Name: Kevin Dawson
Office seeking: St. Clair County Board Member District 20
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City of residence: Mascoutah
Campaign website: Facebook - Kevin Dawson
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running for re-election to the County Board because during my first two years serving on the Board, I have done exactly what I said I was going to do – standing up for economically-conservative principles and to fight against tax increases. This was my platform in 2016 and it is the reason I should be re-elected. At my first County Board meeting in 2016, I voted against the County budget, for one simple reason—it increased. Since then, I have consistently voted against levy increases, property tax increases, sales tax increases and against spending unrealized revenue at Mid-America Airport. I am used to voting against the majority on the County Board and I look forward to continuing this trend. The folks in Mascoutah, Engelmann and Fayetteville Townships sent me to the County Board to help carry out their wishes for balanced budgets, stabilized taxes and to support an economically-conservative ideology. That is what I have done while serving on the County Board and is why I believe I deserve to be re-elected. I do not rely on a political party to make my votes. We have made progress in this regard and cannot afford to go backward.
St. Clair County’s health fund is $3.3 million in debt, according to its most recent audit. The debt has increased over the last two years. What measures would you support to reduce the debt? I would support any effort that increases the employee’s responsibility of the health care costs particularly, for County Board members. Those plan bids are solicited every so often and I would support efforts to solicit more competitive bids, in an effort to decrease the responsibility assumed by the County.
What is your position on the oversight of MidAmerica Airport? Would you change anything? If so, what? Mid-America Airport has been the topic of heated debate for years. This was a project in the making for a lot longer than most people probably realize. I think there is a general disconnect between the information that the County Board members and the Public Building Commission receive. While I think there needs to be more oversight as to Mid-America Airport, I also do not think that the County Board should assume that oversight. I would support efforts designed to obtain information straight from the Airport Director, as well as the Public Building Commission, in a format designed to increase efficiency and openness as it relates to the business of Mid-America Airport. This was the subject of one my controversial votes—the user-paid parking plan had been discussed and it was my impression that plan would be implemented before the vote to expand the parking lot. Since the revenue from the user-paid parking system had not been realized, I voted against expanding the parking lot at Mid-America Airport.
St. Clair County board meetings last an average of 30 minutes, according to a review of meeting minutes from the last two years. Some committee meetings for the most part last less than 15 minutes. Is this enough time for county board members to conduct county business and earn a $19,419 salary? Why or why not? I do not know what amount of time each County Board member dedicates to their respective position. In light of recent changes to IMRF guidelines, that information is not as readily available as it once was. This is particularly true as it is well-known that some members do not pick up their County Board packet of materials for the meetings, until the night of the meetings. I always have my packet by mid-afternoon on the Friday before the meetings. I read, review and research this information over the weekend prior to Monday’s meeting. With the time I dedicate to working with constituents regarding County road concerns, property tax assessments, obtaining Special Use Permits, assisting with grant paperwork and attending meetings, I believe that considering the income I forego to accomplish these various tasks, the stipend I receive is earned.
County revenue has been declining in recent years. How should revenues be increased or do services have to be cut? Why? I am 100% against the continual increase in property taxes to increase County revenues. Like myself, my constituents are more than willing to pay their fair share however, as many of the residents I discuss this with have pointed out, they feel they continually pay more and receive less for their money. This cannot continue and I believe there are multiple reasons for this. In the grand scheme of taxation, increased sales taxes are more desirable than increased property taxes but, I oppose (and have proven so) increased sales taxes, as well. My opinion is that our residents are over-taxed already and continuing to apply these increases will ultimately be regressive in nature. I will support any effort that reduces departmental budgets in an effort to stabilize taxation in the aggregate. This includes increased user fees for various departments, salary reductions and/or benefit reductions. For example, we are in desperate need for a new County Jail but, I believe very soon residents will be asked to dedicate more funds to improvements and maintenance to Mid-America Airport.