The County voted against the sale of marijuana within their unincorporated areas, however did vote to take 3% from those municipalities who are allowing marijuana dispensaries. The State of Illinois has also promised all jurisdictions 8% to be strictly earmarked toward police/public safety. Assuming the 8% will cover the expected increased expenses placed upon the Sheriff's department, I would vote to use the 3% strictly for social services programs. Lets use this money to help our most vulnerable residents.
With DuPage County being one of only a handful of counties left in Illinois that still have a separate Recorder of Deeds office. The County Clerk indicates her office will be able to absorb this without interruption and it will save the taxpayers money. With that being said, I am a big believer in letting the voters decide on an issue like this. They will make their feelings known as this item will be a referendum in the November election. **UPDATE (August 2020). I was disappointed that the County Board chose to take this issue off the ballot and thus took it out of the hands of the voters.
There are 3 things that I want to be sure of:
a) - Our Community Services/Seniors team has the funds needed to take care of the needs of our senior population, which is expected to double in the next 10 years..
b) - Our clerks office has the funds to make sure our election system is problem free and open and fair to every resident.
c) - Proper Public safety is maintained by making sure our Sheriff's department is staffed appropriately and properly equipped.
Recreational marijuana carries with it real world health and public safety risks. I opposed expansion of recreational marijuana dispensaries in DuPage County when the matter came before the County Board. There are too many unanswered questions about the effects these will cause, and I was not willing to gamble with lives for some additional tax revenue. However, now that they are here, I believe the revenue generated from these dispensaries should be used to mitigate those risks. Focus should be on helping law enforcement combat crime in and around dispensaries. Some of the funds should be used to educate the public on the health impacts of marijuana, especially on teenagers, whose still developing brains are particularly susceptible to damage. There is a great deal of misinformation about marijuana. As a member of the DuPage Board of Health I have worked to make sure the information gets out there so parents, teens, and other users can make informed choices.
I am, and always have been, an advocate for government consolidation where it can save money, and improve efficiencies. I put my money where my mouth is, turning down a taxpayer funded pension I could have received when I was first elected to the Board. I have voted to eliminate stipends for Board Members and elected officials, to reduce raises, and to eliminate other perks. If I was convinced a merger of the Clerk's and Recorder's offices would save money and promote efficiency, while at the same time maintaining the quality of the services provided by our Recorder's office, I would fully support such a merger. I supported a study that looked into this very issue, and which unfortunately did not find much in the way of savings and efficiencies. Also, just last year the Clerk took on the added responsibility of running the Election Commission. A merger with the Recorder's Office should remain on the table, but only when savings can be realized.
For more than two years now I have served as Chairman of the Finance Committee for DuPage County. In that role I have played a big part in managing our budgets, working with senior staff and the Chairman, and coordinating with my fellow Board Members. I have sought to do this in a bipartisan fashion, and members of both parties have complimented my efforts and fairness. I am pleased to report we will balance the budget, this year and next, without raising taxes on the average homeowner. We have done this through careful and conservative fiscal management throughout my time on the Board. This has been a particular challenge during Covid-19, but DuPage County has accomplished what so many other governments have not, and I'm proud of that. I will continue to prioritize public health and public safety in dual roles as Finance Chairman and Board Member, as well as my role as a member of the DuPage Board of Health.