I spent the evening of January 24, 2018 in Afolkey, IL with a concerned group of neighbors wanting to discuss the future of their small community with the CEO of Berner Foods and its new, expanded production facility. The dialogue was lively at times, but meaningful. Both sides had opportunities to share and communicate. This is how collaboration works! More meetings are scheduled and hopefully everything moves positively.
Collaboration is what we need in Springfield as well. The first thing that I want to work to change in Springfield is the wording in the budget that takes Motor Fuel Tax dollars from every rural county’s highway maintenance program. These dollars are then diverted to transit districts that are of little or no benefit to residents of rural counties. This means local road districts have to do with less or go to taxpayers for more dollars. Change the language.
Next, we need to be closely following the new evidenced-based funding model that has been rolled out for our schools. Education officials are optimistic that this model can work. However, it requires that the state pay the districts appropriately and on-time. To date, most districts have received their 2017 payments, but have not received first quarter 2018 payments or funding for transportation. Keep on your representative!
Fiscal stewardship is also a key collaboration point. Rampant waste is always brought up, but here at the local level, in the counties of the 89th district, the only waste is the length of belt not needed because we have tightened the belt so many times. The people doing the work are doing the best they can, fighting through the rules and red-tape regulations, that cost time and money. Let’s cut the regulations!
The meeting that took place on January 24, in Afolkey, IL showed great communication and collaboration. We are a district rooted with small communities but it’s important that we lay the groundwork to allow these growth opportunities, such as Berner Foods while keeping our roots intact. It’s about communication and collaboration. As a County Board member my door has always been open and I have listened and responded. As your representative, it will be the same. I intend to be “Your Choice for Your Voice”