Alicia Timm: 2022 candidate for Lake County Board District 17
Office sought: Lake County Board District 17
City: Lake Zurich
Previous offices held:
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?
A: Once I saw the updated county maps, I knew I had to run to represent my Lake County Board district. From Volo Bog to Barrington, many of the woodlands and wetlands I've helped restore and maintain are here. These open lands and preserved green spaces are really important for the overall health of our residents.
42% of my district is unincorporated and many open spaces remain. Thoughtful land use and development will be key to preserving a high quality of life for those of us lucky to call Lake County home.
Due to federal funding, a stormwater mitigation project is finally underway north of my district in Fox Lake. Since 2007 they have experienced flooding that makes their roads impassable for months. They tore down three homes to make room for floodwaters. We cannot drain wetlands, overdevelop our lands, and expect a
solid foundation for our homes and roads. Retroactive "undevelopment" and bolstering poorly planned infrastructure is too expensive and hurts taxpayers in the future.
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: As the challenger, I will bring compassion, a strong work ethic, and the heart of a community servant to this board position. We left DuPage County and moved to Lake Zurich with our young kids for the excellent school system, more affordable housing and increased green space. We love Lake County. It is the most biodiverse county in the state.
While working part-time and raising my kids, I became an expert in native plants. These are the plants that are key to mitigating flooding in Lake County. Along with new culverts and storm sewers to handle the heavier rains, we can utilize native plants for their deep roots that slow down and clean polluted stormwater before it returns to our watershed.
I plan to use this knowledge as a member of the forest preserves board and the Stormwater Management Commission to encourage "green infrastructure" with all drainage projects. Using nature to protect taxpayers from flooding expenses will pay off in many ways.
Q: Given the recent history of flat tax levies, do you think the county/forest preserve have done good jobs of budgeting or do you see specific area that can be improved?
A: Even though the forest preserves have a significant amount of debt to service, the amount is not out of the ordinary. They are always looking for ways to refinance their bonds that they use to buy open land, saving taxpayer money. There are ways to save money by thinking outside the box and I will dedicate myself to that effort when on the board. I will work to identify economic efficiencies whenever possible. My tax dollar is your tax dollar. Good government costs money. I will work to allocate resources in the most fiscally responsible way.
Q: Would you support putting a referendum on the ballot for voters to decide if they wish to issue new bonds to preserve open spaces, restore habitats, create more trails and upgrade forest preserves?
A: Referendums are a great way to hear the voice of each voter. As I visit constituents at their doors, I hear over and over again how much people love their forest preserves. To get the buy-in of the voters for continued financial support of and use of our forest preserves it is up to us to educate them about the value of our preserves and the "ecosystem services" the land provides. Our forest preserves help absorb 30% of the stormwater in our county. Trees and shrubs help keep temperatures down. Grasslands are a great place to store carbon.
The value of our open spaces cannot be overstated. Restoring native habitat and maintaining trails and user features should be detailed in the budget. It takes a lot of work and often falls to dedicated volunteers. When it is economically feasible, I will support preserving as much land as possible, restoring habitats, creating more trails and upgrading our preserves.
Q: What is the single most important issue facing your district and how should the county address it?
A: Sustainable development is our district's most important issue. New housing is being built and many country roads cannot safely handle the increased traffic. It is crucial to take a proactive approach to growing Lake County.
For example, there are plans to improve the dangerous intersections on Darrell Road at Dowell Road and on Darrell Road at Case Road between Lakemoor and Island Lake. In District 17, as part of the 2040 Transportation Plan, bus routes will be added to the corridors for Routes 22, 59 and 120. There are plans to add new bike routes and to connect to existing bike routes throughout our district. Additional mass transit and bicycle routes will help reduce the use of fossil fuels and car traffic on our roads.
I want to take part in the holistic development of our part of the county, keep people moving safely and efficiently, and ensure clean air and water as we welcome new residents to our area.
Q: Lake County officials want public feedback on how to spend portions of some $135 million in leftover federal pandemic funding. What are your thoughts on how the money ought to be spent?
A: I'm happy that the county held four different public listening opportunities for residents to voice their opinions about where to spend the remaining ARPA Funds. Public health (specifically mental health) was the top concern. Public health has always been a top priority for me. I listen to voters, and as a board member, I will give a voice to constituents in my district.
The Lake County Health Department has a chance to make a difference in residents' lives. Improving mental health services and increasing access to those services can dramatically reduce or eliminate the risk of suicide, legal issues, family conflict, employment issues, substance abuse, and further mental and physical health problems. The county should use part of these funds to expand mental health services and work to improve the lives of those with mental health challenges.