Candidate profile: Fred Faust

Name: Fred Faust

Office seeking: Madison County Board, District 11

Party: Democrat

Age: 65

City of residence: Pin Oak Township

Campaign website: N/A

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? Why am I running? To make a difference. I lived decades of my life here, caring about Madison County, learning its issues, passions, people; I know the county well, I love the county and I have the skills to help the county flourish in the ways that matter most to the people here.

I have experience in management of personnel and resources, giving me the necessary skills to be a good steward of the county, to keep it viable and healthy for our kids and grandkids.

I’m deeply invested in the success of the county, both in terms of growth opportunities, and also in terms of protecting vital farmlands and green spaces.

I have a vision for the future of our county, especially with regard to the balance between economic growth and quality of life, from good schools to good shopping, from good jobs to good recreation. We can only turn farmland into homes once. We need to do it right. Planned growth is the core of success in all these areas. I have the experience and vision to manage our resources to plan growth in the most beneficial ways.

How will you keep property taxes low? Efficiency: The County Board’s ability to impact property taxes is relatively small, roughly 8 cents of every dollar collected. School districts have different tax obligations, as do our cities and townships. Nearly two thirds of the property tax bill is for the local school districts and Lewis and Clark Community College. Still, for that $.08 my priority would be efficiency. I’d aim to put the most qualified, most knowledgeable person possible in charge of each and every board. For instance, the 708 Mental Health Board has a large budget. The common sense approach is to interview knowledgeable candidates to fill that Board, both in terms of their mental health expertise and their ability and experience managing a significant budget. Balanced appointments will promote good stewardship, not only of the services for our citizens, but also of the tax resources supplied by hardworking families. Decades of corporate management experience, practice so to speak, have given me opportunities to understand how to create efficiency, and also how to find the right people for the job. That said, the same career experience helps me to see when we have the wrong people. I have a track record of success in creating efficiency and excellent teams.

What is something the board should be doing, but isn’t doing right now? The role of a County Board is to manage services provided through the county—health services, highway maintenance, and a handful of additional county services—while not grabbing additional power and expanding the reach of county government into people lives. Many current County Board members have lost sight of this limited role and have become preoccupied with various avenues for county government overreach. This is inefficient and inappropriate. If elected, I will work to keep the Board focused on the legitimate business of the county, rather than the kinds of social issues better addressed by the legislature or by Congress.

Since December 2016, Madison County Board meetings have jumped from lasting an average of 36 minutes to an average of one hour and 11 minutes. Is this an efficient use of time? Why or why not? There is no reason that a County Board should have a time limit. If there are discussions of County issues that take 75 minutes, then, of course, the Board should spend 75 minutes, or even more. We need to be prepared for each issue to determine an efficient and carefully considered course of action. But, this is not the reality of our County Board meetings. The Board needs clear leadership, needs to follow the agenda, needs to be prepared and needs to put the needs of the citizens of Madison County first.