Full Name: Sally Douglas
What office are you seeking? Whiteside County Board
What offices, if any, have you previously held? I was a Village of Coleta trustee for 2 years, then took over as Village President for 20 years. I have served on the Board of Trustees for Crime Stoppers.
Occupation: Douglas & Frye Motorsports, office manager, and CGH part time in EVS.
Education: I graduated from Polo High School and attended a few classes, but no degree, from Sauk Valley College.
Campaign Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1088212205076143
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 would guess we need to work on lowering property taxes to make housing more affordable. That would stimulate growth of new housing. If someone can afford to build a new house, their “old” house becomes available for someone else to occupy.
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 suggest an agreement with the local hospitals to cover the shortages. I’m not sure if its a county issue or a city issue. I don’t have enough knowledge of the situation as I have not been involved yet. I would do a little more homework before I could make that decision.
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?
I am not sure as I don’t have all the information available to me. I believe there are private services already in Lee county. How that works for them, I don’t know. If it works, that’s great. Maybe we need to look into it for Whiteside as well. But if it doesn’t, there needs to be further research done to find a solution.
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 was not aware that was a shortfall in this area. There again, I would suggest private companies encouraged to expand.
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?
I feel it is up to the land owner to decide what is best for his or her own land. I don’t think its up the someone else to tell them what’s best for their bottom end.
Should counties do more to expand access to county government?
I may be mistaken, but I think all meetings are open to visitors.
Should video of committees and board meetings be continued/expanded?
Yes, I would agree that the meetings should be video taped. Can’t argue with what is recorded if an issue pops up.
Should the county website be updated?
I have not seen an issue with the website myself. But it is always nice to keep things current.
Should board members be required to have email connections?
I don’t think required, but strongly suggested. Not everyone uses email. Some older folks on the board might not be very savvy with the internet. But it is a great way to communicate.
What technology upgrades and resource allocation is required to make it happen?
I wouldn’t be able to answer that, as I’m not computer savvy myself.
What challenges is the region facing in terms of attracting business and tourism?
I see business in Whiteside county on the rise. There are plenty of job openings in our area. I would like to see more tourism. But we lack in that area.
What tools and services do northern Illinois communities have that can be better applied to this effort?
The Rock River is a great area for recreation. So is the Hennepin Canal Feeder. I’d like to see the “other” side of the Canal utilized. The walking/bike path on one side is great, but the other side is unused.
What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
All public meetings should be that, public. No form of government should try to hide where they are spending tax payers money.
Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.
Follow the rules of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
What would you push for as a member of county government to boost local businesses?
I would love to see the cities and county pass an ordinance to allow Side by Side vehicles on streets. It is a huge opportunity for businesses. Other counties in Illinois have passed it and several cities have also. The people that own them are excited to spend money at local restaurants and gas stations. They travel to cities that they are allowed and would rather spend their money locally.
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non- disclosure agreements with private businesses?
Yes. Sometimes its necessary to attract new business into the area.
Would you push for or against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses?
Push for it.
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?
As the price of everything on the rise, materials for roads, fuel in county trucks, police cars etc, there has to be an offset. Unfortunately something is going to have to suffer. Projects are going to have to be postponed. How you decide what, will remain to be seen.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?
Yes there is. Police do their best to arrest, but they are processed and let back out. Criminals know that are going to get a slap on the wrist and then let go to commit more crime.
What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?
I don’t know the answer to that question. I have not traveled every county road in Whiteside county. I would have to ask the Highway Dept their opinion on that.
Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
I do support decreasing property taxes. And to make up the difference, we would have to curb spending.
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
I was unaware we are having an issue with the current laws. I would need to be more informed to have an opinion.
Is the Whiteside County airport underutilized, especially as it has a runway that can handle commercial traffic?
That’s a great question. There again, I was unaware that we could handle commercial traffic. I would hope that we could attract an Amazon, FED EX or UPS hub.
Are there other investments to be made at the airport?
Maybe a sky diving business. The Rochelle airport seems to do quit well at it
Is it a matter of promotion?
Possibly. I guess it would take some research and see what we are capable of
How can the airport be an economic boon?
Absolutely! Let’s make it happen!
Whiteside County set aside $5 million in ARPA funds for unspecified projects. How should that money be spent and why?
I would suggest all departments that are eligible for the funds apply for the funds. There would have be a committee to decide what projects are the most important.