA+ bond rating by Standard and Poor?s. The County places a high level of importance on its bond ratings and financial position so that when needed, we can borrow money at a lower rate and maintain fiscal responsibility. The Kane County Forest Preserve District?s bond rating was also elevated to an AA+ by Standard and Poor?s. This allowed the District to borrow at a lower rate when purchasing additional properties for the Forest Preserve District as approved by the voters of Kane County in 2010 and in 2012 was able to refinance some of the debt at a lower rate.
Key Issue 2
Economic Development & Transportation Issue- Economic growth and business development is key to the future of Kane County. We need to promote job growth in our community, partner with the local municipalities, and encourage businesses to locate within our borders. Partnering with the local colleges could provide training and education that residents need for these jobs. We need to encourage manufacturing companies to locate in Kane County. Some logical locations would be off the I-90 or the I-88 corridor. Economic Development can occur when you have the necessary transportation infrastructures in place. Transportation is multi-jurisdictional. Kane County must continue to work with surrounding municipalities, townships, counties, and the State of Illinois to provide long term intergovernmental planning. Planning should include roads, bridges, public transportation, bike paths, car pools and future considerations for alternate fuel automobiles. Kane County Transportation Department is proceeding forward with the Longmeadow Parkway/Bolz Road Bridge in the northern portion of Kane County. However, need to look at various sources of funding for this project, which may include the Motor Fuel Taxes, the Transportation Sales Taxes along with Federal, State and local municipal contributions. In 2013, Phase II engineering and additional acquisition of Right ?of-way is incorporated into the transportation budget. We need to proceed with building the road in sections at the local level and incorporating the bridge project as a multi-governmental project. Public transportation needs to improve and expand to minimize congestion and provide transportation options to the residents. Currently, Kane County is considering a Bus Rapid Transit System for the Randall Road and Orchard Road corridor system. This system could provide Kane County with congestion mitigation and economic development as businesses prefer to locate in areas supported by public transportation. I would like to see public transportation from the North end of the County to the South end of Kane County.
Key Issue 3
Quality of Life Issue- Water Supply Planning- Many of us moved to Kane County because of the quality of life that exists here including the open space, active and passive green space, the Fox River and our water supplies from ground water or the Fox River. We have a responsibility to preserve, maintain, and steward our natural resources in this area for future generations. While we have a responsibility to future generations, our natural resources also gives Kane County a competitive edge for attracting businesses and people who desire to make Kane County their home. In particular, we need to preserve and protect the quality and quantity of our ground water and surface water. We are not able to get water from Lake Michigan. Most of our water comes from local wells or the Fox River. The depletion of groundwater is a concern that we must address now. While growth has slowed over the last few years, the Illinois State Water Survey indicated that with the current population growth trend through the year 2049, the associated water demand increase will cause critical water supply issues in the deep aquifers, shallow aquifers and surface water supplies. Further, according to the Regional Water Supply Planning Group, without improved conservation and water resource management, significant water shortages could result due to the continued growth in our region. Currently I am the alternate for Kane County on the Northwest Water Planning Alliance. I work to protect the quality of ground water, foster intergovernmental communications for water conservation as well as promote water conservation in the private sector. Individuals, governments, businesses and developers should participate in water conservation techniques. The availability of clean water for future residential and commercial use is critical.
Did the county board get it right when they decided to leave an ethics ordinance that is more stringent but more open to a legal challenge in place? Would you support the creation of more detailed economic interest statements?
I support an Ethics Ordinance with full disclosure that is enforceable under the Illinois Election Code. I voted for the Amended and Restated Ordinance at the June 2012 county board meeting, however it did not pass. At that meeting I proposed an amendment to add an administrative fee of up to $5000.00 in addition to the fines imposed in the Ordinance. This was intended to be a deterrent to violating the Ordinance. Although the proposed Amended Ordinance with additional amendments was not approved by the current board, the Ethics Ordinance may be revisited after the upcoming elections and a new administration with new board members. In addition to the Ethics Ordinance, there are other processes in place to help flag potentially unethical behavior. All elected and appointed officials are required to file a written Statement of Economic Interests. I would support the creation of a more detailed Economic Interest Statement. Kane County?s website is rated A+. It is among the best in the State for transparency and proactive disclosure in government by the Sunshine Review, a non profit site that monitors and evaluates governmental information. Kane County conducts an annual audit by an outside CPA firm which looks for any misstatements or risks of fraud. In addition, elected officials who receive more than $3,000.00 in campaign contributions are required to file financial reports concerning contributions, receipts and expenditures with the State Board of Elections. This information can be inspected by anyone on-line at the Illinois State Board of Elections. My statements are disclosed there as well as at my website, www.maggieauger.com.
Would you support the buildout of the shell space in the Kane County jail if it could be shown that the space could/would be used to increase profits from housing federal inmates?
Kane County currently has a contract to house federal detainees for the U.S Marshall. According to the Sheriff?s Department, the US Marshall pays the county approximately $88.00 a day per detainee, however, the cost to house each federal detainee is approximately $60.00 per day. There is also the expense to transport the detainee to and from the jail. When the jail is full, the county needs to house our overflow county prisoners elsewhere at a cost to us of approximately $60.00 per day. There is an additional cost to transfer these inmates and to house them elsewhere. Before committing to building out the shell space, there are many factors that need to be considered. I would support a fiscal impact study to determine the cost effectiveness of proceeding ahead with the build out of the shell space. In addition to the above factors, other factors that need to be investigated would be the cost of the capital improvements necessary for the build out, a funding source for these capital improvements, the cost to staff the facility, and other on going expenses. The study should contrast the projected revenues against the expenses to determine if it would be cost effective. Further, the impact to the surrounding community and safety of the local residents should also be considered.
Do you believe the county court system needs a computer system upgrade that might cost as much as $12.6 million? If so, do you support using RTA sales tax money to fund it, or do you have a different plan? If not, what is your alternative plan?
The current Case Management System dates back to the early 2000?s. The current system is considered an antique in the technology world and by users. There are more advanced case management systems available today that cost less, are more powerful and cost efficient. This is a capital improvement that needs to be viewed as an investment. A Technology Commission has been set up to research what systems are available, what type of system is best suited for Kane County and the costs associated with the system. A new system could reduce county expenses by automating services that will benefit everyone who uses the court system. Anyone involved with a court case should be able to access the system and obtain information related to the status of a court case, fines to be paid, and court dates. A new system would be more cost efficient to all departments that use the system. Currently each department has to input data related to every arrest or legal case. This results in duplicate effort which is costly to the county. With an updated and integrated system, the basic data can be input once and available to the various departments including the Sheriffs office, the Judiciary system, the States Attorneys office and the Defense Attorneys office. An updated system would allow reports and statistics to be generated to assist each department in an ongoing effort to reduce costs. We cannot get this type of data with the current system. The new system needs to meet the needs of the current demand as well as the ability to meet future demands of the judicial system and the Sheriff?s office and save the taxpayers money. The mass transit sales tax money earmarked for capital projects relating to the promotion of public safety would be one source of revenue for the computer system; however, at most only 15% of the money collected can be used for public safety capital expenses. There have been some recent discussions to earmark 6% of these funds to help fund a new Case Management System. I would support using a portion of the RTA sales tax money to fund this capital expense. In addition, we should also explore whether increases in circuit court clerk filing fees which are due to go into effect after the November election can be used to fund this capital expenditure.
Do you support the call by the state's attorney and public defender for raises for their staffs? Where should that money come from?
The State?s Attorneys office and the Public Defenders Office provide a valuable service to Kane County residents. These States Attorneys are mandated by the Illinois Constitution to represent the people of Illinois in the prosecution of criminal matters and they also represent the County in Civil matters. The Public Defender?s Office represents those individuals that have been accused of a crime which carries potential jail time and that person cannot afford to retain private counsel. This office handles all varieties of criminal matters from traffic to murders. As such we must ensure we hire and retain qualified attorneys. Studies have shown our Assistant States Attorneys and Public Defenders are underpaid as compared to other local counties and other counties throughout our state. The key question though is whether it is more effective and efficient to pay attorneys who perform at high levels more money in the expectation of retaining them, or is it more cost effective to continually replace, train and give attorneys court experience only to loose them to counties that pay more and have smaller case loads. I would support reasonable raises for attorneys in the Kane County Court system positions who have demonstrated high performance. I would encourage a competitive pay grade system. However, I would not support raises for underperforming attorneys. In the long run, these increased wages would be a cost savings to the County and to the taxpayers. The turnover rate would be reduced, eliminating the need for continual training. Experienced Assistant States Attorneys are more effective and efficient in the Court room by getting the cases through the system quicker so there are fewer prisoners waiting in jail. The money for these raises should come from within the court system. There will be increased filing fees which will go into effect after the new circuit court clerk is elected in November that can be used to fund these salary increases. There is also an increase in automation and document storage fees that will increase revenues. In addition, there is a cost savings by reducing the turnover of attorneys thereby reducing the need for a continual hiring process and training process.
What aspects of the Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus redevelopment vision created by the task force do you support? What should happen to the old county jail property?
The Fabyan/Settlers Hill campus redevelopment plan combines property owned by the Kane County Forest Preserve, the County of Kane, and private individuals. Many decades ago there was a promise to the area residents and taxpayers that the landfill would one day be redeveloped into a recreational area for the residents to enjoy. The proposed plan attempts to add to the recreational amenity already there. The plan has been subject to review by several different stakeholders and the general public. This area has been known for its ?active recreation? with a baseball stadium, hockey rink and golf course. I would support additional proposed recreational amenities such as the overlook and observatory, cross country trails, multi-purpose trails, winter sports and event venues. I believe these would all be welcome additions to the property. However, I am of the opinion that the west end, the Fabyan Woods area, should remain undeveloped in order to preserve the dense tree area and allow for an element of open space in the plan. The next steps for this project would be a formal open house/public hearing, a fiscal impact study to determine the costs of adding the proposed amenities, and an environmental study to see if this proposal is feasible. Since this is a unique site that was previously a landfill, the redevelopment plan will need to identify areas that require Waste Management?s concerns and continued maintenance of the property. The old county jail property could be sold to a private developer and developed to enhance the total plan, or it could be sold to the Kane County Forest Preserve for additional open space, or the parcel could be used to house a Kane County Settlement site.