These responses were submitted by Libertarian McLean County Board candidate Sol Roberts-Lieb, who faces Republican Lyndsay Bloomfield and Democrat David Parker. The questionnaire was prepared by GLT in partnership with the League of Women Voters of McLean County. See more candidate responses.
Explain any experience you have working or serving with McLean County government.
I currently have no experience serving McLean County. I do have experience working with the County Clerk's office. As someone who has ran for school board I worked with the clerk's office during my run for board. In the fall of 2017, I again worked with the Clerk's office to look into established party rules for the Libertarian Party. Through many discussions, we determined that the party did meet eligibility requirements and was given established party status for the first time in 2018 elections.
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?
The question shouldn't be "if revenues remain tight." The government, county government, in particular, should always have tight budgets. They should prioritize what is the responsibility of the government as opposed to the expanding scope of government. We should focus on what is required first: police, fire, roads, infrastructure. Once all of the required functions of county government are complete, we should stop. The remaining funds should be used as an emergency fund and future taxes reduced.
Services that are not core to the county should be returned to the cities, towns, and local organizations.
What would be your approach to evaluating economic incentives to help bring (or expand) businesses in McLean County?
The incentive should be that the business can make money in our community. We should show them what we have to offer as a community. The county should not be giving tax breaks or TIF districts or anything like that. They have shown not to be effective in the long run, in fact, they take money away from schools and core government services.
Businesses should want to come to McLean due to our workforce, our strong schools, and natural resources.
Do you think McLean County should establish a countywide election commission? Why or why not?
Yes. This should be a non-question for anyone running for the board. Government is there to hear the voices of the people. By having two election commissions, we cause two problems. The first is confusion on who to contact and for what. As someone who ran for school board, I had to work with both commissions to find out the rules, the ballots were different, and it was very confusing. Not to mention the voting machines are different, polling places, are different. In general different policies are used. This causes much confusion on how to get informed and involved.
Second, and this is the lesser of the two issues is the cost to run two separate commissions. It is estimated that the $500,000 budget for the BEC could be saved with the duties going to the County Wide commission for no new dollars. That is a win for the taxpayers. One commission for all your election needs at a reduced cost. Who wouldn't want that?
Do you support changing County Board meeting times — from the morning to afternoons or evenings?
This is a resounding yes. Our citizens work. Most work during the Morning and early afternoons. If we want a government for the people by the people, then meetings should be when most of the people can make the meetings. This would be in the evenings. In addition, the meetings should be recorded, live-streamed, and an option for participation from those attending the live stream. We have the technology to increase participation.
Having meetings in the morning, when people have to work not only stops people from attending but also those running for office because they would have to take off work on a continuous basis. This is not a good step for an involved, informed electorate.
How do you think McLean County government can help to provide more affordable housing in the area?
One way: Lower taxes. The county should focus on what is a core service and sunset all other non-core services. This sunset could be moving them to the town, to local organizations, or in some cases, a service costs more than the benefit.
When you lower property taxes and other taxes, housing can be more affordable.
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?
The county is responsible for citizens of the county, this includes health and wellness. The county doesn't need to provide these services, but rather should ensure that it's citizens have these services available to them. I don't know enough to honestly say how the relationship is. There have been times when there is contention over resources but other times where it seems to work OK.
The overall issues though is not what the county should be providing but that it is provided. The county should provide information on the needs of its citizens but does not need to enact new laws to provide health reform. That should be done by local community organizations, hospitals, doctors, and more. The county needs to get out of the way.
What would be your approach to evaluating land-use requests involving renewable energy like wind and solar?
My approach is simple: who owns the land, what is the request, what is the rationale, and what are the pros and cons of it. We should look at how to improve our society through renewables but the county shouldn't tell private businesses what to use. That being said, the county should look at changing over it's use of energy from fossil fuels to renewables. It should set an example of how to behave. The market needs to make it more beneficial for companies to switch.