Jerri McCue: 2021 candidate for Elgin City Council
11 candidates are running for four, 4-year seats on the Elgin City Council. One candidate, Marcus Banner, declined to participate.
Age: Not given
Occupation: Registered Nurse with 24 years of experience in the areas of medical-surgical, emergency room (11 years), school nursing (U-46, 8 years)
Employer: None at this time
Civic involvement: Planning and Zoning Commissioner (2015-2020); Downtown Neighborhood Board Member, served term as treasurer; Elgin Township Committee on Seniors; Southwest Neighborhood Association Member (SWAN); Izaak Walton League Member; volunteer for many community activities.
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. The role of a city council person is to affect those things we can affect. Instead of committing our financial resources to the creation of two new full time positions we should be committing to furloughing the least amount of staff we can. Focusing on getting our businesses, our economic engine, working through out the city should be a priority. We should be working to be an advocate for our citizens in the navigation of obtaining the vaccine. As a Registered Nurse I am the one candidate that has that professional experience to facilitate this. I have recently sent in an application to the Kane County Health Department to be a volunteer in their Medical Reserve Corps so I can actively engage and advocate for the citizens of Elgin. What I know we all agree on is we have to get our seniors and vulnerable populations vaccinated as soon as possible.
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. Elgin did a good job of in continuing to provide core city services during the pandemic. Police, Fire, Public Works and staff remained committed to serving the citizens of Elgin. Their willingness to find ways to help us during the pandemic is applauded. One example is the moratorium on disconnection of water service do to nonpayment and the waving of late fees on accounts. This policy decision was vital in helping financially struggling citizens but will have an economic impact as we move forward. I think all governmental agencies could have done a better job providing social services and support for our elderly at risk population who are more susceptible to die from this COVID virus. We also have many community members suffering loss from this pandemic both personal and financially. We have a city in mourning and it needs to be acknowledged!
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. Pandemics are an inevitable and unpredicted public health crisis. Along with following state and federal directives on public health it would be wise for the City of Elgin to start "for your health" campaign. Providing the residents with healthful initiatives to help people focus on their overall general health. Obesity was a high risk factor in succumbing to the virus and produced poor outcomes. The best defense to any public health issue is a robust immune system. We have people's attention and need to capitalize on that.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. One of the first steps is to make good use of the reserve funds. To limit cuts as much as possible, one of the benefits of having them. Even with the city's for sight in creating this fund it can't mitigate all the economic fallout. So far the budget seems to be balanced with the staff freezing salaries or taking pay cuts and some reduction in positions. Whether it will be able to curtail the burden on taxpayers is an unknown. The unions need to be an active and willing partner in the discussion.
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. As always the maintenance of our roads is paramount along with our water treatment system. Summit and Dundee is a big project on the horizon that may need to be postponed due to finances but is still a much needed project. The ongoing sewer separation projects always seems to be at risk of delay due to lack of resources. As stated before we need to produce more revenue from our businesses and hopefully when the casino is back to full capacity the new sports gambling component will help generate additional funds.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board/council has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
A. The state of Illinois has determined that marijuana is legal and Elgin would be short sighted not to see the benefit of generated tax revenue. I am always curious why we don't already have a dispensary in Elgin as many of our surrounding communities do. Is there a barrier we have created that is preventing this from happening? It is not only a dispensary that is important but the possibility of associated businesses that could develop. In any development of a business related to this industry we should work closely with the Elgin Police Department to ensure it works well for everyone.
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. Economic Development of the Sports Complex that would be beneficial community wide. Although this may be mentioned from time to time no one is seriously talking about it. An off leash dog Park in the central business district. Privatizing of the Spring Street parking deck.