Candidate Questionnaire: Jim Soeldner | WGLT

Candidate Questionnaire: Jim Soeldner

Oct 1, 2018

These responses were submitted by Republican McLean County Board member Jim Soeldner, who faces Democrat David Siebert and Libertarian Paul Michael Enerson. The questionnaire was prepared by GLT in partnership with the League of Women Voters of McLean County. See more candidate responses.

McLean County Board member Jim Soeldner.

Explain any experience you have working or serving with McLean County government.

  • Vice Chairman of the Board
  • Chair of Rules subcommittee
  • Chair of Legislative subcommittee
  • Member Finance committee
  • Member Executive committee
  • Former member of Land use, Justice, Transportation committees

Last fall, the county had to close a $1.5 million budget gap — a deficit that led to an early retirement program and other cuts. What would you prioritize in future budgets if revenues remain tight?

Our biggest expense is our payroll. I think we need to take a look at our workforce.

Economic development and increase in EAV.

What would be your approach to evaluating economic incentives to help bring (or expand) businesses in McLean County?

Limit to manufacturing and technology companies. Limit incentives to retail. Leads to unfair advantage.

Must have benchmarks and evidence that they are being met.

Do you think McLean County should establish a countywide election commission? Why or why not?

Countywide commission under the control of the County Clerk. Over 90 counties in the state have this type of election seems to serve them well. Saves some money, but eliminates a great deal of confusion.

Do you support changing County Board meeting times — from the morning to afternoons or evenings?

I’m willing to bring up the topic after the November election to allow new members to participate in the discussion. Evening meetings for rural districts are an inconvenience to those that have to travel great distances in inclement weather and in Daylight saving time when it gets dark early.

How do you think McLean County government can help to provide more affordable housing in the area?

I’m not sure it should. I see this as a possible money drain and competition to other housing owners. If the municipalities and villages want to take this on, more power to them. Part of housing expense is property taxes passed on by landlords. By keeping a handle on spending, we help keep taxes lower.

How would you describe the relationship between the County Board, the Board of Health and the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council? What role the County Board play in guiding health policy, governance?

Each entity has its place and purpose. The BHCC researches issues and makes reccomendations to the Board of Health and Health Committee,which in turn recommends to the full board for action.Board members relie on the expertise and experience of each committee’s members to provide information and insight on health issues of all types, not just behavorial health. I have no doubt we in McLean County have the best health advisory system in the State of Illinois.

What would be your approach to evaluating land-use requests involving renewable energy like wind and solar?

The county zoning code addresses this issue. The Zoning Board of Appeals does a great job of conducting public hearings, and the Land Use Committee takes up issues and recommends to the full board. I believe in property owner rights, with consideration to non participating property owners.