Gregory Nelson of Montgomery thinks the current Kane County government has a case of the "I wants" when it comes to spending: It wants an expanded judicial center, a new computer system for the courts, raises for employees, land for forest preserves and more.
Officials should be looking at every single expenditure through the filter of "I need," he believes.
Nelson, a Republican, is running for the District 8 seat on the Kane County Board. His opponent is incumbent Jesse Vazquez, also of Montgomery.
"Chris (Lauzen) and I are lock in step on most things," Nelson says of the Republican candidate for county board chairman.
"It's tough to say 'no,' " Nelson says, but he has had practice, in running his computer software business. He is critical of the way the county handles even the smallest contracts, saying everything should be sent out for bid, no matter how small the cost, unless something is an emergency. "Pure and simple, I don't care," he says, regarding whether a contract is under the dollar threshold for needing bids.
And if elected department heads complain to the board they can't do what they are mandated by the state to do on the budget they are given, they will find him a tough sell. If state regulations are costing the county, "We need to stand up and say, 'Are you kidding?' " he says.
Even the forest preserve's acquisitions need to be reviewed, he said. "How much open land do we need? How much is that park really used?" Nelson asks.
• On purchasing a new court records system: Nelson says his computer and business expertise can be useful. He says the county should be negotiating for a discount if it buys a system off the shelf, and that it should consider banding with other counties shopping for a system, for savings by purchasing in bulk.
• Nelson agrees with the county freezing its property tax levy.
• He supports raising the pay of assistant state's attorneys and public defenders, but the money for raises must come from reductions elsewhere in the county budget, he believes.
• As for the proposed redevelopment of the old jail site and Settler's Hill landfill in Geneva, he thinks the county should hold off on spending any more money on the plan "until our economy is back on better footing."
• Nelson also thinks residents of the south end of the county have gotten the short end of the stick from county government. "It seems that we have gotten over the years less and less of the taxes collected back in project money. We should get our fair share and then some because of years of northern dollars spent," he wrote in a Daily Herald questionnaire.
"We should do just basic maintenance until the cash is there and we have a long-range plan in place that works for everyone. I think the task force did a good job, but I'm not 100 percent behind it until we can pay for it and know we are covered for today, tomorrow and many years to come," he wrote.
Nelson, 53, is married and has two children.