Campton Hills hopefuls mixed on response if state cuts $500,000
Six people seeking three seats on the Campton Hills village board have different views on what trustees should do if state lawmakers reduce shared income taxes, a move that could mean the village loses up to $500,000 per year.
Some believe Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposal to cut by 50 percent the share of the state income tax doled out to communities based on population as an opening salvo in negotiating cuts to help close the state budget gap.
Any cut in funding could have a greater effect on the village because it heavily relies on state funding and does not have a separate property tax.
Candidates Laura Andersen, Steven Galloway, Susan George, Michael O'Dwyer, Don Sheluga and Mike Turgeon have differing views and plans to deal with the proposed cuts from Rauner.
Some have suggested, under a worst-case scenario, the village would have to close its fledgling police department and rely on the Kane County sheriff's department for police protection as it did before incorporation in 2007.
"If that's what's necessary to live within our means, we have to look at all our options," Sheluga said.
Andersen believes the 50 percent proposal is a negotiating point for Rauner and the actual cut will be about 20 percent.
Andersen noted the village can only enact its own property tax if voters say so in a referendum.
"Rauner needs to realize he's affecting us more with what I call draconian cuts than other communities," said Andersen, who is on a slate with George and O'Dwyer.
"If Rauner cuts what he's going to cut, we're going to get creative," George said. "We are a creative team. I have no doubt that we will maintain the residents' wishes (not to have a village property tax)."
O'Dwyer said the village could weather a plan to cut 20 percent, or $220,000. He suggested a plan to pay off some village debt by using some of the village's reserves, thereby eliminating $88,000 in principal and interest each year, along with cutting legal fees to help bridge the gap.
"We can survive through this whole thing," he said.
Turgeon, who is running on a slate with Galloway and Sheluga, also sees the 50 percent as a "negotiating ploy" by Rauner.
Turgeon said the village needs to look at the revenue side as well, starting with issuing liquor licenses that have been put on hold due to trustees' infighting.
"It's both sides of the equation. Do we have to do some cutting? Yes. Is it going to be easy? No," he said. "It's both sides of the ledger."
Galloway said he would be willing to look at scaling back the police department on a short-term basis to avoid asking residents if they want a village levied property tax.
Early voting will continue through April 4. For a list of polling places, visit kanecountyelections.org.