Corey Dixon: 2021 candidate for Elgin City Council
Corey Dixon is one of 11 candidates running for four, 4-year seats on the Elgin City Council in the April 6, 2021, election. One candidate, Marcus Banner, declined to participate in the questionnaire.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates several questions about issues facing the city.
Below are Dixon's responses.
In-person early voting begins March 10 only at the Kane County Clerk's Office, 719 S. Batavia Ave., Bldg. B, in Geneva and the Aurora satellite office, 5 E. Downer Place, Suite F. In-person early voting at locations throughout the county begins March 22. Learn more at www.kanecountyclerk.org/Elections.
Occupation: Government Administrator (Sr. Assistant Director of Administration)
Employer: Kane County Sheriff's Office
Civic involvement: Past City of Elgin Image Advisory Commissioner, past City of Elgin Planning & Zoning Commissioner, current City of Elgin Human Relations Commission Interim-Chair, current City of Elgin Liquor Commissioner, graduate of School District U-46's Hispanic & African American Parent Leadership Institute, graduate of the Elgin Area Leadership Academy, graduate of Northwestern University's Kellogg Center for Nonprofit Management & United Way Board Leadership Institute, Greater Elgin Family Center Past-Board Chairman and current Board Member, Food for Greater Elgin Board Member, Alignment Collaborative for Education Executive Board Member, founder of Elgin's annual Back to School BBQ Bash, founder of Elgin's Community Health Fair and founding Member of the Making Space art project.
Q. How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state and federal authorities?
A. As an elected official, and one of the reasons why I'm seeking reelection, I believe we have the duty to take ownership and to defer this elsewhere goes against what we're elected to do, which is serve and lead no matter how difficult or unpopular an issue is.
With that being said, I do recognize that there's a limited number of circumstances by law, that we must rely on state or federal authorities. Also, as a representative of the people and even those who may have disagreed with me on occasion, it's important to express their opinions and experiences in places they are not. I strive to be a representative of all the people of Elgin, not only those who agree with me and that's what servant leadership is all about.
Q. Did your town continue to adequately serve its constituents during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A. Yes, the City of Elgin adequately continued to serve the residents of Elgin. One example of this is the allowing of city employees to work from home whose job enabled them to do so. Making this adjustment facilitated the structure that supported core city services to be delivered uninterrupted.
Q: In light of our experiences with COVID-19, what safeguards/guidelines should you put in place to address any future public health crises?
A: The first thing we should do is create a pandemic blueprint to serve as a guide or playbook of sorts on how to deal with and what to do the next time a pandemic occurs. We also must work with our local hospitals to ensure an adequate number of empty beds and that essential medical equipment is available on standby. Next, we need to have a readied robust communications plan in place for the public that'll provide vetted and fact-based information at the click of a button. Lastly, we also need to set aside emergency grant funds to aid our businesses and to protect our residents. There's certainly more that we should consider doing, but I believe this would be a solid path forward over the next few years.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. As for Elgin, we already run a pretty tight ship staff wise, which is our largest cost. What we must do is control expenses as much as possible going forward.
Q. What do you see as the most important infrastructure project you must address? Why and how should it be paid for? Conversely, during these uncertain economic times, what infrastructure project can be put on the back burner?
A. The most important infrastructure project to address is the Hemmens Cultural Center. Keeping in mind that this building isn't currently being used due to the pandemic, but once we're able to gather in much greater numbers, it will be of the utmost importance. The building's use not only attracts acts and celebrities from around state and further, which, in turn, brings new tax revenue in the form of hotels, gas and sales tax, it's also a major use for our music and arts organizations. Upgrading this infrastructure will not only benefit the city and residents immediately, but also for many years to come.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. I agree with our stance on permitting recreational use. If I were to alter one thing, it'd be to reduce distance requirements between dispensaries. This would allow more space to this permitted use; thus, I believe, attract more recreational marijuana businesses or marijuana friendly businesses into our local economy. In researching the trends surrounding this, we should be positioning the City of Elgin to be the leader in this field, which will increase tax revenue and decrease the tax burden on our residents.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. Becoming a Smart City! The City of Elgin is a destination for businesses, especially for businesses in the manufacturing field. With technology taking over this industry and all others as well, it would be very beneficial to invest in fiber optic cables citywide and create a technology incubator district that creates and innovates. Not only would this produce more jobs, but it would position Elgin as a leader in a field that's inevitably becoming more of a necessity in our given market.