rochelle corso: Candidate Profile
Addison Township Supervisor
Back to Addison Township Supervisor
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.
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Family: Married 34 years to Chris Corso, the best person I've ever known.
Delighted matriarch of a family including Jennifer and Christopher Corso Jr., 31; Mark, 27. Giddy grandmother of Quinn, 4.
Occupation: Freelance Writer
Education: B.A., Loyola University
M.A., Northeastern University
Civic involvement: 20 Year Volunteer, Senior Services, Kenneth Young Center;
Secretary, Addison Township Democratic Organization;
Member, Parkview Community Church
Member/Player; Levy Center Senior Women's Basketball
Elected offices held: Secretary, Addison Township Democratic Organization.
Name the three most important goals or objectives this board should tackle in the coming term. Prioritize them, and briefly discuss why you believe each to be critical, and how the board should go about addressing them.
In the past, township government was necessary to serve as a liaison between rural areas and distant local and state governmental bodies. That need no longer exists. However, changing the township structure is difficult as I will explain below. As a result, townships must fulfill their obligations professionally, with the utmost diligence and respect for all residents.
Today, townships are charged with providing general assistance to qualified residents, maintaining roads and bridges and assessing property taxes.
I believe goals for Addison Township can be set in the following order:
1. Taxes need to be assessed fairly and accurately to appropriately distribute the tax levy and not unfairly unburden any individual tax payer.
2. Roads and bridges should be maintained to the highest standards, with a close eye trained on safety, longevity and cost-per-mile.
3.General assistance to those in need (as prescribed by state and federal parameters) must be administered in the form of financial aid, food pantry, case-management and other methods.
Duplicative efforts and programs may exist and can be consolidated.
All struggling residents deserve the highest level of service we can provide to be delivered in the most efficient manner.
What should be the primary responsibility of township government?
The goals and responsibilities of township government are linked. Here are some methods to accomplish the goals listed above.
1. The most important responsibility of the Township is to be responsive to its constituents. Communication within Addison Township could be vastly improved, including through the use of regular electronic newsletters, as well as open weekly meetings and frequent town-halls with community members invited to attend.
The highest value should be placed on governmental transparency, including listing of budgets, expenditures and salaries on-line.
2 . An overview of all department budgets, staffing levels and current practices can be conducted, comparing this information to other townships and making adjustments as appropriate.
For example, the township's current budget includes funding for a Weed Commissioner. This part-time, salaried position could potentially be replaced m as a paid internship for a high school or community college student interested in horticultural studies.
Under my leadership, all departments would seek out efficiencies and best practices, while I investigated and wrote grant proposals to provide additional revenue for the Township.
3.In a discussion I had with Chris Kain, tax assessor, he suggested conducting a comprehensive review of real estate taxes in unincorporated areas to more fairly evaluate property values. As supervisor, I would insist this review take place immediately. Such a review would work in tandem with Kain's report last year that nearly 1000 people appealed their tax bills.
In the 21st Century, with municipalities gobbling up vacant land, why are townships needed? Should they be serving a new role? If so, what?
I believe townships functions could be absorbed by other governmental bodies.
However, it will take a ballot initiative (10 percent of residents in each township within DuPage County must petition) to put this question on the ballot.
Then, a majority of voters in each township would have to vote "yes" to achieve dissolution of township government.
At this time, I believe the nation's political will and attention is turned elsewhere.
Therefore, we need to make township government as functional, beneficial and accountable as possible. It must be streamlined to provide as many mandated services as possible as cost-effectively as possible.
Several township governments could potentially work together, each specializing in a particular township function.
It may also be possible to outsource some township functions to local municipalities at significant cost savings. For example, Naperville Township's voters recently and unequivocally voted "yes" to dissolving the township structure in a non-binding election. Other governmental entities then stepped in to offer the same highway services that Naperville Township provides at significantly lower cost. Addison Township officials may be able to investigate alternate and creative ways to lower township costs.
Are there any township offices that should be eliminated or consolidated?
At this time, I don't believe any township offices can be eliminated. The assessor's work is demanding, the supervisor oversees the township budget and the Highway Supervisor is needed to assure our roads are safe to travel. Board members are elected to oversee and evaluate township officials' budgets and activities, as well as provide ideas and serve as a sounding board.
However, township salaries should be subject to review. Given current difficult fiscal conditions, I would recommend a five to ten percent decrease in all salaries, where not prohibited by law, as well as a 50% reduction in the salary for Township Supervisor. (As of 2014, the Supervisor earned just under $60,000 for a job not classified as full-time).
Can you identify some township expenses/programs that could be trimmed or eliminated to reduce the tax burden?
A comprehensive review of employees and services would shed light on the necessity for trimming programs.
For example, the township currently provides qualifying residents low-cost RTA vouchers and participates in the Rideshare DuPage program, while at the same time employing drivers and maintaining township vehicles to provide transportation to some residents upon request
These multiple efforts appear to serve the same purpose and may be redundant.
Also, as mentioned above, there may be room to trim (pun intended) positions such as Weed Commissioner or at least reconfigure duties, salary and title.
What other issues, if any, are important to you as a candidate for this office?
In 2016, Highway Supervisor Richard Kaske reported that Addison Township's recycling program was extremely popular.
In spite of that report, later that same year, the recycling facility hours were reduced from six days a week (five in the winter), to Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to noon. I believe this popular program should be reinstated to at least two days a week and with extended hours.
There were some abuses to the program, and as a result, the Township now pays a Highway Department employee to sit and monitor the recycling center.
Recently, I observed a township highway vehicle parked in front of the recycling bins with a highway employee sitting inside.
While monitoring the facility may be necessary, this might be another example in which a high school or community college student, or a community member in need of a job, may serve in that capacity.
Please name one current leader who most inspires you.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who has led non-violent action for political change in Myanmar.
What is the biggest lesson you learned at home growing up?
Truth, faith, hope and love will never fail you. Generosity pays back beyond measure. Education and knowledge are not the same but both are invaluable.
If life gave you one do-over, what would you spend it on?
Since it is beyond my intellectual power to cure any life-threatening disease, I would begin volunteering at an earlier age and travel more.
What was your favorite subject in school and how did it help you in later life?
I decided at seven that I loved reading and writing. I once despaired that all the good stories had already been written, but maybe not.
If you could give your children only one piece of advice, what would it be?
It's not about you. It's so not about you. It's about all of us, together, taking care, loving and lifting each other up.