Candidate Profile: Dave Barnes

St. Clair Township Supervisor Dave Barnes
St. Clair Township Supervisor Dave Barnes Belleville News-Democrat

Name: Dave Barnes

Age: 65

Immediate Family members: Deborah Barnes

Town: Belleville

Office seeking: St. Clair Township Supervisor

Occupation: Present St. Clair Township Supervisor

Previous and current elected offices and terms served: St. Clair Township Trustee and St. Clair Township Supervisor

Why are you running? To ensure the township continues to receive quality leadership that looks out for whats best for all constituents and to ensure the township stays solvent without having to raise taxes. I will continue to upgrade the Township Parks by replacing the old playground equipment in Loop Creek Park, “equipment has been purchased and expected to be installed this Spring.” Creating a Nature Playground in Centennial Park. I will do this through grants and not having to raise taxes.

What is your view on township government and its role? It is a smaller form of government that allows the constituents easy access to their elected representatives. I have an open door policy, take all phone calls, or return phone calls quickly if I’m not available at the time of the call. We’re able to respond more quickly to emergencies that arise. Unlike some municipalities our workers specialize in their field such as, sewer workers. St. Clair Township is unlike many townships in that we have a sewer plant and 100 miles of sewer lines to maintain.

If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? Must be able to handle the everyday situations the employees and constituents bring, rather it be a problem with a sewer line, being short staffed due to employee illness or vacations, be available 24/7, investigate grants to improve parks, tennis courts, sewer plant, sewer lines, etc. Must be able to relay information to engineers, attorneys, and contractors. Keep track of vacations and sick days available for 6 employees. Prepare monthly agenda for board meetings. Prepare and present annual budget to the Board of Trustees, prepare the annual tax levy, and negotiate union contract. Review monthly invoices to assure the money is in the correct line item of the budget to approve payment. Treasury of the Road and Township. Also, Freedom of Information Officer and Open Meetings Act Officer. I’m also Chairman of the Board. Must be computer literate.

What is the most important issue facing St. Clair Township? How would you approach it? The upcoming negotiations with Belleville over sewer billing and rates to the Township residents using the Belleville Sewer Plant and the Class Action Lawsuit involving the Swansea Sewer Agreement. Requiring Belleville to treat the Township residents no differently then the Belleville residents.

St. Clair Township has had its share of controversy lately including sewer rates and the number of employees in the highway department. What are your views on these issues? I reduced the sewer usage base rate of the township residents being billed by St. Clair Township and will review further reductions this year. If you are referencing the situation with Swansea taking the township customers here is my response: Swansea had made up their mind that they were going to take our customers and charge what they wanted. We had previously offered arbitration but Swansea wouldn’t do it. I absolutely agree with the people that were affected by the large rate increase. I answered every call and talked with anyone that wanted to talk and my answer was that Swansea was within the law and for the customer to contact their senator and their representative to have the law changed, I even gave the numbers out for both of them. We have tried numerous times to renegotiate the contract but due to a County Board member persuading others to file a class action lawsuit against Swansea there was no negotiating until the lawsuit is settled. St. Clair Township was brought in as a 3rd party to the lawsuit.

So if the Citizens for A Better Township are trying to convince you that they will demand, coach, finagle, beg or do anything else to get you a better rate from Swansea, DON’T BELIEVE THEM! The leader of this group is none other than the present Road Commissioner and you see that even a Democrat Judge recently ruled against him.

The Road Commissioner is able to hire as many employees as his budget allows in the line item that has been approved by the board for wages.

If you really want to know about what’s going on with the Swansea sewer negotiations, feel free to contact me: Dave Barnes 410-0588

Why should people vote for you? Being the St. Clair Township Supervisor isn’t an easy job. I’ve been in the insurance and financial business for almost 40 years plus being a St. Clair Township Trustee for 4 years prior to becoming the Supervisor. I feel my past 4 years has well prepared me for the next 4 years.