Jennifer Barconi: 2021 candidate for South Elgin Village Board
In the April 6 consolidated election, five candidates are vying for three, 4-year terms on the South Elgin Village Board. The candidates are incumbents Jennifer Barconi, Greg Lieser and John H. Sweet Sr., and newcomers Shane Hamilton and Anthony Ed Metoyer.
The Daily Herald asked the candidates several questions about issues facing the village. Sweet, Hamilton and Metoyer did not respond.
Below are Barconi'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.
Town: South Elgin
Occupation: Retail specialty sales, HP Inc.
Civic involvement: South Elgin Village Trustee since 2013; current South Elgin Liquor Commissioner; served on the Kane County Mental Health Advisory Committee, and as the liaison for Finance, Development, Public Works, and Police; Air Force veteran
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. Political leadership is essential to continue to reduce the impact of the pandemic while ensuring the execution of essential services. Our strong leadership and excellent governance is imperative for maintaining citizens' trust in government.
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.
A. Yes. In May 2020, the village board supported a water bill credit to reduce the burden of the pandemic. South Elgin residents and business owners saw a $60 credit in two installment of $30 per month.
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. We are working to review and address the long-term impacts that a future public health crisis would create. Keeping residents safe and informed is our first priority.
Q. What cuts can local government make to reduce the burden of the pandemic on taxpayers?
A. Revenues are anticipated at $1.5 million less so we decreased expenses by $1.1 million to include $449,097 that was going to be set aside for equipment. The current board and staff are very fiscally responsible which has contributed to our healthy reserves.
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 McLean Boulevard widening project has been high on our village's wish list for many years. The state committed $12 million to widen McLean Boulevard from Spring Street to Route 31. The funding thanks to staff, President Ward and all the trustees will cover the cost of widening a milelong stretch from two lanes to four. The scope of the project also includes installing a traffic signal at North Lancaster, building sound walls for the residents and adding a pedestrian path along the one-mile expansion.
Q. Do you agree or disagree with the stance your board has taken on permitting recreational marijuana sales in the community? What would you change about that stance, if you could?
Q. What's one good idea you have to better the community that no one is talking about yet?
A. The current village board and staff established the village's strategic plan that included feedback from the residents. We focused on the village's vision statement, strategic priorities and goals.
Short- and long-term goals were identified to help ensure the board, staff, and public are each working toward consistent and measurable objectives. Together, these serve as guideposts for the village's annual budget and frame the village's major initiatives.