County Board District 3 Q&A: Steve O'Connor

County Board District 3 Q&A: Steve O'Connor

Candidates for contested county board races were given the opportunity to answer a series of questions about county government. Here are the answers from Steve O'Connor, a Republican candidate in District 3:




Current County Board member

1. Name five things you would like to accomplish in the next two years on the Champaign County Board.

To maintain constituent services as my #1 goal.
Help balance the budget.
Help to keep the nursing home open.
Help turn the jail into a correctional center.

2. What criticisms do you have of the current county board?

Our Committee of the Whole system has not improved our operation as I thought it would. I feel we need to go back tho the previous small, specifically identified, committies.
We should be more business friendly.
We're often too concerned about how things are done in other counties, not taking into account our population, that we have a major university, Parkland College and two large medical facilities.
To much "party-line" voting on issues, sometimes based on personal goals, not the good of our county.

3. Under what circumstances, if any, would you vote for another increase in property taxes to support the operation of the Champaign County Nursing Home?

Only when other options are exhausted. We need to ask our representatives in Springfield to help us get our back payments so we are not always on an uphill battle to keep the facility operating in the black. (Referendum to build the nursing home passed with 60+% of voters in favor.)

4. Under what circumstances could you vote to sell or close the Champaign County Nursing Home?

Privatizing is not an agreeable solution.
We need to focus on theday-to-day operation of the nursing home.
We can't lose sight of our goal, which is to provide what's best for our residents and their families. These people are our stockholders. They own the nursing home as sure as the county board does. Selling it out from under them is not an option.

5. Would you vote to increase the $60 per diem paid to county board members?

Never again, the $60.00 is not necessary. I didn't vote for it originally. I voted no on 3 separate occasions.

6. Which county offices, if any, do you believe could be eliminated or consolidated with another county office?


7. What specific actions could be taken to cut the county budget?

Curtail use of credit cards without prior approval.
More "in house" employee work time instead of consultant time.
Control Employee expenses. ie. health insurance

8. Do you think the downtown Urbana correctional center should be closed and all of its functions moved to an expanded correctional center on Lierman Avenue in Urbana?

We are just now in the very early stage of study (commissioning consultants). I would need to review the results of these studies before committing to any program.

9. What programs and services that the county does not provide, if any, do you think are needed?

No new programs are feasible at this time.

10. Do you believe the county should take on part of the financial obligation to operate Willard Airport as an economic development tool? Why or why not?

Expertise in this regard is better handled by private enterprise.

11. What can the county board do to enhance economic development locally?

Buy from local business in the county.
Allow rural business enterprises to thrive.
Protect property rights though sensible interpretation of zoning regulations.

12. With a smaller county board in December, do you think the county board meeting room should be reconfigured at an undetermined cost to improve communications among board members and to enhance television coverage of the board?

Not a priority! Other more important needs should be met first.
We are going to have a smaller board starting in December.
Look at options.
I do not see it as major incovenience. The issue can be addressed if and when money is avaiable.