Kane County Board District 10 candidate Bill Tarver answered Shaw Local’s election questionnaire for the Kane County Board primary election.
Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.
Full Name: William Tarver
What office are you seeking? Kane County Board 10th District
What offices, if any, have you previously held? none
Occupation: Restorative Practice Facilitator-Social Worker
Education: School Social Work- Master’s Degree Aurora University
Social Work- Bachelor’s Degree Aurora University
Associate in Applied Science- Human Services- Elgin Community College
Hotel Restaurant Management- Associate Degree Joliet Junior College
Campaign Website: electbilltarver.com
Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
I don’t believe the county board has discussed decreasing property taxes. If the matter comes before the board, I would seek input from all stakeholders, including residents of the 10th District, to set priorities. If there is a decrease in revenue for any reason, I would work with the board to carefully assess services and programs, review priorities and goals, identify strategies to reduce costs, and if necessary, we would make hard decisions collectively, as a board. My goal is to make informed decisions which includes careful study to identify needs based on data, seeking stakeholder input and expert consultation.
What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?
The Long Common Bridge is finally nearing completion. Scheduled to be a toll bridge, the state has just agreed to provide an additional $17 million in funding. half of the unfunded amount. If the county can find another $17 million, a toll here would not be necessary. Although this bridge is in the far north, it will improve the county. KDOT has a well-structured plan to handle road improvements through 2040. We just need to find the funding to make that happen.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?
The County Board manages local crime with the sheriff’s department along with working with municipalities. I do believe investing in the community and in people can go a long way to prevent and deter crime. I also support restorative practices that Sheriff Hain is currently implementing. It will take time to see a return on the county’s investments and I am optimistic.
How will you work to keep crime low in Kane County?
I am in support of the project Sheriff Hain has to reduce crime and recidivism in our county.
Do you support Kane County’s pre-arrest diversion program?
Editor’s note: This question has been updated from a previous version to correct that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office created the program and the Kane County Sheriff’s office participates in it.
I am learning more about this program, but from what I know to date, I am impressed. Any program that decreases recidivism in our county and provides residents with alternatives that provide restoration, healing, and recovery has my support. I support additional funding to allow community officers and firefighters the training they need to ensure the safety of county residents.
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
Yes! I support stronger ethics laws, county elected officials should not be giving or receiving county contacts for campaign contributors, we need to end” pay to play "
What would you push for as a member of county government to boost local businesses?
I would advocate for a process to hear the needs of local businesses. Upon hearing from those local business owners, I would then explore the role or actions the county board might take to advocate for, or address those needs.
Why do you think the county has had some positions open for a while and a number of employees have left the county in recent times. Why do you think county employees are leaving?
It is my understanding that salaries of county employees are not consistent with other counties in our region. While attending a recent meeting, it was shared that new hires in the engineering department have an average retention of 2 years, which means these employees move on to other opportunities that offer professional growth, and better compensation and benefits. When recruiting, the county needs to be competitive in this tight job market. In addition to competitive compensation and benefit packages, the county should focus on building relationships with employees, creating a sense of belonging and value, and fostering professional growth and development to promote retention of good employees.
How can the county seek to retain employees?
In addition to the comments I made in question 8, a regional comparison survey would provide the data needed to make necessary adjustments. Beyond compensation and benefits, let’s be open to innovative and creative ideas to make Kane County the employer of choice. Employees want to know they have a voice at the table, that their opinions matter and that their contributions have value. Creating an equitable and inclusive environment is also critical to employee retention.
Do you support adding either a 0.25% or 0.50% retail tax to non-essential purchases (excluding groceries and gas)? Why or why not?
Yes. For 11 years the county board has not increased the property tax referendum by the allowable cost of living increase. Even though property taxes (about $50 Million) are only about 1/6th of the county’s budget (about $300 million) this has created a financial gap that is very difficult to overcome. Among areas where funds are needed, the county continues to lose talented people because the pay scale is not competitive.
If there were an increase in retail tax revenue, what would you use the additional funds for?
As stated in question # 10, there are 4 main areas that are driving this discussion. They are Mental Health, Buildings, Transportation and Public Safety. Without the benefit of access to the data, or deep insight into the concerns of each area, it’s difficult for me to prioritize where these funds, if available, should be directed. For now, it’s a hypothetical question. However, I am personally inclined to lean toward additional support for public safety and mental health. I say that without knowledge of the specific Building and Transportation needs. My process for this decision making includes careful study to identify needs based on data and projected trends, alignment with strategic planning with stakeholder input, and expert consultation in order to make informed decisions.
Do you support a county gas tax hike? Why or why not?
No, not at this time. The state just doubled their portion of the gas tax a few years ago. Gas tax in Illinois, by the state, counties, and municipalities is far too high.
If there were an increase in the county gas tax revenue, how would you propose using the new money?
I would note that utilization of tax payer money requires careful study and planning. This is not a responsibility I take lightly.
Do you support more warehouse and industrial development in Kane County? Why/why not?
This relates to meeting the needs of businesses in the county asked previously in another question. I would actively participate in the role the county board plays to determine the potential positive and negative impact of warehouse and industrial development on our communities, recreation, and transportation. Again, my process for this sort of decision making includes careful study to identify needs based on data, seek stakeholder input, and expert consultation. This approach should provide the board with sufficient information to make informed decisions.
How can municipalities best deal with the increase in semi-truck traffic?
This may be a question for the leadership of municipalities. The best approach, however, is to study by gathering data and input from stakeholders, and using that information to make informed decisions. It is likely appropriate to establish guidelines and set clear expectations to manage semi-truck traffic.
Should county & municipal officials be required to disclose to the public the identity of a business, such as Amazon, that seeks to locate in the county?
I feel transparency is best in all matters involving the county board.
What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
I feel this act provides a transparent look into how the county operates and the people employed and elected to best serve the needs of the community/ state. We are accountable to the public.
Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.
I feel the board is committed to, and has established procedures to increase transparency within the current board. Providing the residents an opportunity to participate in all meetings, in person and/or virtually gives everyone an equitable opportunity to participate in local government. For people not able to attend, recorded meetings provide an additional layer of transparency and accountability. Additionally, the Open Meetings Act restricts conducting business outside of the public view.
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign nondisclosure agreements with private businesses?
No. There may be some rare instances where an exception might be granted, but only after consultation with the State’s Attorney.
Would you push for or against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses?
How can the county best support municipalities that are seeking to promote restaurants, nightlife, tourism (St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia)?
I feel listening to the needs of businesses within the county and collaborating those efforts are key steps to a thriving community. I am happy to support that enhance the ambience of our county. When businesses thrive, it’s a success for all stakeholders. I would advocate for a process to hear the needs of local businesses. Upon hearing from those local business owners, I would then explore the role or actions the county board might take to advocate for, or address those needs. Again, I am committed to making informed decisions.
How long should the county support the Kane Vax Center in Batavia?
I believe listening to the recommendation from the Kane County Board of Health is what would make the most sense. My process for this sort of decision making is directed to ensuring I have the necessary information and includes careful study to identify needs based on data, seek stakeholder input, and expert consultation.
The County Board used more of the revenue it received from the American Rescue Plan to fund mental health services than it gave to social safety net services such as homeless shelters and food pantries. How can the county make funding for nonprofits impacted by the pandemic more equitable?
I am not certain that the disbursement of funds was inequitable. I would expect that the distribution of funds was based on data, need and impact for the greater good. I would hope that this decision was made after careful study to identify needs based on data and trends, comprehensive strategic planning with stakeholder input, and expert consultation.
Do you support giving a larger chunk of the $103 million in funding the county received to social services?
That may happen, but regardless I have been assured by current board members that the money will be spent wisely. I would support an additional amount to the non-profits. Particularly the food pantries and mental health agencies. The pandemic and inflation has increased the number of people seeking help from these organizations.
Do you agree with the county paying the college tuition of a public employee? Please explain.
I would like to hear more about the tuition reimbursement program. I have lots of questions. Is it available to all employees? Are we investing in their professional growth and development and does that benefit the county? Is this something that would foster retention? Do employees have to work for a minimum timeframe to be eligible? Are employees expected to remain employed after accessing the benefit for a period of time and if not, is there a penalty? Do we utilize this benefit to promote internally or grow our own type of program? Is there a minimum requirement to achieve a C or better to qualify for reimbursement? Do we have partnerships with regional education institutions to offer internships or negotiate discounted tuition rates? Is there a cap to these benefits? Is there an approval process to ensure the coursework is linked to the county’s strategic plan or goals? These are important questions that impact my response to this question. If, in general, the answers are yes, then I would absolutely support a tuition benefit, with limits, for county employees.