Full Name: Ernie smith
What office are you seeking? Whiteside county board
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Presently on the Whiteside county board
City: Sterling Illinois
Education: Hi school, some college
One of the biggest local issues curtailing economic development and growth is available affordable housing. The 2022 Census showed Lee and Whiteside both with more than 90% occupancy of existing residences. What is the role of the county to ensure there is available housing as it works to attract new businesses to the region?
Make sure that the fair housing act is followed.
Many villages and municipalities in Lee and Whiteside have their own ambulance services, which are often strapped for cash to maintain operations. In addition, there are critical shortages of qualified EMTs and firefighters. What role should county government play in resolving these associated problems?
Unfortunately higher taxes are sometimes needed to maintain services. Most villages have volunteer firefighters. I’m not sure how county could help with EMTs
Northern Illinois counties are woefully behind when it comes to broadband and modern communications. What role does the county government have in equipping the region to meet the communication needs of the future?
I believe measures are in place right now to improve this situation.
Should counties do more to expand access to county government?
The public can join any board meeting when they are scheduled. And committee meetings are open to the public. Also you can ask for transcripts. I don’t know what more you could do.
Should video of committees and board meetings be continued/expanded?
Videos should be continued
Should the county website be updated?
The website is continually being updated
Should board members be required to have email connections?
What technology upgrades and resource allocation is required to make it happen?
I‘m not sure
What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
Everyone has a right to request or access records.
Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.
Transparency has always been in place and will stay in place.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?
Yes there is a local crime problem. Whiteside county sheriffs department is better qualified to answer this.
What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?
Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
I don’t believe you should decrease the local property tax at this time
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
I don’t think we need stronger ethics laws.
Is the Whiteside County airport underutilized, especially as it has a runway that can handle commercial traffic?
Are there other investments to be made at the airport?
Is it a matter of promotion?
Whiteside County set aside $5 million in ARPA funds for unspecified projects. How should that money be spent and why?
There are many sectors that need money. They may petition the board to see if the money can be allocated to them.