Craig Roman, DeKalb County Board 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Election 2024
DeKalb County Board District 10 candidate Craig Roman

Full Name: Craig Roman

What office are you seeking? County Board District 10

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Currently elected to County Board District 6, which after redistricting I reside in District 10

City: DeKalb

Occupation: Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer

Education: A degree in Mortuary Science

The DeKalb County Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a public facility owned by DeKalb County government, is under financial distress, according to county officials. Budget constraints brought to light in 2021 made it difficult for the center to maintain its financial independence. The county board last year dissolved the center’s operating board, and hired a consultant to help determine the future of the facility: Whether to sell it (current county leadership says that is not the preference), or how to maintain its financial autonomy. If elected, what would you want to see become of the county nursing home?

We need the building to be viable for the community, if reducing the size of the nursing home and using the other as a memory care unit or something that would let both areas flourish. Doing that would allow a name change that could remove any negative impact the facility may have. A manager that has local roots and a feeling for the community would also be something I’m interested in seeing.

With the building being attached to the health department I see many issues in trying to sell it. If we lease the facility out I don’t think we will see the financial benefits we need to see.

How would you address financial constraints at the nursing home as a county board member?

There are options to reduce the size of the nursing home and add memory care unit or something that could sustain the building by itself would be something I’d be interested in hearing more about.

What are the three biggest challenges facing the DeKalb County Board?

The nursing home, solar development and water infrastructure in the county

Please provide specific ideas for how you would address these issues if elected, or solutions you would offer?

I have proposed a solar ordinance that passed the board to come back to committee to be changed and I have voted no on it since. On Planning and Zoning we are going over our solar ordinance to see if there are any areas we need to bolster since the time we wrote it.

The nursing home is a numbers issue, we need 175 beds full we have 120 (it changes daily) beds full. If we could increase the bed usage or lower their area and add a needed service to offset the negative income shortage.

With the water infrastructure we are currently donating $10,000 to the communities within the county to help with the costs.

What makes you specifically qualified to run for DeKalb County Board? What would you bring to the table, and how would it benefit the board? Please provide specific examples.

I have been elected to the board, I currently serve as the chair of the forest preserve committee and I serve on the executive committee and I serve on planning and zoning

In 2021, the DeKalb County Board took up votes for several solar energy farms of significant size. The projects, which were approved amid some lengthy debate, spawned a significant amount of community feedback, some negative, some positive, some related to county board regulations for future farms. Where do you stand on the topic of solar energy, and what role do you believe the county board should play in that?

I am in support of property rights. I still have a hard time seeing how a farm could build a silo or an elevator 50 feet from a property line but a 12′ solar panel is an issue.

The further the setback is, the useable property size is diminished for the land owner. Placing berms and vegetation is now adding a permanent fixture for a temporary use item.

The DeKalb County Board’s budget was passed for Fiscal Year 2022 at $96 million. Would you advocate to change it or make cuts? If so, where? Why or why not?

I think we are doing a good job of services delivered for taxes collected. It will be interesting to see what the new construction of Amazon, Meta, the solar farms and other new construction will add to the tax rolls and to see if we need additional services or if we can reduce the taxes on the residents.

Inflation across the nation has greatly impacted the price of gasoline, food and supplies. Recent rent hikes also are affecting local communities, forcing relocation for those reliant on subsidized housing in DeKalb County, according to a recent Daily Chronicle report and the DeKalb County Housing Authority, which is a branch of county government. What can the DeKalb County Board do to address relief of everyday expenses, and reduce the tax burden on local residents?

Well our largest employer is NIU, they pay no property tax. So we need to offset that with new economic growth. We are realizing that now, so we have to see what comes in and where those funds are needed.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census, DeKalb County’s population dropped by about 4,000 people over the past decade, mostly concentrated in the DeKalb area. Population sizes can directly impact revenue streams for municipal budgets such as local sales tax and motor fuel use, and economic development. How would you rank economic development as a priority within your campaign, and what, if elected, would you do to ensure DeKalb County progresses into the next decade?

Economic development ie new home construction has been sparse since 2008, I think 20 homes have been built, but many multi rental buildings have gone up in the same time. The addition of large economic businesses recently will add to the economic development so I hope our brighter days are ahead.

Assess the DeKalb County Health Department’s actions to combat COVID-19? What changes, if any, need to be made related to the pandemic?

Well I have to commend the Health Department for all that they did to get those of us that wanted to be vaccinated or boosted. Running the large vaccination sites to their mobile vaccination vehicle I believe help bring the vaccinations to those that wanted it.

How would you encourage economic and employment growth within DeKalb County?

Having a good relationship within communities of the county, working with them and the economic development to help bring the needed manufacturing positions to the county. We are a service based economy, services are not taxed.

Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?

Every place has a local crime problem. That could mean just one person who attracts the wrong crowd. Increase the population increase the percentage.

What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?

The roads we drive on the most, garner the most criticism. I drive down South Malta Road daily. It’s a washboard as a street. The county has nothing to do with that road, it’s covered by the city of dekalb and the township. So we as a county assist the cities and the townships by letting them tag along to our purchases which lowers their costs.

Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?

Yes but we need the economic development to offset the taxes. We will see when those two intersect then we could see about lowering taxes.

Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?

We need to make sure our elected representatives are there to serve the people, not their self interests. If strong ethics laws help combat that, I’d be In favor of them.

What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?

As a member who has had my information foia’ed I understand that we are representatives of the community and I was happy to provide the information.

Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.

As my part in my Facebook group I post the link to the meeting agendas as well as a photograph of the weekly calendar. I’m all for informing the residents and keeping transparency transparent.

What would you push for as a member of county government to boost local businesses?

I’m all for bolstering our local business, I don’t think there has been a request by a resident that I have voted no on in P&Z

Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses?

If it is private information, ie if a member has or is looking to add a solar installation, I’d expect them to abstain from any vote that would benefit them.

Would you push for or against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non- disclosure agreements with private businesses?

It would be a case by case basis. How it would or could effect the representative or themselves. I had no issue with the economic interest form.