Full Name: Susan George
What office are you seeking? Campton Hills Village Trustee
What is your political party? n/a
What is your current age? n/a
Occupation and Employer: Business Owner/Dogtopia S. Elgin and Event and Volunteer Coor./Pioneer Center for Human Services
What offices, if any, have you previously held? Campton Hills Village Trustee
City: Campton Hills
Education: Bachelors in Business
Community involvement: The community work I do is through the Village as well as through my employment. I manage three groups of volunteers who fundraise and educate the community on behalf for the homeless, developmentally disabiled and children and families in need of behavioral health services.
Marital status/Immediate family: Yes, I am married and we have raised our two grown children in Campton Hills.
Why are you running for office?
I am running for office to maintain our $0 municipal tax, to continue to bring our share of state funds back to our residents and to protect our natural resources, financial security, police and emergency preparedness and semi-rural heritage.
Additionally, there is much to do and now is the time to focus on protecting our Water Resources. We are a village of wells and our residents know how precious their water is. I have worked diligently to bring our residents to this milestone in our Village’s development. All of this work has created the perfect time and foundation to focus on our water resources.
What makes you qualified for the office you’re seeking?
I love serving and enjoy people. I thank the residents for valuing my service, skills and trustworthiness as their Trustee. Additionally, I have been honored and privileged to steward Campton Hills from its infancy through prosperous and difficult economic times and a pandemic.
I also created a joint environmental management committee between the Village and Campton Township, have written and co-authored policy, sought and achieved bringing thousands of dollars of grant funds to the village as well as in-kind contributions. These funds were used to develop tools to protect our natural resources and create our Comprehensive Plan. This same financing also developed our first Green Infrastructure Report that is used in our planning process.
My educational and professional background includes a degree in Business, my management of a farm, my experience as a small business owner and full-time professional at a non-profit for the homeless, developmentally disabled and those in need of behavioral health services.
What is your position on the Illinois weapons ban that took effect in January 2023?
Whether the state has the ban or not this does not change the training or preparedness of our police department to serve our residents, families and visitors. The Village Board interviews the Chief of Police during the hiring process. Every year there are new and additional mandates by the state for all police departments. All have been met by our Police Department through the leadership of our Chief of Police, Steve Millar. Safety, communication, education and preparedness are the priorities for our department. Monthy the Chief reports on all aspects of policing along with equipment and training updates.
Is crime a problem in your community and, if so, what would you do to curb it?
I am proud to say that during my terms of stewardship as Trustee, Campton Hills received the Safest Cities Award three years in a row and we have been selected as one of the top 10 Safest Cities in Illinois. Our police chief and department excel at their training, engage with our community on numerous levels, solve crimes and issues with urgency, care, dignity and compassion to our residents, families and visitors. Prior to being a village our police services were through Kane County with limited services and coverage due to their responsibility being county-wide. With our dedicated police department our officers know our community and consistently demonstrate their preparedness.
What is your assessment of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled locally?
COVID-19 was a moving target for two years. Everything about it was new and I alongside fellow board members and the Village President Mike Tyrrell, police department and staff learned much about governing during a pandemic, health, safety, privacy, immunizations on a mass scale, communication, resources and most of all how a community can come together to support one another during the most difficult of times. Given what we knew during this time period, I am proud to say that, in partnership with our community, we handled it very professionally and compassionately.
What did you learn from the pandemic?
We were able to serve our residents well through out the pandemic. Our police department, staff and myself as a Village Trustee with our Village Board maintained our routine schedules of communication to the public and meetings open virtually with our residents. We never skipped a beat. Our police department was amazing risking their lives to keep us safe especially with so much unknown during the early stages of the pandemic. At-risk residents were cared for and resource information was kept up-to-date through our village newsletter, Community Counts. Gettng our businesses up and running as soon as they were eligible and able was impairative. As with all experiences the more situations you handle of a similar nature the more is understood and managed differently for improved outcomes in the future. We are prepared.
How would you spur economic development in your community?
Campton Hills is different than other municipalities for we do not have a municipal tax. Yes, our municipal tax is $0. For these reasons, we are a unique Village. Much of our funding comes from state reimbursement of MFT (Motor Fuel Tax) and property tax. Additionally, we have a fully funded police pension and our reserves are in order. We have $0 debt.
Economic development is still important to maintain the quality of our local businesses and our quality of life in our community. As a small business owner I understand the incredibly difficult times our business owners are facing. Staffing and the cost of goods has made the existance of a business challenging. As our village mission states, I as a Trustee and resident “value helping to generate and maintain a strong business foundation in our village for the present and future residents and visitors”.
Would/can/should local governments do anything to help reduce the tax burden on residents?
Yes! I have held the line on my promise as an elected official of our village on having $0 municipal tax. Annually during our budgeting process I have been steadfast on keeping a fiscally sound budget and being conservative in our approach. Additionally, I spoke personally with then Gov. Rauner, during a state drive down rally dinner for elected officials, that his “Agenda Plan” was not workable for our village to levy a tax to our residents. He was surprised and this educated him of this unique nature of our village and a few others. Over time his Agenda Plan did not come about.
Do you support recreational marijuana being sold in your community to help lower residents’ tax burden?
Taxes associated with consumption of similar items such alcohol and tobacco already contribute to our tax base.
What projects or infrastructure would you look to address in your community and how would you do it?
Roads are our most important infrastructure project. We have many fund revenue sources and grants that largely pay for our roads. I have worked in coordination with our Public Works and Finance Committees and experts to finalize a new prioritization process for roads in our Village. For the first time we will see 10 miles of roadway improved for our residents next season. Road construction is well over $100,000/mile and in some cases over $300,000/mile. Some grants require us to provide a match. With county, state and federal funds, grants, reserves, a new bidding process, road analysis and roadway prioitization we are on sound footing. We are a lean governing body and our financial health is strong. As a Trustee, I am diligent in balancing needed services and resources while being fiscally conservative.
Will you accept the voters’ decision in your race on Election Day?
Our government is a democracy and all have the right to be heard through the voting process. For this reason I would absolutely respect the voters’ decision.
What is your position on open, transparent government?
My position has always been and remains that a transparent government is the best policy. Prior to being Village it was necessary to attend county board meetings held during the day as well as read communication materials that had a fraction of relevant information to our community. Now we have our own Village staff that can be meet with face to face or over the phone any business day of the week. You know your Chief of Police by name and you even know and have seen Koda of our K-9 unit. Residents and others can sign up for our newsletter Community Counts, can attend any of our board, commission or committee meetings and speak directly to a board, commission or committee member at an evening meeting. We just recently finished our own board meeting room in our newly renovated Village Hall. Ordinances, budgets, minutes, meeting schedules, parade notices, community resources and other transparent information is available on the website daily.
Do you support the Freedom of Information Act and citizens’ ability to freely access government records?
Would you sign a nondisclosure agreement with a prospective company that would limit your ability to communicate with your community?
Currently I am not in an employment role that would limit my ability to communicate with my community nor do I anticipate signing a nondisclosure with a prospective company that would result in limitations.