Thomas Kitson, Lee County Board 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire

Election 2024

Full Name: Thomas Kitson

What office are you seeking? Lee County Board Member

What offices, if any, have you previously held? Lee County Board Member, Lee County Housing Authority Chairman

City: Dixon

Occupation: Retired Supervisor

Education: Associates Degree Sauk Valley Community College

Bachelors Degree in Business Management National Louise University

Campaign Website: No

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?

We partner with Lee County Industrial Development and Rochel Economic Development to improve these conditions. Lee County continues to improve our zoning department working with individuals as well as developers.

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?

The board continues to support individual communities in the development of their EMS services. The county board approves the growing board membership in the smaller outlying communities.

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?

Privatized ambulance services could not support themselves in the past requiring fire departments to take over these services, however, with new government funding it may be time to review this again. County government can not at this time afford to subsidize these costs and programs without tax increase.

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?

County government continues to support this growth and has representatives on boards, but can not fund it at this time.

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?

Lee county is continuing to restructure green energy ordinances trying to balance farm owner participation with residential concerns. I am proud to serve on the Lee county green energy committee as we work our way through these changes and partner with the public in doing so, looking toward the future.

Should counties do more to expand access to county government?

Lee county takes due diligence to be transparent in all government activity. Meetings are always open to the public, minutes are available on line. We have recently made the decision to hold board meetings at night allowing more access for residents to attend.

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

Yes, The Lee county board has recently contracted to purchase new equipment to make this more available and better quality.

Should the county website be updated?

The county website is a living document and will always need updating.

Should board members be required to have email connections?

Lee County recently purchased tablets for the use of each board member. They can be kept in the court house or taken home. This program allows all board members immediate updates on either the tablet or their home computer.

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

This has recently been up graded, however the county continues to review the future.

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

Attracting business to our area due to taxes and work force issues are the biggest challenges. As the state of Illinois continues to make economic changes it helps the counties and cities do the same. We are working with the Rochel Economic Development team and are expanding industry into the eastern part of Lee county. There is a lot of economic growth in the corridor along Interstate 88 and I 39. Two major railroads also service this area. I believe the Lee County Tourism department is doing an outstanding job with tourism, and the county board continues to support them.

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

Small town values and outstanding work ethic are the main ones.

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

I think it is great, because it allows anyone to see how government works and keeps people honest.

Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.

I will work to continue open meetings, and on line attendance for the residence of Lee county.

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

I am presently pushing to help our businesses with distribution of the Covid relief funds. I continue to encourage county purchase from Lee county businesses and suppliers when possible. I am proud of the accomplishes we have made so far.

Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign nondisclosure agreements with private businesses?


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

I would push for them not being allowed to. I am fully in support of transparency and open meetings.

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 a member of the finance committee for the Lee County board I hake great pride in the fact we have had a balanced budget and cut costs during my time. We will continue to work with the outstanding department heads in the county to cut costs. It is the job of the County board to be fiscally responsible and we will continue to do so. This is part of our elected responsibility.

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

Lee county is a very safe county. With our states attorneys office, Sheriffs department, and our Judicial system we will continue with due diligence to keep our county safe.

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

Our highway engineer and highway department do an outstanding job of prioritizing road and bridge jobs with the limited motor fuel tax revenue we receive. However it is important to know which roads are State, County, and Township

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

I do support strong ethics laws. As we continue to develop increased transparence and more open meetings this will continue to improve.

Lee County received $6.6 million in ARPA funds. What do you think of how the county has used the funds so far, and what do you think the county’s remaining ARPA money should be used for?

I think the ARPA committee has done an outstanding job. This is tax payer money and needs to be used by the guidelines given to us by the federal government . The ARPA came to the board for guidance in the disbursement of funds.