Kevin Coyne: Candidate profile, DuPage County Board District 5
Republican Kevin Coyne of Naperville and Democrat Amy Chavez of Naperville are vying for the DuPage County Board District 5 seat in the Nov. 3 election.
The seat currently is held by Republican James Healy of Naperville, who isn't running for reelection.
Coyne, a real estate attorney, has served on the Naperville City Council since 2015. He had previously served on the planning and zoning commission and the Naperville Fair Housing Commission. Coyne has served on the boards of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and Naperville Jaycees, and he was the Naperville Last Fling Executive Director in 2006.
To explore his campaign website, visit www.coynefordupage.com.
District 5 includes all or parts of Aurora, Lisle, Naperville, Warrenville and Woodridge.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates a series of questions. Here are Coyne's responses.
Q: What have we learned as a county from the COVID-19 pandemic and what changes should be made looking forward as a result?
A: We have learned that crises can occur without warning and that we must prepare accordingly. Our operations should be efficient and lean and in a strong position to react in nimble fashion should emergencies arise.
We have learned the importance of having strong cash reserves should tax revenue unexpectedly drop. We also have learned the importance of having diversified revenue streams as sales tax collections are not always certain. We should also continue to modernize operations and best utilize new technology (such as teleconferencing) as a means of managing costs and any hazards still ongoing as a result of COVID-19.
In summary, we should aim to carry as little unnecessary cost as possible while continuing to modernize county operations for maximum flexibility and efficiency.
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: Public safety is the issue that led me to run for the DuPage County Board. Our rising opioid epidemic, rising crime (especially in neighboring Chicago), the COVID-19 pandemic and the litany of mental health issues and other societal problems that have risen greatly since the pandemic, are all of great concern to DuPage families.
The DuPage County Board determines the budgets for our sheriff, our court system, our state's attorney, and our department of public health. We must remain committed to keeping the safety of our DuPage County residents as our top priority. The board must also ensure that law enforcement and our first responders have access to state-of-the-art equipment to best enable them to preserve public health and safety. We must always assure adequate funding is in place for essential services and public safety.
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: I am an incumbent Naperville city councilman and have led numerous initiatives since my election to Naperville's city council. These initiatives have included: Successfully motioning for the elimination of taxpayer-funded health care for part-time elected officials; leading a ballot initiative that led to the merger of the Naperville and Lisle Township road districts; negotiating the "sales tax compromise," which led to millions of dollars of real estate tax abatements for our residents and that has led Naperville to historically low real estate tax rates as to our city tax levy; hosting numerous town halls and continuing to advocate for the improvement of the East Ogden corridor in Naperville; founded Safe DuPage, an organization that has hosted numerous panel discussions on matters that involve public safety.
As I have stated, enhancing public safety is a top priority for my service on the county board. I hope to bring my experience with municipal budgeting to the county board and help to continue DuPage County's strong record of fiscal responsibility.
Q: Describe your position regarding the allocation of resources in the recorder of deeds' office. Are personnel allocated as they should be? Are there capital expense or other budgetary items that the office must address, and, if so, how do you propose to address them?
A: For a great many years our recorder's office has a had a tremendous reputation and has been a great asset for those in the real estate community. To date, I believe the recorders office has been adequately staffed, but over time and as we go forward, my expectation would be that the budgetary needs of this office would be reduced as e-filing becomes more common and encouraged. We should discourage the need for original documents from being recorded.
We should leverage, to the greatest extent possible, technology that will allow document recording and document searching to occur online and convenient to navigate for our residents. Our well-run recorder's office should continue to modernize and evolve with current technologies.
Q: Name one concrete program you'll create or personnel move you'll make to improve efficiency in the office or make it more successful. Explain how it will be funded and how you will overcome any obstacles to initiating it.
A: At this time, given the financial condition of the county as a result of COVID-19, the last thing we should do is add new programs. We need to find ways to consolidate and improve the efficiency of the county as it currently stands. I believe the size of the county board should be reduced by at least one-third, free health care for its members should be eliminated, and pay increases for members should be frozen. I believe these steps would have no impact on the quality of services provided by the county. The only impact realized by our residents would be the many hundreds of thousands of tax dollars that residents would save annually from these changes.
Q: Describe your position on transparency in the office and the ease of access to records by the public. If you believe improvements are needed, what are they and how would you go about achieving them?
A: Transparency and the trust of our constituents means everything to me. We need to continue making public information as readily available as possible. I would like the DuPage County and DuPage County Health Department websites to be greatly improved. Both are outdated and should be far simpler to navigate, especially for those using smartphones.
I would support investing in our websites and document management systems. Such investments end up paying for themselves as less staff and administrative resources are needed if the public can readily find what they need on the internet.