Brian K. Jones: 2022 candidate for Kane County Board District 11


Party: Republican

Office sought: Kane County Board District 11

City: Geneva

Age: 44

Occupation: Attorney, Harrison & Held, LLP

Previous offices held: Geneva Fire & Police Commissioner


Q: Do you support an increase in the countywide retail sales tax to help pay for expenses related to the SAFE T legislation? 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: Currently, I oppose a sweeping increase in the countywide retail sales tax. However, if the Act survives in its present form with no state reimbursement, county revenues will eventually have to be raised; it may be that a sales tax increase is the fairest method of gaining this necessary revenue.

Because the expense of administering county responsibility (and housing those additional employees) is so high and the availability of professionals necessary to staff those positions so limited there will likely be a relatively slow ramp up of the expenses, a modification of the act's requirements, state aid or a combination of the three over the next few years.

Ultimately, it's important that our county moves forward with caution and don't raise taxes based on some hypothetical maximum.

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: Salaries will have to be increased to hire and retain quality county employees necessary to provide the services expected by our citizens. Having had a flat levy for 10 years, there is no surplus remaining in the budget. These increased expenses will likely result in increase of the county portion of the tax bill, which currently represents 4% of the total taxes paid by property owners.

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: I can see the benefits and objections to either approach. Kane is one of the few counties with an elected auditor.

More typically, that position is appointed by the county board. Appointing an auditor would enable the board to assure the technical qualifications of the person serving that role, perhaps something elections may struggle to accomplish.

On the other hand, independence in that office is critical and an elected auditor may help avoid the perception of a "hired hand."

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? Please explain.

A: In general, an increase in truck traffic may represent a thriving local commerce. Increased local commerce increases county revenue, helping to bolster a healthy and balanced budget.

In a competitive environment to attract quality businesses to our area, it seems counterproductive to place a blanket moratorium on warehouse developments in unincorporated areas.

As to how to address infrastructure needs that come with increases in traffic, I would rely on traffic engineering studies and recommendations completed by folks more knowledgeable on the issues than I am.

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 existing government center on Route 31 was constructed as a men's dormitory with classrooms and is not efficient (or practical) in housing government offices. The government center is deficient in meeting pending requirements for safety and access and is very costly to operate because of its age. I suggest the county concludes its pending study of future and present needs and investigate the net expense of constructing new, safer, more efficient buildings on the Route 38 campus.

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

A: The county's priority should be to make certain that all county needs and Rescue Act programs are secured and properly funded prior to any further charitable distributions.

This includes making certain that utilization of those funds to support county financial issues be addressed; the Board's primary fiduciary obligation is to the taxpayer.

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

A: Mental health and the availability of quality mental health services are both of great importance to our county. To that end, the county has already distributed around $10,000,000 to the health department and outside agencies in support of mental and community health.

As important as the issue of mental health is, the county's priority should be to make certain that all county needs and Rescue Act programs are secured and properly funded prior to any further charitable distributions.

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