Kendall County Council District 2 candidate Dan Koukol answered Shaw Local’s election questionnaire for the Kendall County Council primary election.
Voting ends for the primary election on the evening of June 28.
Full Name: Dan Koukol
What office are you looking for? Kendall County Council District. 2
What offices, if any, have you already held? Kendall County Council
Occupation: Managing Real Estate Broker / Small Business Owner
Education: Alumnus of WIU, Waubonnee, Stewart RE Institute, and IPAI, with a focus on agriculture, real estate, and property tax assessment.
Campaign website: FB. Dan Koukol
Property taxes in Kendall County are consistently among the highest in Illinois. What would you do as a county council member to limit the ongoing increases residents are seeing on their property tax bills?
Encourage economic development throughout the county, but with a heavy concentration in our main corridors which have been planned for large box warehouses and other businesses. Communicate with other tax agencies to keep a sharp pencil on expenses, now is NOT the time to raise PROPERTY TAXES.
Is there fat in the county budget? If so, please identify the departments or programs you would like to reduce or eliminate to save funds.
I believe all departments are very lean in the county federal covid funds are available to us so we have done a few small projects to date that we have put a stamp of approval on that are on the books to do since ’08. No tax increases to run the county!
Does the county sheriff’s office need additional funds and/or staff to fight crime in the unincorporated Boulder Hill subdivision or elsewhere in the county? If so, where would these funds come from and how should they be used?
The sheriff’s office and county council have invested additional resources to patrol unincorporated areas of the county. I have met with the Sheriff and Under Sheriff several times to stay up to date on what is going on and solutions to problems. Boulder Hill is always looking for ways to improve our service in this area, not only the sheriff’s office, but also the building/zoning office. The current county sheriff has always had an excellent budget proposal focused on these topics. Unfunded government mandates are the hard-to-fund items.
As a county board member, would you support increased funding and the hiring of additional staff for the Kendall County Health Department?
We have hired more staff during the pandemic through contracts, normal hiring practices to carry out covid mandates. I would support the hiring of more mental health workers, I see the need in our county almost daily.
Do you support the continued efforts of city and county officials to bring Metra commuter rail service to Kendall County?
We absolutely can’t ignore it, BUT the RTA tax that has to come with Metra can be mapped. Ex. Someone who lives in the Minooka part of Kendall shouldn’t have to pay tax for Metra…never use it. Perhaps also a tax exemption for senior citizens.
Would you support the county’s membership in the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) as a condition of obtaining service?
The RTA tax has the ability to be mapped. (cut out an area) where it will be used the most. Not every Kendall should be asked to pay this tax. This project also needs more than 300 million on the local share to make it happen. I realize that many developers sold our region on the idea that it would happen much sooner, it didn’t. It’s on the books but not funded.
How would you rate the county’s efforts to date to attract new businesses and industries to the county?
I’m the chair of economic development for Kendall County. We have projects going right now, Ridge and 80, we have two large scale warehouses going. One of the warehouses will pay over a million euros in property taxes. It will create more jobs, more people to eat, and therefore a sales tax as well. It is now open land which pays little property tax now.
What would you do as a county government member to boost local businesses?
The beautiful county we have, forest reserves, open lands, hard workers and low crime. We are a community founded on small businesses, our employees take care of them and use them daily. My neighborhood is a fast growing area with a small town feel. Encourage businesses to become active in the community to ensure success!
If elected, will you enroll in the county employee health insurance program?
I am self-employed, I have a policy that satisfies me. Things change in the blink of an eye, so I’m constantly making comparisons. I am part of the HR COMMITTEE which oversees this area, we receive quarterly reports and monthly updates. We are required by law to offer health insurance to employees, we have changed coverages, providers and agents many times over the years for cost saving measures.
What steps can Kendall County Council take to minimize the tax burden on residents without sacrificing services?
The only way to vote to raise taxes is to vote to raise the overall tax levy for the county portion of your taxes. The tax bill is broken down by tax agencies, county, schools, library, etc. I NEVER voted to increase your county levy. This is the only sample that this organization controls.
Are you in favor of lowering local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
I would like all taxing bodies to reduce their share of the tax bill. Never has there been a time like now that the people of this county need help. Cut budgets, delay capital projects, and give it back to the taxpayer with a lower tax bill. The government needs to reduce red tape for large building development projects that produce no children and pay a lot of property taxes. The county is one of the smaller bills on your overall tax bill. At present, most of the burden is on rooftops (houses) and little industrial tax base.
How would you encourage economic and job growth in Kendall County?
I did, working with economic development departments across the county and region. We let real estate headhunters for big big companies know that we are friendly and OPEN for business. I’m involved with a local chamber, listening and helping when I can to direct business to our department. I helped bring Macy’s and Electrolux to the county located in Minooka Business Park.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what should be done about it?
Every community has a level of crime, as we grow, that too. I support our local police and county sheriff’s office. Personally, I believe in keeping the police funded with the appropriate levy to ensure community safety. People and businesses want to come to safe communities, they check them out before they move or start building million square foot buildings. I support the police! I also believe that we need to develop a larger program to meet the needs of our disabled and elderly population for home repairs, financial scams and cleaning scams, etc. I often hear stories where our local elders have been exploited in one way or another.
What local road and bridge projects should be prioritized in the county?
The Johnson and Ridge Rd red light is in preparation, the City of Plainfield is the lead agency.
WOLF ROAD, is one of the biggest and most needed projects in District 2. As you all know, it’s a traffic nightmare! Most of this road is the village of Oswego but has been a subject for all the tax agencies.
We are excited to have another bridge over the Fox River! The Eldamain Rd bridge over the Fox is ahead of schedule and on track to open in late fall. Kendall County is the lead agency for this bridge. This will ease north and south traffic throughout the county!
Route 30 in District 2 needs help. It is a very busy national road.
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
Yes and the county has just hired in cooperation with the sheriff’s office an inspector general, he/she will not only help in sheriff’s situations, he/she will work on the county side as needed. The county also has an ethics committee made up of community members.
What do you think of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
I think it’s a great source for the public to get the information they need for whatever reason. BUT no one should abuse it, it is very expensive for taxing bodies to produce in some cases. Most things are basic. Anyone can call me and I’ll give them what I can.
Please indicate your plan for maintaining open government.
Keep a close eye on budgets and projects going through the county council. Research the topics that cross our offices. I often drive and physically watch projects and situations throughout the county. Ask questions to administrators and elected officials and get information on how services work…
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private companies?
Yes, otherwise the big companies researching our country will miss out until the next period.
Would you lobby for or against allowing government officials and employees to sign non-disclosure agreements with private companies?
If you as a taxpayer want business to come, we have to allow non-disclosure. Ex. I was asked by a company how far was a Jimmy Johns sandwich shop from where they were looking……an important factor with the staff. They ask and do a lot of research that we don’t even think about and don’t take for granite. They don’t want the competition to know the ins and outs of what they’re doing at the research stage…