Be Your Fiscal Watchdog on the Lake County Board
I am the biggest advocate for your pocketbook on the Lake County Board. As your fiscal watchdog, I’m working to ensure that your hard-earned tax dollars are spent as responsibly as possible.
As the Finance Chairman for the Lake County Board, I’ve worked to reduce spending by streamlining government services, eliminating inefficient spending, consolidating departments, and refinancing debt, all while maintaining services. I then led the effort to lower your property taxes by freezing the county’s tax levy, which we’ve now done for two straight years.
As Finance Chairman for the Lake County Forest Preserve, I’ve worked to reduce the overall budget from $102 million to $82 million, which resulted in a significant property tax decrease for Lake County. We accomplished this through streamlining services, consolidating taxing districts, and promoting public-private partnerships and intergovernmental cooperation.
As a result of my fiscally responsible leadership the past eight years, the county was in a strong position to address the COVID-19 pandemic and absorb the resulting costs and decreased revenue. With my strong support, we even took the unprecedented step of allowing Lake County taxpayers to defer paying half of their property taxes this year, ultimately paying in four smaller installments instead of two larger payments.
With your support, in my next term my ambitious goal is to not just freeze the county’s levy, I want to reduce the county’s tax levy. I am working on several initiatives, including some innovative public-private partnerships, that will allow us to lower the county’s tax levy for the first time in memory.
Attract and Maintain Businesses in Lake County to Create Jobs
As a small business owner, I understand the unique needs of Lake County businesses and how we can better support them in order to put Lake County residents back to work. I am working with our job creators in Lake County to help them grow and create jobs.
One of the biggest needs I heard from our businesses was the need for train service to support “reverse commute” workers, allowing our businesses to recruit additional young talent from Chicago. I led the initiative, working with Metra, local communities, Lake County Partners, and a number of our businesses. We were able to secure three reverse commute trains, a huge boost for Lake County businesses.
We are also working to further strengthen our Lake County workforce. As a member of the Lake County Partners Workforce Board, I am working with businesses to learn what skills they are looking for in their future employees. We then work with high schools in the county to put their students through training programs at the College of Lake County, after which those students have jobs waiting for them at businesses in Lake County.
Our economic development work is made much more difficult due to the state’s horrible business climate, with bad policies from Springfield pushing businesses across state lines into Wisconsin. It is made even more difficult by the City of Chicago offering enormous tax incentives to businesses to lure them out of our county, incentives we are not authorized to provide. But we have evolved quickly, upgrading former corporate headquarters to tech and health corridors, replacing lost jobs with new, good paying jobs in expanding industries.
Lake County has some of the most qualified and educated workers in the entire country. It is vital that we continue to provide our workers with rewarding and fulfilling opportunities. I need your vote so I can continue to be a leader in that effort.
Represent Our Community and Protect Our Environment
I have been proud to represent our community on the Lake County Board for the past eight years, and before that as the Mayor of Lake Forest.
Residents know that I work tirelessly for our community, helping solve local issues. I’m working to help address flooding and stormwater management issues, proposing $2 million in spending by the county on retention ponds and drainage ditches. And I am actively monitoring the rebuilding of the East Skokie Drainage Ditch, making sure it does not negatively impact the homeowners who live along the ditch. And just recently I worked to help Knollwood residents whose addresses were going to be changed by the county assessor’s office, helping over 250 residents keep their current addresses.
I am also working to protect the open lands and green spaces that make Lake County such a special place to live. I brought the county, forest preserve, city, and open lands to work together to restore Fort Sheridan using federal grants, restoring and preserving this land for future generations. I raised funds from businesses on a public-private partnership and coordinated state grants to rebuild the Middlefork Bridge and connect the Middlefork Savanna on the south end. And as the Chief Financial Officer of the Lake County Forest Preserves Preservation Foundation, I am working to raise private funds to endow the forest preserve with the funds needed to preserve our open lands while still being able to lower our property taxes.
As part of this effort, I am working to protect our environment. As part of the Energy and Environment Committee at the county, I am working to bring solar energy and electric charging stations to the county to meet a goal of zero net emissions by 2050. I am working to bring together public and private funds to remove invasive buckthorn from the Middlefork Savanna Forest Preserve. And I am hosting an environmental summit to bring together our communities in the region to work together to achieve larger green initiatives such as producing energy in solar fields.
As an active leader in our community, I hope I have your support so I can continue to lead the 12th District forward.