Kane County Board District 13 candidate Todd Wallace answered Shaw Local’s election questionnaire for the Kane County Board primary election.
Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.
Full Name: Todd Wallace
What office are you seeking? Kane County Board District 13
What offices, if any, have you previously held? July 2021 to present - Kane County Board, District 13 2011 to 2021 - St. Charles Township Board 2004 to 2021 - St. Charles Plan Commission (Chair from 2006 to 2021)
City: St. Charles
Education: University of Illinois, Urbana, 1998 - Bachelor of Science - Agricultural Economics
Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2002 - Juris Doctorate
Do you support decreasing local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
Yes - we are overburdened by taxes at every level. Our real estate tax bills are ridiculously high in Illinois. At the County level, we need to rein in spending and demand that every dollar spent is for a necessary public purpose.
What local road and bridge projects should be a priority to get done in the county?
Roads under the jurisdiction of the County have generally been kept up with and are in good shape. That being said, important County roads like Randall, Kirk, Orchard and others need to continue to be modernized. As County officials, we need to place increased pressure on Springfield so that our Illinois highways are kept up. We have many major commercial arteries passing north-south (IL-47, 25, 31 to name a few) and east-west (IL-72, 64, 38, 56, etc.) that need to be kept in a state of repair.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what needs to be done about it?
If crime happens at all, there is a problem. No person in Kane County should live in fear of themselves or their children being a victim of some random act of violence. We need to fully fund our law enforcement agencies and ensure that they have the support from the community that they need to get their jobs done. We also need to be sure that a robust mental health support network is in place to treat the root causes of crime.
How will you work to keep crime low in Kane County?
Supporting the Kane County Sheriff and court system in giving them the tools that they need to counter criminal activity. Also supporting non-profit groups who are dedicated to addressing poverty, homelessness, mental health, and other areas that contribute to criminal behavior
Do you support Kane County’s pre-arrest diversion program?
Editor’s note: This question has been updated from a previous version to correct that the Kane County State’s Attorney’s office created the program and the Kane County Sheriff’s office participates in it.
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
I support any measure aimed at increasing transparency of County government.
What would you push for as a member of county government to boost local businesses?
I think that in a general sense, business operates best when the government is out of the way. Minimizing barriers to opening and operating business in Kane County seems to make the most sense to me. This would also include promoting incentives for local businesses that may be available in the form of tax relief.
Why do you think the county has had some positions open for a while and a number of employees have left the county in recent times. Why do you think county employees are leaving?
The County should judiciously and strategically invest in its employees. There is no one answer that works across the board. To retain key employees we need to pay them more. If there are positions that are unnecessary, they should be eliminated.
How can the county seek to retain employees?
See previous answer.
Do you support adding either a 0.25% or 0.50% retail tax to non-essential purchases (excluding groceries and gas)? Why or why not?
No. We are taxed enough! Balancing a budget requires cutting spending, not raising taxes.
If there were an increase in retail tax revenue, what would you use the additional funds for?
There are some people in office - I’ve had debates with them over the years - who think about tax revenue as something that “belongs” to the government to figure out how to spend. Even the way that this question is worded makes me think of someone who received a bonus at work and is planning a vacation or new TV. If the government has to sit around and think about ways to spend extra money, that money needs to go back to the people.
Do you support a county gas tax hike? Why or why not?
Absolutely not. No way. Never. Gas tax is the most oppressive and regressive tax in existence because not only does it impact the price of everything we buy, but it disproportionately affects those with the least ability to afford it.
If there were an increase in the county gas tax revenue, how would you propose using the new money?
See previous answers.
Do you support more warehouse and industrial development in Kane County? Why/why not?
Absolutely. Responsible industrial development is the lifeblood of any municipality or county. We should be open to businesses to locate in Kane County and bring in new jobs with them.
How can municipalities best deal with the increase in semi-truck traffic?
Incentivize better route selection through speed and weight restrictions.
Should county & municipal officials be required to disclose to the public the identity of a business, such as Amazon, that seeks to locate in the county?
Sure, to the extent covered by the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act.
What are your thoughts on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
I absolutely support FOIA as a way to bring about increased transparency in government.
Please state your plan to maintain government transparency.
Government officials should strive to fully comply with any laws relating to government transparency. Moreover, any issues being acted on by the County Board should be fully disclosed and discussed in open session.
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign nondisclosure agreements with private businesses?
Although this question is too broad to provide an insightful answer, I would say that no governmental employee or official should do anything to violate what the law requirements as far as availability of information goes.
Would you push for or against government officials and employees being allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private businesses?
How can the county best support municipalities that are seeking to promote restaurants, nightlife, tourism (St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia)?
I think that these businesses are doing fine on their own. Government needs to facilitate incentives that are available but otherwise, get out of the way.
How long should the county support the Kane Vax Center in Batavia?
The Kane Vax Center has been very helpful in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. That being said, the government should only be stepping in to assist private commerce when necessary (as it was in the case of the pandemic). We have robust healthcare resources in Kane County - we should let them do their job now that the worst is behind us. If, in the future, there is a re-emergence of the virus or another similar emergency, we should stand ready to help again.
The County Board used more of the revenue it received from the American Rescue Plan to fund mental health services than it gave to social safety net services such as homeless shelters and food pantries. How can the county make funding for nonprofits impacted by the pandemic more equitable?
There is no way to allocate limited resources in a manner that is going to fully serve every purpose. However, the State of Illinois has really dropped the ball on supporting mental health services and we are fortunate to have had the ability to help close the gap in Kane County.
Do you support giving a larger chunk of the $103 million in funding the county received to social services?
That question is far too broad to answer. I support reviewing requests and providing funding to organizations that have demonstrated an ability to help the greatest amount of people in need.
Do you agree with the county paying the college tuition of a public employee? Please explain.
Any organization should have policies in place relating to tuition reimbursement, etc. There should be guidelines and limits in place and the organization should be transparent about what those are and that they are being followed. The very existence of policies such as these will assure that no single employee is treated unfairly and that the public has full knowledge of how their money is being spent.