Carol Calabresa: Candidate Profile:
Name: Carol Calabresa
Office sought: Lake County Board District 15
Occupation: County board member, forest preserve commissioner
Education: B.S. Political Science-University of Wisconsin-Madison
Civic involvement: A full-time County Board Member for 32 years
• Served on most committees with emphasis on Law and Judicial, Finance and Administration and Health and Community Services
• Lake County Board of Health
• Lake County Community Development Commission, 1988 to present
• Lake County Domestic Violence Council-Elder Abuse
• Storm Water Management Commission, alternate
• Winchester House Advisory Board
• Vice Chair-County Board
• Acting County Board Chair
• Lake County Opioid Initiative Board Member
• Law Enforcement Community Policing Coordinating Counsel
Elected offices held: Libertyville Township Trustee, Founding member Libertyville Township Open Space District, County Board Member/Forest Preserve Commissioner
Questions & Answers
Question 1: If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've lead.
For the Forest Preserve, I have voted for 17,991 acres to be purchased and planned over 158 miles of trails. I have been a member of the Friends of the Forest Preserve Board and was a leader for all the successful referendums. I have helped create 36 new forest preserves and planned Independence Grove, Rollins Savanna and the Middle Fork Savana as Forest Preserve President.
As a Lake County Opioid Initiative member, I have brought forth the following actions for funding or legislative sponsorship:
Early leader for law enforcement to administer Naloxone, a life saving antidote, and assisted in writing policy and procedures.
Requested and received $ 28,500 for a member initiative to make the Text-A-Tip crisis care APP available to all Lake County high schools. Requested and approved $ 35,000 to make Crisis Intervention Team Training available locally which helps law enforcement evaluate various mental health crisis incidents.
Requested and successfully passed A Way Out program legislation which was passed into law.
Requesting $100,000 to be allocated in our 2019 budget to expand respite care at the Lake County Health Department's Crisis Care Center.
Question 2: What is the single biggest need in your district?
For both Libertyville and Mundelein flooding has been a huge issue. Both villages have hired engineering consultants who will be prioritizing projects solving future flooding. The biggest need is 911 consolidation. In an extraordinary example of intergovernmental collaboration, Lake County has helped lead regional 911 consolidation. More than 15 communities/public safety agencies representing 400,00 residents have committed to partner on this multiyear collaborative effort which will enhance the quality of service, provide greater efficiency and lower cost.
Question 3: Should the county government eliminate Procurement Cards, or P-Cards for County Board members? Should County Board members even have expense accounts? County board members in some other counties don't, their salaries cover work expenses. Should employee's P-Cards be eliminated, too?
There are a number of benefits to P-Cards such as expense tracking, $ 100,000 in credit card rebates, and faster processing time in the finance department. However, at my direction, our staff is doing a thorough review of our P-Card policy and procedures with findings and recommendations to be presented to the County Board at the end of September. In addition, there is an ongoing independent investigation by the Bonner group. They have extensive experience in a wide scope of financial services and specifically in auditing procurement card processes, policies and procedures. Their report including their findings and recommendations will be delivered to the Finance Committee on September 26th. They can then revise our current policies or decide to cancel P-Cards.
Question 4: Is the county doing enough to control expenses? What additional, specific steps do you recommend?
The county board has been very active in controlling expenses via the following steps over the past several years:
46 fewer employees over the past 5 years. County Board froze its portion of the property tax bill twice in the recent years which will keep $ 74,000,000 in tax payers pockets over 10 years.
We directed a 20 percent decrease in the Forest Preserve levy. The county board directed that the FY2019 budget keep the county's property tax levy flat. We adopted a consolidation action plan for dissolving and consolidating 3 taxing bodies and we will continue to explore ways to share and or consolidate services where it makes sense. Lake County government has maintained a AAA Bond Rating for more than 20 years from both credit agencies. This rating means we are financially sound and it results in considerable savings for tax payers because of low interest rates. Only one other county in Illinois and about 61 counties in the U.S. have this incredible rating. The County Board is committed to implement efficiencies, leverage technology, and cut costs by sharing and consolidating services between governments.
Question 5: Historically, county board meetings have been free of partisan and political antics -- but party line fighting has become more noticeable in recent years. How do you feel about that?
Unfortunately, partisan and political antics raise their ugly heads every 2 years during the election cycle; however, I have not witnessed such blatant, divisive, political grand standing since the 90s. It seems the partisan nature of federal and state races is trickling down to county government. Some board members anticipate a "blue wave" coming and have tried to bring it to a nonpartisan county board. Just think what we could accomplish if the energy from these political antics was directed to improving services for our residents and made a commitment to enhancing our quality of life ahead of promoting one's personal political career.