Bob McQuillan: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 2


Party: Republican

Office sought: Kane County Board District 2

City: Batavia

Age: 65

Occupation: Retired Sales and Management Executive

Previous offices held: none


Q: Do you support an increase in the countywide retail sales tax to help pay for expenses related to the SAFE T legislation? Yes/No? If yes, which SAFE T-related expenses, specifically, should be covered with the additional tax? If no, how do you suggest paying for the increased expenses related to the SAFE T legislation?

A: No. I don't support unfunded mandates from the state. Unfunded mandates mean every local taxing body has to increase their budget which in turn leads to higher property taxes. I think all local taxing bodies should refuse to accept unfunded mandates. This year's budget included 7 new positions and next year it is proposed that 31 additional new positions will be directly related to the SAFE-T-Act. Those 38 employees will cost the County $4 million per year. My hope is that the SAFE T Act will be repealed or at a minimum restructured.

If the County is forced to find funding, it should do a line-by-line audit of the Fiscal year budget. Every Elected Official and Department Head should be instructed to reduce their budget a certain percentage to cover increased costs. If the reductions aren't enough, the County Board members are then responsible to balance the budget by making additional cuts. Reserve funds could be used for the first year until the law is straightened out.

Q: What should be done to retain county staff? If you propose increases in salaries or benefits, how should those added costs be covered?

A: I'm not convinced there is an issue with retaining staff. Current monthly reports show that open positions are being filled and people are applying for jobs. There could be several underlying reasons why people leave a job other than salaries and benefits. Are they leaving the workforce entirely, are they relocating, is the supervisor the problem, are they changing careers, or do they want to advance their career and they don't see opportunity within Kane County. Exit interviews are the best way of finding out why people leave. Until Human Resources provides a detailed study on results of each exit interview, there is no way of knowing if there is a problem.

Q: Do you believe the county auditor should be an elected or appointed position? Why? Are there any other countywide offices that are currently elected positions that you believe should be appointed instead? If so, please explain.

A: Absolutely not! The auditor is the only independent line of defense for taxpayers. The auditor's responsibility is to make sure all bills are researched and deemed legitimate. Making this an appointed position turns it into a political job and loses its independence.

The bigger concern is if we are electing the best candidates for positions that require experience in a particular area. How do we really know that candidates for Sheriff, Treasurer, County Clerk, etc. are qualified. There is no vetting process for any of these positions. How do we know the person can do the job. I would like to see strict qualifications for certain offices.

Unfortunately, too many people don't vote, those that do don't always research the candidates. If voters don't elect the best person possible, we are shortchanging ourselves.

Q: The county has seen an increase in truck traffic. How do you propose to address the infrastructure needs that come with this increase in traffic? Do you support a moratorium on warehouse developments in unincorporated areas of the county? Yes/No? Please explain.

A: I don't support a moratorium. The County's location to Chicago & interstates makes it a natural for warehouses. As long as a privately owned property is zoned industrial, the County can't restrict what is built. Unincorporated areas are usually annexed by the local city. As far as infrastructure and funding, the County Transportation Department has created a 2050 Long Range Plan taking into account population projections and road needs. The transportation department receives funding from a variety of sources including impact fees, property taxes, motor fuel tax, sales tax, state funds, federal funds and private sources. In most cases the federal funding is 80% and local funding 20%. Planning is key to infrastructure improvements; it doesn't

have to automatically mean a tax increase.

Q: What direction do you think the county should move as it relates to its aging buildings? Build new or rehab existing buildings? Why and how would you propose the county pay for any new buildings or improvements?

A: The Building Management Department is responsible for the operation and management of over one million sq, ft. It makes sense for that department to develop a long-term plan for all buildings. Of the six buildings, the Government Center and Third Street Courthouse are of most concern. I believe the first step would be a complete assessment of both buildings focusing on age of utilities and cost of repairs over the next 10 years. If there is 10 years of life left in these buildings, with minimal cost of repair, my first choice would be to rehab. The County currently has at least $17 million in reserve funds for capital improvements. That can be increased over the next 10 years. Second step would be to see if any consolidation of office space is possible. Offices could relocate from older buildings.

As a last resource, build new facilities. If building is the answer, the County would need to go to referendum for 30-year bonds. In the end, it will be taxpayer's choice.

Q: How do you think the county should spend the remaining COVID-19 relief funds?

A: I'm no expert on the funds the County received but the research I have done is confusing. According to a recent resolution, the County of Kane has received a total of $103,413,041 from the United States Department of the Treasury, in State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

One report lists the fund balance as of July 31, 2022, at $80.5 million. At the American Rescue Plan Fund (ARPF) committee meeting held Aug. 31, 2022, the balance was listed at @$63 million and $41 million of that is allocated, but not distributed, to internal County Department requests. If $63 million is correct, there is $22 million unallocated.

I believe the County needs to provide a one-page report listing all the funds received, the amount disbursed and for what use, the amount allocated for what use and the total remaining to be allocated. Then a determination can be made on where the remaining funds should be spent. That isn't dodging the question, it is just that I don't have the full picture.

Q: The COVID pandemic also put a spotlight on the need for mental health services. What role should the county play in this?

A: It's my understanding, that years ago, the County made the decision to outsource mental health services to private agencies. They are funded by a percentage of collected County taxes. What concerns me is that $4 million of ARPF funds were allocated to 21 mental health agencies in two phases ($3,000,000), 12 Food Pantries ($750,000) and 4 Shelters ($250,000). Of those funds, $2,854,301 remains to be disbursed. Why haven't the agencies claimed the money allocated to them? I don't think it is because the need isn't there. Is it because the requirements were too restrictive, the paperwork too time consuming and difficult to understand or another reason. The County doesn't seem to know the answer.

In my opinion, the County and all agencies need to sit down and find out if there are issues with the program. If there are issues, they need to be worked out. If there is $22 million available, these agencies should have the opportunity to apply for the funds they need.

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