Full Name: LINDA PENNELL
What office are you seeking? Whiteside County Board District 2 /Whiteside Precinct 5
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Sterling City Alderwoman at large Whiteside County District 2, Precinct 5, Rock Falls Chamber Board
City: Rock Falls
Occupation: Server at Golden Meals and Whiteside County Senior Center
Education: Associate Degree for Human Services, 38 credit hours for Bachelors Degree for Public Safety and Government
Campaign Website: not at this present time
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?
I am not sure how the county can handle this, but I believe this should be handled by the federal government. I know that there use to be a group that would come in and redo houses, and then sell them to low income families. If the county could ensure that there would be available housing, does that mean that we would be putting more money out of our pockets and more taxes to the citizens of the county?
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?
I would say that we need to get more incentives and we need to possible increase pay to these ambulances services, and also find a way to maybe change hours as they would not have to work as much or at least not to the point where they are exhausted.
Is it time to encourage privatizing ambulance services, consolidate services and provide them at county level, or augment state funding with county funds to existing units?
Would this not be an area for the city to consider also? Privatizing ambulance services or even consolidating them, at this point i think would cost more money and even the tax payers money. I am not real sure on this question.
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?
We are already helping with communication needs. When we had the pandemic, we had great internet service to help our school children, plus it was a absolute must for businesses to do remote work at their homes and also where ever was needed. The internet services that we have is affordable, and will will help the citizens, businesses, and all entities in the Whiteside County.
Northern Illinois is seen as having a great deal of potential in developing/expanding green energy in the form of solar and wind. How can the county government play a role in expanding this? At the same time, growers and property owners often express the need to preserve land for crops. Is there a balance to be struck? What are possible solutions?
Some of the benefits of Community Solar are as follows: Save some on your annual electricity bills there are not long contracts to sign we have no rooftop solar panels to install no credit checks But on the other thought, I see that when we go down interstate 40 and other highways, Some of the solars are not working and if they are working , they are going very slow. Now would that stop your TV’s from working, or anything else that is connected to the solar panels? This is just a question!
As far as possible solutions, I am not sure on that! I do know that the Whiteside County does help with the funding of solar systems!
Should counties do more to expand access to county government?
I think we should always keep open ideas to that possibility! I am not sure we need to put out more money, but there are always ideas that can take place with out the financial areas.
Should video of committees and board meetings be continued/expanded?
Yes, I think we should consider to keep open our committees and board meetings as that gives people who cant get to the meetings they have a chance to at least hear and see what is going on.
Should the county website be updated?
Everything needs to be updated and again that takes money! But we always need to update our systems an our website.
Should board members be required to have email connections?
I think that is a decision that is up to each board member. If they choose to have one, then that is their prerogative. But some do not like having them.
What technology upgrades and resource allocation is required to make it happen?
As I send previously, it is up to each person if they want one, but if they don’t, then have the members send the offices a pre stamped envelope postpaid, and they can send the information to each member. This way it is not coming out of the Counties money, but it is coming out of the members pocket.
What challenges is the region facing in terms of attracting business and tourism?
The first thing would be finances! We need to attract the right people and the right businesses, and the population. Where are we right now as we see people leaving our state? We definitely need to find ways to attract new businesses and knowledgeable people.
What tools and services do northern Illinois communities have that can be better applied to this effort?
The only services that I am able to think about would be internet services. We have to have the financial means to acquire tools and services, so that would be a step in the right direction.
What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
Well, I know that we are able to access them by written request. But anymore, I wonder how secure that is? I know that the law is described as keeping the citizens knowing what the Government is doing. I believe we need it, but sometimes you wonder when people ask about certain things, does this cause more problems and concerns? Just a question!
Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.
My thoughts on this is 1. Increase visibly 2 expand social media like to the mall and maybe do commercials 3. Possibly create a public document portal 4.Integrate with other applications to improve information usability 5. Transform Public Records Requests
What would you push for as a member of county government to boost local businesses?
I would say get visible on different websites, and start talking to people. Learn what is needed in your county and your city. Take time to go to all meetings and learn new things so you can as a citizen and a county government official can bring things up at meetings.
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non- disclosure agreements with private businesses?
Not sure on this one, but I do know that sometime you have to be careful of the language in a agreement that does not relate to the information you already have personal or public knowledge. If you are not careful, you ope up yourself for liability.
Would you push for or against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses?
Please refer to the statement i just wrote in the question ask before this one
It appears inflation — in a way that hasn’t been experienced in a long time — is going to be an issue that could affect all local governments for the foreseeable future. What is the role of the county board as rising prices put a pinch on existing revenues?
Right now I believe inflation is 8.5 %. I believe that we would more than likely have to get grants and try to help all local governments. But again there is always the issue of money.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?
Yes! I think that we do have a local crime problem. We have already started new programs in the jail to help with those on drugs, and we need to find programs for our youth to keep them off the streets. You also need to find extra programs to help our youth. We need to get programs not just for our youth, but for the 20′ and 30′s! They are all having issues and they really do not know what to and where to go for help. I think we are starting in the right direction by having programs in the jail and even extending to them after they get out.
What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?
There are many roads in this area that need to be done. Again, can we get grants and can we get help to get these things done? I know that again it seems like I talk about money a lot, but again that seems to be what is holding us back from certain projects.
Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
Yes! By closely watching our spending and what things we really need and don’t need.
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
Talk about the importance of ethics.
Always keep your employees informed about issues that would be of interest to them
Always keep your work Rewards for those of ethical conduct
Always hold people accountable when they violate standards
We have to keep the public’s trust in those who govern our community and put their interests in first
Is the Whiteside County airport underutilized, especially as it has a runway that can handle commercial traffic?
I believe so. We need to have more air shows and more things to do. We had a fly show a few years ago and hopefully we will have more things going on now that the pandemic is over.
Are there other investments to be made at the airport?
We continue to have new projects at the airport. But as we go, we need to always have the extra financing to continue to add more projects.
Is it a matter of promotion?
Well, yes! Do we promote our airport? I don’t think so. But that is my opinion
How can the airport be an economic boon?
By doing more things and having more shows and exhibits
Whiteside County set aside $5 million in ARPA funds for unspecified projects. How should that money be spent and why?
We need to spend the money wisely. I believe we are. We are helping different businesses and different agencies who were affected by the pandemic. We are doing the best we can and we as a County I feel are following the right avenues and will continue to do so.