Full Name: Brooke Shanley
What office are you seeking? Kendall County Board
What offices, if any, have you previously held? None
Occupation: K-5 Bilingual Special Education Resource Teacher
Education: BA Spanish - Benedictine University MA Spanish - Loyola University Chicago
Graduate work towards M.Ed Bilingual Bicultural Education - DePaul University
Campaign Website: www.brookeshanley.com
Property taxes in Kendall County are consistently among the highest in Illinois. What would you do as a county board member to limit the continued increases residents see on their property tax bills?
When I’m knocking doors, one of the most important issues to residents is the property tax burden. Many Kendall County families are struggling due to high property taxes. There is no quick fix for this issue. Solving it requires elected officials who are committed to working collaboratively across all levels to create a solution. I will work collaboratively with our leaders and elected officials at all levels to alleviate the property tax burden. No one should be taxed out of their home. I am committed to ensuring that Kendall County remains an affordable county to live in for everyone.
Is there fat in the county budget? If so, please identify which departments or programs that you would work to either curtail or eliminate to save funds.
While there are many things the county does well, there is always room for improvement. I am committed to reviewing our budget, line item by line item, to determine where we can achieve savings. I would like to examine the true potential of the technology available to us in Kendall County and determine ways in which we can better utilize technology to be more efficient with our expenditures. Additionally, I would like to look at our other expenditures to ensure that we are utilizing taxpayer dollars wisely.
Does the county sheriff’s office require additional funding and/or staff to combat crime in the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision or elsewhere in the county? If yes, where would those funds come from and how should they be used?
The Sheriff’s office is doing a fine job, currently. However, I am aware of how insufficient funding can impact the ability of a department to function. I will work with the Sheriff’s department to find out what their needs are in combating crime within the county and the corresponding costs.
As a county board member, would you support increased funding and the hiring of additional staff for the Kendall County Health Department?
The Kendall County Health Department provides much needed services. In addition to the physical health services that typically come to mind when thinking about a County Health Department’s offerings, our Health Department provides counseling and other mental health services, suicide prevention services, a travel clinic, and engages in policy work among a large list of other services. In order to continue to provide services to the residents of our county, it is important that the department be adequately funded and staffed.
Do you support ongoing efforts by local municipal and county officials to bring Metra commuter rail service to Kendall County?
I fully support efforts to bring Metra commuter rail service to Kendall County. Many of the county’s residents find themselves commuting to a train station in other counties in order to even begin their commute into Chicago or other neighboring stops. By bringing Metra commuter rail service to Kendall County, our residents would have a better experience in their commute either to work or into Chicago to enjoy a day with their families. Additionally, it would result in shorter commute times, giving our residents more time to enjoy time with family and friends.
Would you support the county joining the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) as a condition for obtaining the service?
I would support the county joining the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Railways require maintenance every single day of every year. Joining the RTA is an investment that would ensure a safe, reliable, and affordable commuter rail system for the residents of Kendall County.
How would you assess the county’s efforts to date to lure new businesses and industries to the county?
Kendall County’s Department of Economic Development offers many opportunities for new businesses and industries to establish themselves within the county. In addition to loan programs such as the Revolving Loan Fund Program and the Kendal-Grundy Microloans, there are also different tax incentives available to businesses in Kendall County. Kendall County also has numerous Local Economic Development partners in various municipalities throughout the county as well as local institutions. While there is always room for improvement, the county has many offerings from which new businesses and industries could benefit.
What would you push for as a member of county government to boost local businesses?
As a member of the county government, I would like to continue the collaboration with the leaders and elected officials in our municipalities to develop ways in which to boost our local businesses. As new programs and opportunities become available, it is imperative that we help facilitate the availability of these to our local businesses. Additionally, in order for businesses to be successful they must have skilled and educated people working for them. This is why the partnerships with the community colleges in the county as well as union apprenticeship programs, and county’s youth employment programs are so important and deserve continued support, development, and promotion.
If elected, will you enroll in the county employee health insurance program?
I am currently enrolled in a health insurance program through my employer and intend to maintain that policy for as long as it is available to me. As I am already insured, I would not enroll in the county’s employee health insurance program.
What actions can the Kendall County Board take to minimize the tax burden on residents while, not sacrificing services?
As mentioned previously, many Kendall County families are struggling due to high taxes and it’s not an issue with a quick fix. The Board must work collaboratively with leaders and elected officials at all levels to find ways to alleviate the tax burden on residents. Part of this work involves an examination of the budget for efficiencies and redundancies as well as taking full advantage of opportunities for funding through federal and state programs and grants as they become available.
Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
No one should be taxed out of their home and I am committed to ensuring Kendall County remains an affordable county to live in for everyone. This means working collaboratively with leaders and elected officials at all levels and utilizing funding opportunities from the state and federal levels as available.
How would you encourage economic and employment growth within Kendall County?
Economic and employment growth is encouraged by creating opportunities and incentives for businesses to come to Kendall County and by having systems in place to develop skilled and educated people available for employment. Many of these opportunities are already available throught the department of economic development. I would support the services of this department as well as working with other elected officials and partnerships within the county to ensure our economic and employment growth.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?
Crime is higher in certain portions of the county than others. I am committed to working with the elected leaders in the municipalities throughout our county and with the Kendall County Sheriff’s department to determine effective solutions to this issue.
What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?
There are many local bridges that have a rating of poor. I would like to investigate the feasibility of the repair and/or reconstruction of these bridges first.
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
Government and elected officials should be ethical and transparent in the work they do. In order to ensure this, strong ethics laws are important. Measures such as campaign contribution limits and measures that seek to further increase transparency between units of government and residents are some measures which I support.
What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
The Illinois Freedom of Information Act is important for transparency within government.
Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.
Government transparency is important. I would like to see the county level of government become more easily and readily accessible to the public. This could involve the use of social media to share the happenings in the county government and the possibility of streaming the various county meetings so that the residents could easily access them at a time and place that is convenient for them.
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non- disclosure agreements with private businesses?
Government employees should not be allowed to sign non- disclosure agreements with private businesses. It is important that government employees and officials be transparent in all dealings with private businesses.
Would you push for or against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses?
I would push against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses as it is important to maintain transparency in government.