Owen Harrell, Whiteside County Board District 1 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire – Shaw Local

Full Name: Owen Harrell

What workplace are you looking for? Whiteside County Board District 1

What workplaces, if any, have you ever beforehand held? Whiteside County Board District 1, Blackhawk Hills Regional Council Board of Directors

City: (*1*)

Occupation: IT Director at Whiteside Area Career Center

Education: I presently maintain over 32 Engineering Certifications together with Microsoft Certified System Engineer, Microtik Router OS, Certified Sonicwall Security Administrator, together with quite a few different Wireless Engineering Certifications.

Campaign Website: None

One of the largest native points curbing financial growth and progress is accessible reasonably priced housing. The 2022 Census confirmed Lee and Whiteside each with greater than 90% occupancy of current residences. What is the function of the county to make sure there may be accessible housing as it really works to draw new companies to the area?

Housing is a matter in Whiteside County. Sterling, alone, might use a further 100 properties presently. Most native landlords are averaging a six month or longer waitlist for his or her properties. It is tough for companies to start out up or develop if housing isn’t accessible for the staff they anticipate to usher in. It is the function of the county to maintain taxes down in addition to to search for all packages that will encourage and profit a contractor to construct new properties in our space.

Many villages and municipalities in Lee and Whiteside have their very own ambulance providers, which are sometimes strapped for money to keep up operations. In addition, there are essential shortages of certified EMTs and firefighters. What function ought to county authorities play in resolving these related issues?

Whiteside County has a present partnership with CGH to supply ambulance providers. As a member of the Whiteside County Board, I really feel we should always play an vital function in selling these jobs to our native youth. I’ve personally labored with the Special Service Area 1 (the ambulance service for Sterling and the encircling areas) to start out a coaching program for native highschool college students via the Whiteside Area Career Center. While this coaching is not going to lead to EMT certification, it’s an introduction to this discipline and a technique to promote curiosity. This program has now formally began and can hopefully end result within the technology of extra candidates within the EMT discipline.

Is it time to encourage privatizing ambulance providers, consolidate providers and supply them at county degree, or increase state funding with county funds to current models?

Whiteside County is already concerned on this. Northern Illinois counties are woefully behind in the case of broadband and fashionable communications. What function does the county authorities have in equipping the area to fulfill the communication wants of the longer term?

I’ve been concerned with Whiteside County and the state to take a look at getting Fiber to areas of the county which are presently underserved. Whiteside County was one among solely six counties/cities chosen to work instantly with the state to design a plan to get fiber all through the county. We are presently engaged on the small print of this plan.

Northern Illinois is seen as having an excessive amount of potential in growing/increasing inexperienced power within the type of photo voltaic and wind. How can the county authorities play a task in increasing this? At the identical time, growers and property house owners usually specific the necessity to protect land for crops. Is there a steadiness to be struck? What are attainable options?

Whiteside County is presently within the means of trying into the potential of permitting a photo voltaic farm to be constructed on high of the already-used, 80 acres of the County Landfill. This property isn’t presently appropriate for farming or housing. This would supply each revenue to the county and additional make the most of the property.

Should counties do extra to increase entry to county authorities?

Whiteside County invitations all individuals to attend our conferences. If you cannot attend in particular person, we provide Zoom attendance.

Should video of committees and board conferences be continued/expanded?

Whiteside presently gives Zoom for the entire conferences. We encourage everybody together with the media to attend both in particular person or by Zoom. At this time, I don’t see Zoom being dropped anytime within the close to future.

Should the county web site be up to date?

The Whiteside Web Site is up to date. I’m positive if somebody would comply with each hyperlink, there’s something that was missed. But relaxation assured, it was missed by mistake. All assembly dates can be found on the Web Site, together with many different departments and get in touch with data.

Should board members be required to have electronic mail connections?

Yes I consider that every one Whiteside County Board Members ought to have an electronic mail listed for the general public to contact them.

What know-how upgrades and useful resource allocation is required to make it occur?

There is nothing wanted. The County does have an Email Server that might be used or members might use a private electronic mail tackle.

What challenges is the area going through by way of attracting enterprise and tourism?

Housing stands out as the greatest impediment. Employers want staff. Employees want a spot to reside.

What instruments and providers do northern Illinois communities have that may be higher utilized to this effort?

I feel that making contractors conscious of all of the providers which are accessible to them could be an excellent place to start out. Many contractors are unaware of the numerous sources which are accessible to them. These sources embrace tax incentives and in some instances, grants.

What are your ideas on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?

All Whiteside County Board Members should take the Freedom of Information Training. I consider that the Freedom of Information is a necessity.

Please state your plan to keep up authorities transparency.

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act is one technique to keep transparency. Posting all assembly dates and occasions, upfront, is one other means. Additionally, providing attendance of conferences through Zoom implies that almost everybody can now attend and listen to the whole lot that’s stated on the conferences in addition to ask questions and voice their opinion.

What would you push for as a member of county authorities to spice up native companies?

I’ve helped to move ARPA Funds approval for companies that had been compelled to shut attributable to COVID mandates. I acknowledge the hardship this positioned on the entire companies that adopted the state mandates and that is one technique to work to assist them get better.

Should authorities staff and officers be allowed to signal non-disclosure agreements with non-public companies?

Yes. There are occasions that a corporation should submit personal details about their firm to the county, with a purpose to apply for tax incentives or grants. Because this data wouldn’t usually be accessible to authorities staff and officers, beneath different circumstances, I feel a non- disclosure settlement is a good request.

Would you push for or towards authorities officers and staff being allowed to signal non- disclosure agreements with non-public companies?

I might push for it, with limitations.

It seems inflation — in a means that hasn’t been skilled in a very long time — goes to be a difficulty that might have an effect on all native governments for the foreseeable future. What is the function of the county board as rising costs put a pinch on current revenues?

I consider that we have to search for different types of income. One means is to deliver extra companies to the county. More companies in our county means extra income for the county via that new enterprise’ revenues and thru their staff.

Do you assume there’s a native crime downside? If so, what must be executed about it?

If we now have one crime, it’s one too many, so sure we now have a criminal offense downside. I want to see our police meet with the general public extra – internet hosting extra occasions that deliver the general public and the police nearer collectively. I need individuals to know their policemen and policewomen on a primary title foundation and I need the police to know the individuals of their communities that they’re serving. By everybody being extra concerned, we might help to remove crime.

What native highway and bridge tasks ought to be a precedence to get executed within the county?

In our space, we now have each county roads and township roads. Whiteside County has duty for roughly 200 miles of highway. The Whiteside County Web Site has an interactive map that reveals a 5 12 months plan for repairing its roads and bridges. This map presently goes via 2025.

Do you assist lowering native property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the distinction?

It could be nice to scale back native property taxes. In order to do this, new income would have to be discovered. Whiteside County was as soon as plentiful with business. Through the years, most of those giant industries have closed and left us with empty buildings. We should get new companies or industries to return again to our space. If we are able to do this, we might scale back the native property tax.

Do you assist stronger county authorities ethics legal guidelines? What measures do you assist?

I consider that the present ethics legal guidelines for the state of Illinois is enough.

Is the Whiteside County airport underutilized, particularly because it has a runway that may deal with industrial visitors?

Yes it’s underutilized. I grew to become a pilot within the Nineteen Eighties. I’ve flown out and in of a whole bunch of airports. Whiteside County Airport is likely one of the nicest small airports within the state – it has the most recent know-how for touchdown and it has a one mile lengthy runway. I might like to see industrial flights out to different airports resumed.

Are there different investments to be made on the airport?

At this time, we have to think about getting individuals to the airport. Many issues are going to occur this summer season that can assist get individuals to the airport.

Is it a matter of promotion?

This summer season you will note issues on the airport that can assist put it on the market. Events on the airport take a 12 months or extra to plan and schedule. What we’ll see this summer season is the results of planning again in 2021 or earlier than. These occasions will deliver each the native residents as effectively individuals from different components of the nation to our airport.

How can the airport be an financial boon?

The occasions which are deliberate for this summer season are an excellent begin. Not solely can the native individuals spend a day with their household with out spending just a few hundred {dollars}, the individuals who are available in from different components of the nation will see what is accessible right here. An airport akin to ours may be the distinction between a big firm bringing in a brand new enterprise or not. Executives fly to their firms in as we speak’s world. They don’t wish to fly in after which drive 50 miles to their firm. Because the closest airport that may deal with planes as giant as Whiteside County Airport can is over 50 miles away, and we now have the property and tax incentives accessible to them, we’re an excellent selection.

Whiteside County put aside $5 million in ARPA funds for unspecified tasks. How ought to that cash be spent and why?

I need the general public to reply that query.


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