Andrew Frasz: Candidate profile, Kane County Board District 18
Incumbent Republican Andrew Frasz of Elburn is being challenged by Democrat Sandy Kaczmarski of Elburn for Kane County Board District 18 in the Nov. 3 general election.
Frasz, an owner of a small construction and excavating business, has served on the board since 2008. He has been a member of the LaFox Civic Organization since 2000.
District 18 covers parts of Elburn, Kaneville, Maple Park and North Aurora.
For a map of the district, visit countyofkane.org.
The Daily Herald recently asked the candidates to answer a series of questions. Here are Frasz's replies.
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
A. As a lifelong resident of Kane County, I really enjoy the county board and the work we do. I know the county well and enjoy the individual character of our communities, large and small, as well as the rural areas. As Transportation Committee Chairman for the last eight years, I want to take the Longmeadow Parkway project to its conclusion in the next year. Also, as one of the board members who initiated the construction of the new multipurpose building which includes a new coroner's office, I would like to see that to conclusion also. (I am part of the construction management team.)
Q. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
A. See above. District 18 is one of the busiest districts and has its share of transportation, development, and forest preserve issues. I led negotiations between Marklund School and its neighbors on their expansion. I led discussion and negotiations between LaFarge Corp. and its neighbors on the expansion of the gravel pit south of Elburn. I saw to the completion of the Anderson Road bridge and highway in Elburn. I led negotiations between Shodeen and the neighbors of the build out of the Mill Creek downtown area. And I oversee the operations of the Mill Creek Special Service Area. Currently, I am a member of the Kane County Board Coronavirus Relief Fund Committee and have directed funds to municipalities, fire districts, libraries, businesses and not-for-profits in my district and throughout the county.
Q. Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them. In particular in the suburbs, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle has set a goal of eliminating unincorporated areas from county oversight. Do you agree with this approach? If so, how should the county go about it?
A. I have been on the board for almost 13 years that included the Great Recession and the coronavirus, so we have been on a very tight budget for my whole elected career. I am proud that we are frugal and have frozen the counties portion of the tax levy for 8 years straight. The challenge is being frugal but also to continue to provide quality services, which requires quality employees. I want to be sure we can attract and retain quality people to work for us that are fairly compensated, motivated, and happy. As far as the Cook County proposal, I do not support that for Kane. There is a dramatic difference between an urban county with small pockets of unincorporated area between the dense area of cities and villages and our county which has its urban areas, but also vast areas of unincorporated land and villages that need governance.
Q. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If you consider it adequate, please explain why. If you think improvements are needed, please describe them and why they are important.
A. I am very happy and proud of us in this area. We have virtually everything available online and accessible. We consistently win awards for financial reporting, auditing, etc. I was proud to have initiated what ultimately became the Kane County Ethics Policy.
Q. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
A. I think we could improve on our phone answering and call directing for people calling various departments. A central answering point with knowledgeable and helpful staff members could help avoid frustrating situation searches for the right department or person.
Q. The county board will undergo redistricting following the 2020 Census. What is the most fair process? Do you support the current number of seats on the board?
A. I believe the board could be fairly run by 18 to 20 board members and would support a reduction.
Q. Do you support the current salary and benefits structure for the county board?
A. Yes I do. I have put in an enormous amount of hours and time away from my business and family over the years. We have already eliminated per diem meeting payments, mileage compensation, and pensions (for new members). DuPage County Board and DuPage County Forest Preserve members cost their residents four times what Kane's costs are. I would not support a raise unless supported by a citizen board review and recommendation.
Q. What actions must the county take to continue to address COVID-19?
A. I think we have had a great response to a once-in-a-century, uncharted emergency and I am proud of our response. No matter what we do when it is over, hindsight will no doubt see some things we could have done differently. We will be ramped up as far as personnel and equipment very soon for the long haul with the relief funds being committed. This will all need to be reassessed early next year. I do worry about our small businesses and am anxious for the relief funds to reach them a few weeks from this writing.
Q. The new board will take over during a time of unprecedented budget challenges. What is your plan to balance the budget? What will your spending priorities be?
A. Every year we have a budget challenge and work through it with staff, department heads, and countywide elected officials. It's not simple or easy but involves prioritizing needs and what level of services we can provide for the funds available. Public safety and health are always at the top of our list.