Candidate profile: Susan Gruberman

Name: Susan Gruberman

Office seeking: St. Clair County Board District 12

Party: Democrat

Age: 54

City of residence: Belleville

Campaign website: Facebook page - Susan Gruberman for St. Clair County Board District 12

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I am running as I would like to continue to work for the residents of my District as well as all the residents of St. Clair County. My background in accounting helps me to analyze options and view choices in a logical way. I have experience in governmental auditing and can offer a new perspective based on the bigger picture giving guidance and providing solutions to problems or even new business ideas. I wholeheartedly supported the No-Kill Resolution that the County passed and now there is a plan to move forward so that no healthy dog or cat is put down simply because they have no home. I want to keep neighborhoods clean and safe and keep residents active; therefore I support the Clean Sweep program, the placement of St. Clair County Sheriffs on the Metro Link and the expansion of bike trails throughout the County.

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? St. Clair County maintains a self-insurance program for employees’ and retirees’ medical costs. The Employees’ Medical Trust Fund has a negative net position of $3.3 million at the end of December 2017. This amount includes adjustments made in 2017 in accordance with the new reporting requirements of GASB pronouncements related to other post-employment benefits. Medical premiums did increase by $286,000. These premiums include coverage for retired employees. I would consider supporting a measure that would eliminate this coverage once a retiree reaches Medicare age (65). The future of the federal healthcare requirements and related legislation is still unclear at this time which increases the difficulty for the County to plan for future healthcare costs.

What is your position on the oversight of MidAmerica Airport? Would you change anything? If so, what? MidAmerica Airport is a vital part of keeping Scott Air Force Base. SAFB has a regional economic impact in the County of $3 billion annually. Airport revenues increased in 2017 by nearly $3.5 million and are expected to continue to increase. MidAmerica Airport is now the sixth busiest airport in Illinois. St. Clair County (MidAmerica Airport) is moving in the right direction to help SAFB perform its duties in protecting this country, and working to make a profit at the same time.

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? St. Clair County Board members are on multiple committees and many attend other committee meetings and other County meetings such as zoning hearings. Members receive meeting packets with an agenda of exactly what will be covered in the meetings. All pertinent information including Ordinances, Resolutions and Department reports are read and reviewed by members well before the meetings. Any questions members may have can be asked and answered before meetings. It’s well known that short meetings waste less time and allow more time to get things done. I currently serve on the Grants Committee and the Emergency Readiness Committee. In addition I help solve problems for my residents, whether through emails and phone calls , or meeting them in person.

County revenue has been declining in recent years. How should revenues be increased or do services have to be cut? Why? Actually according to the most recent audit, County revenues increased from $102.4 million to $119.3 million for an increase of $16.8 million from 2016 to 2017. The greatest increase in revenue came from charges for services. This is a fair way to collect revenue as it comes from those who use the services of the County. Many people want increased services, especially nicer roads, not decreased services. Personal property replacement taxes and state income taxes both dropped in 2017. This will be a continuing trend as the State of Illinois delays payments and increases the amount that it keeps for itself. Many of the funding issues the County faces are those related to delays in State funding as well as unfunded State mandates.