September 30, 2023


Sean Bond, Whiteside County Board 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Whiteside County Board candidate Sean Bond

Full Name: Sean Bond

What office are you seeking? Whiteside County Board Member

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Sauk Valley Community College Student Trustee 2000-2001 and 2007-2008

City: Sterling

Occupation: Registered Nurse

Education: ADN - RN Sauk Valley Community College 2009

BSN - RN Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing 2017

MSHS - Clinical Operations and Healthcare Management Expected graduation May 2023

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?

Whiteside county will need to ensure that adequate and affordable housing is available. More housing means more residents, which leads to more spending that can drive the growth and formation of local businesses. The county should be looking at zoning necessary for housing and forming partnerships with city governments, non-profits, and community members to ensure adequate and affordable housing is available.

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?

Whiteside county should look at sharing equipment between different villages and municipalities. A centralized location could allow for buying supplies in bulk or partnering with the hospital to leverage existing vendor relationships and savings. In terms of attracting firefighters and EMTs, Illinois at the state level is looking at a tax credit for volunteers. This could be augmented by local reimbursements for necessary training and education.

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?

It is not the time to privatize. Services should be coordinated at the county level between various municipalities or villages. This may require some increased county funding. Subsidizing some hiring and training costs could allow the hospital or municipal fire departments to retain more paid fire and EMS personnel. there also could be partnerships throughout the county regarding marketing to attract and retain volunteers.

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?

Whiteside county should be pursuing NTIA Broadband Infrastructure grants as well as other funding sources available at the state and federal level. Ideally the county would see all municipalities offering broad band as an alternative to private providers. This would allow the county and municipalities to increase connectivity and to ensure that areas that are not well served by private companies have the same ability to connect.

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?

Whiteside county should be looking at enhancing any federal and state subsidies for increasing green energy projects. If public county land is available and suitable it should be used first. There should be no conflict with growers as everyone should want good environmental conditions. There is a balance. The county should explore offering growers or property owners the option of dedicating certain parts of their property to green energy production for reasonable compensation. The county should also explore the Climate Smart Commodities Program as well as nominating some community members serve on the Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee (FRRCC) of the EPA.

Should counties do more to expand access to county government?

Yes. Anything to increase transparency and access should be done.

Should video of committees and board meetings be continued/expanded?

Yes. Recordings and video taping of government proceedings should be available so that county members who cannot attend have opportunities to be informed about decisions affecting them.

Should the county website be updated?

Yes. I feel that the website could be better designed and more accessible.

Should board members be required to have email connections?

Yes. Constituents should be able to reach board members by e-mail.

What technology upgrades and resource allocation is required to make it happen?

Whiteside county should be able to add email accounts for board members to the existing network infrastructure. If necessary additional web hosting could be obtained at a reasonable cost to improve the website and expand e-mail.

What challenges is the region facing in terms of attracting business and tourism?

Whiteside county should be aiding and bolstering efforts of communities to develop areas for business growth. The area around the sterling riverfront is one area that could be significantly improved. The county should also be supporting the development of business incubators throughout the county and partnering with city governments to aid businesses with regulatory issues.

What tools and services do northern Illinois communities have that can be better applied to this effort?

The communities throughout Whiteside county are resilient independent creative and compassionate. their is a rich history to the region as well as successful businesses. With the right partnerships and support the county can assist all of these communities with growth and success.

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

I am supportive of the act and am in favor of any transparency with relation to government functions.

Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.

All meetings posted and announced in accordance with the open meetings act. compliance with all FOIA requests. Taping of all board meetings. availability of board members by e-mail. Use of closed sessions only for legal issues protected by privilege. Offer sufficient time for public comment on county business both at meetings and in writing.

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

Subsidizing hiring, training, or insurance costs so that businesses can employ more community members. Incentivizing reductions in disparities between management and median employee wage as well as incentive for reducing disparities with regard to minority employees. All of these will help local businesses attract and retain talent and help the community as a whole.

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

Only as a condition of a legal settlement or proceeding. Government actions should be transparent and open to the public to increase accountability.

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

Against. All actions by Whiteside County, county employees, or county officials should be open and transparent to the public. The only exception being an NDA as part of a legal proceeding or settlement.

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?

Whiteside county should attempt to control inflation. Changes in bonds issued by the county or municipalities within the county can have a positive effect on inflation. Housing is a key driver of inflation so the county can also explore changes to zoning. Affordable housing should be built in a coordinated way that in the long run can result in more options and better synergy with transportation available.

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

Whiteside County is generally safe. There is crime at a level lower than the average in other counties. I believe mental health and addictions are a large driver in crime. Some counties and municipalities have begun pairing a health professional with a Crisis Intervention Team-trained police officer. I think this could be an approach utilized in Whiteside county. There could be coordination with local and nearby behavioral health units and Emergency departments. In many cases behavioral interventions can deescalate situations, secure help for individuals, and decrease future crime. They also allow police to spend more time preventing and investigating crime as opposed to dealing with mental health emergencies.

Whiteside county should also explore using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for programs in violence prevention and crime reduction similar to many other counties. This should be done in partnership with non- profits.

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

I agree with the current county plan for road projects over the next few years. Going forward I believe Whiteside county should evaluate road projects and transportation in general with a focus on improving community health and safety.

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

I do not support decreasing property taxes. I would support possible caps or changes that would help reduce property taxes for elderly residents on fixed incomes and cost burdened home owners. Adjustments could be made to sales tax rates or county fees to make up any losses in revenue.

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

I support strong ethics laws at all levels of government including some rules already in place and some that could be expanded. I support full financial disclosures during election periods for all elected officials. Publishing of all county official and employee compensation in a clear and transparent way, disclosure of any investments by county officials. Disclosures of all conflicts of interest or apparent conflicts. And abstention for individual members if such conflicts exist. I would also support a formal method to deal with comments from constituents considering potential unethical behavior of county officials or employees.

Is the Whiteside County airport underutilized, especially as it has a runway that can handle commercial traffic?

I believe the Airport is underutilized. Whiteside county should develop a plan for expanding the airport and the space around it to increase utilization. This could include review of zoning, investments in nearby land and road projects as well as business partnerships to increase options of shipping/delivery of goods.

Are there other investments to be made at the airport?

Review of rail access, possible expansion of flight schools or programs, leasing space or creating more space to be leased. Plan to insure that the airport is safe and effective from a public health standpoint as it can be used as an option for air transfers of critical patients.

Is it a matter of promotion?

I do believe that the Airport can be promoted more. Some funds should go into marketing to increase interest and potential business partnerships.

How can the airport be an economic boon?

The airport can link with other modes of transportation over the road and rail to allow more shipping and receiving of goods. Expanding flight programs and training can be an option including leasing space. There could also be programs developed for the community to learn about the history of aviation within and without Whiteside county.

Whiteside County set aside $5 million in ARPA funds for unspecified projects. How should that money be spent and why?

I would favor saving a portion of that money if needed to deal with inflation or to aid county resident’s struggling with the rise in prices and rents. I would also favor putting some of that money towards pandemic and disaster prevention. As we may see future health crises and disasters throughout the county.

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