Brian Jones, Kane County Council 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire – Shaw Local
Kane County Council District 11 candidate Brian Jones answered the Shaw Local Election Questionnaire for the Kane County Council primary election.
Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.
Full Name: Brian Jones
What office are you looking for? Kane County Council – District 11
What offices, if any, have you already held? Recently, I served as Commissioner of the Geneva Police and Fire Commission, an appointed position, for 4.5 years.
City: I was born and raised and currently live in Geneva with my wife and two children.
Education: Geneva High School – 1996
Eastern Illinois University – BA – 2000
Major – Voice Communications
Minor – Business Administration
The John Marshall Law School – JD – 2006
Campaign website: facebook.com/JonesKC11
Are you in favor of lowering local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
First, I think it’s important to note that the Kane County portion of the property tax bill is about 4% of the total amount (6% if you include the forest preserve). I do not know if it is realistic to reduce this levy. In any case, it is essential to strike a balance between reasonable levels of taxation and the services that District 11 voters have come to expect.
What local road and bridge projects should be prioritized in the county?
The Fabyan Road Bridge between Routes 31 and 25 should be a priority.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what should be done about it?
I believe the local police and sheriff are doing a good job of controlling local crime. I continue to support everyone in their role as frontline first responders and thank them for their service.
How will you work to reduce crime in Kane County?
As stated before, I think the local police and sheriff are doing a good job of controlling local crime. I think maintaining quality local jobs and focusing on mental health must remain a priority. If we can strive to get (and keep) our citizens in gainful employment and in good mental health, these benchmarks will help contain crime.
Do you support the diversion program prior to Sheriff Hain’s arrest?
I support Sheriff Hain’s pre-arrest diversion program, which gives law enforcement a way to deal with some issues more constructively than placing a person under arrest. The program enables our police force to work with non-violent offenders who, for example, may be homeless, have mental or substance abuse issues and helps find them appropriate treatment to help reduce recidivism rates. A low-level offender who agrees to participate in the program will be paired with a case manager and sign a contract agreeing to follow the outlined action plan. They could face criminal consequences if they don’t live up to their end of the bargain, so the program isn’t without “bite.”
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
I support any reasonable ethical rule that would better ensure the good conduct of all elected officials.
What would you do as a county government member to boost local businesses?
To a large extent, I would like to stay away from our local governments. I would not like to see unnecessary restrictions or regulations imposed that would hamper local business activity. I think the more quality and sustained tourism we can bring to our region, the better. I would strongly support anything the county can do to help maintain and grow our local businesses.
Why do you think the county has been opening positions for a while and a number of employees have left the county lately. Why do you think county employees are leaving?
A major issue here is that Kane County has a lower pay scale than any surrounding county. We need to be competitive in the hiring market by raising and maintaining salary levels while keeping our taxes as low as possible. Unfortunately, the value of benefits for some of our county employees exceeds the amount of their salaries and an easy solution is to leave for a better deal elsewhere.
How can the county seek to retain employees?
Please see previous answer.
Do you support adding a 0.25% or 0.50% retail sales tax on non-essential purchases (excluding groceries and gasoline)? Why or why not?
It is vital to meet the county’s basic needs within a balanced budget. In any case, it is essential to strike a balance between reasonable levels of taxation and the services that District 11 voters have come to expect. At some point, our COVID relief funds will be fully allocated and we must be open to exploring reasonable ways to generate income.
If there was an increase in retail sales tax revenue, what would you use the additional funds for?
If passed, I would be open to discussions regarding any reasonable allocation of additional funds that would directly and positively support our county’s bottom line and support local businesses.
Do you support a county gas tax hike? Why or why not?
No. Gas is quite expensive right now and many of our residents already feel stuck at the pump. As things stand, we have a significant amount of bailout funds that should address the issue within the next couple of years. This may need to be reassessed in a few years.
If there was an increase in county gas tax revenue, how would you propose to use the new funds?
If there were to be an increase in county gas tax revenue, I think it should be used for transportation and infrastructure.
Do you support more warehouses and industrial development in Kane County? Why why not?
I support the measured and thoughtful growth of business activity in Kane County with a focus on maintaining the current quality of life for our residents. By growing our county’s economy with quality businesses (including warehouse and industrial development), we add local jobs to our community and increase our tax revenue.
How can municipalities best manage the increase in tractor-trailer traffic?
I think this question is best answered with a traffic engineering study.
Should county and municipal officials be required to publicly disclose the identity of a company, such as Amazon, that seeks to establish a foothold in the county?
Currently, all parties claiming public rights are required to disclose the name of the owner and the name of the claimant. I believe there should be a default towards transparency.
What do you think of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
FOIA.gov he kindly states that “the fundamental function of freedom of information law is to ensure that citizens are informed, which is essential to the functioning of a democratic society”. I fully support the philosophy behind the Act because it guarantees public access to all but the most personal or sensitive information. It is essential to remember that our elected officials are appointed to serve the public, not the other way around.
Please indicate your plan for maintaining open government.
I support all reasonable measures to maintain and improve open government. I think the county has done a good job maintaining online access to public records and recorded meetings. Please also refer to my previous answers regarding ethics and FOIA.
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private companies?
It depends. As stated earlier, I am a firm believer in open government and our public servants serving the public. At first glance, getting a government employee or official to sign a non-disclosure agreement (“NDA”) seems like a bad idea. Public business must be conducted in accordance with the law, including any required disclosure.
Would you lobby for or against allowing government officials and employees to sign non-disclosure agreements with private companies?
Please see my previous answer.
How can the department best support municipalities seeking to promote restaurants, nightlife and tourism (Saint-Charles, Geneva, Batavia)?
In addition to staying away from our local governments, I believe our county could support municipalities (and our local businesses) in striving to bring more visitors to town. There may be additional opportunities to organize local festivals, musical attractions or sports activities for young people/high school students/amateurs.
As part of promoting our local hospitality businesses, I would like to help facilitate the sale and redevelopment of the former Sheriff’s Office and Jail on Fabyan Parkway. This 40-acre parcel should be made productive and placed on the tax rolls, which will help support the balanced budget. Ideas for this space can include a multi-sports complex, a hotel (or both). The thoughtful development of this space would bring a lot of synergies and new visitors to our local restaurants, hotels and tourism in the region.
How long should the county support the Kane Vax Center in Batavia?
This issue should be examined and leashed to ensure that, if it is to remain open, it is used effectively.
The county council used more of the revenue it received from the US bailout to fund mental health services than it gave to social safety net services such as shelters for the -shelter and pantries. How can the county make funding for pandemic-affected nonprofits more equitable?
The priority should be to first ensure that the county has recouped its direct budget losses from the pandemic. Second, we must ensure that internal projects authorized by the bailout are assessed and approved. Once these first two priorities are addressed, we can see how much money remains to be distributed among social safety net services.
Do you support giving more of the $103 million in funding the county received to social services?
Please see my previous answer.
Do you agree with the county paying a civil servant’s tuition? Please explain.
I support the procedures put in place by the recent amendments to the county employment policy. This policy creates the framework for assessing whether or not to pay an employee’s tuition fees and defines the parameters in this regard.