Political newcomers Weber, Kehr square off in District 3 race
By Diana Kuyper Special to The News-Sun October 16, 2012 6:40PM
Dale Kehr of Lindenhurst candidate for Lake Countuy Board District 3. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 16, 2012 1:35AM
Newcomers Tom Weber and Dale Kehr are facing off in the District 3 Lake County Board race.
District 3 consists of most of Lake Villa Township, including all of Lindenhurst and most of Lake Villa, Round Lake Beach and Round Lake Heights.
Since defeating current County Board member Jim Newton of Lindenhurst earlier this year in the Republican primary, Weber says he has been attending municipal and township meetings and talking to residents throughout the district.
“If you are going to represent a district on the County Board, you have to understand the issues that face each community,” he said. “I want to repair some of the animosity that exists between the County Board and local residents. We can do that by understanding each others’ issues.”
Weber believes some candidates run for office because they think it is a good idea, but they don’t want to meet with their constituents and do the work required to properly represent them.
“Being a representative comes first, being a County Board member comes second. I already commit more than 40 hours a week by traveling and talking to residents throughout the district and I am very accessible.”
Taxes are his top concern, even though Lake County represents only about 10 percent of a resident’s property tax bill.
“In this economy, residents have a difficult time understanding why taxes rise while property values fall. We have to set a good example for all taxing bodies and explain to our residents where their taxes go,” he said. “The Lake Villa Township assessor told me 500 property owners have recently disputed their property taxes and I just talked to a resident who had his taxes go up 20 percent. People are rightly concerned.”
Being involved in construction and labor as an owner of Weber and Sons Construction Co., he continues to see a difficult economy at least in the future. “Most people are not doing great. Most people are just paying their bills. We need to cut government costs because we can’t continue to put pressure on taxpayers.”
He suggests cost-cutting examples like eliminating the transfer tax on real estate which he says is unnecessary. He would like to eliminate user fees for forest preserve property, which is already supported by taxpayers. “Stop charging people for using facilities they already fund,” he said. His family formerly owned the Duck Farm in Lindenhurst, now a forest preserve property.
“We also need to look at long-term ramifications of forest preserve property that could be better suited to commercial development. I have no problem with land preservation and conservation and with buying unusable property, but in the future we need to keep our hands off any property with potential commercial development. The best way to offset our tax burden is with commercial development and sales tax.”
Democrat Dale Kehr, a Lindenhurst resident for 11 years, is coordinator of supplemental nutrition assistance programs for the University of Illinois Extension in both Lake and McHenry counties. She retired as a chief petty officer from the Navy.
“I have no previous political experience, although I have done some community and economic development work for the extension and enjoyed it,” she said. “I have had concerns about my community since moving to Lindenhurst and thought I could make an impact by running for office.”
As a County Board member she sees the importance of listening to the concerns and interests of constituents. “We need to make decisions based on that information.”
She gave the example of the Route 45 bypass through Lindenhurst. “It concerns me that 89 percent of residents are not in favor of this route. Why did we not at least reach a compromise? Widening it right now at the traffic signals might alleviate the situation until we come up with a better solution because I am not in favor of a bypass going by peoples’ homes or a school as it is planned now. We need to do a better job of listening and addressing our constituents’ concerns.”
She believes that staff sometimes makes decisions that County Board members should be making.”We are elected to represent our residents and make those tough decisions and not let county staff make it for us.”
Kehr says she is fiscally responsible and believes in a balanced budget, but not at the expense of cutting critical services.
Helping small businesses is another of her concerns. “I would like to make sure that businesses that come to Lake County have every chance to succeed. It is a shame when we see small businesses leave our area because of the impact of property and other taxes that drive them away.”
“I also want to keep our neighborhoods safe for our youth. I think that is tied in to economy to a certain degree. When there is not enough money for after school events or other activities, that can turn into a safety issue. Idle youth can lead to trouble.”