Candidate profile: Kevin Wallace

Name: Kevin Wallace

Office seeking: St. Clair County Board Member District 12 Which is primarily serving the residents in the area of East Belleville that are Very Close to both Belleville East and SWIC (aka: BAC)

Party: Republican

Age: 51 Years of Age

City of residence: Unincorporated Belleville (Close to Belleville & Shiloh)

Campaign website: I offer my email (Kevin4CB12@gmail.com) for people to send me their individual concerns for the future when I am elected to make solid efforts to create changes that our citizens and voters truly want. This is “ We the People, for the People “, it should not be “We the People, at the People”. Due to the growing number of senior citizens, I chose not to create a website at this time, I chose to meet & greet the people, in-person, face-to-face, on a first name & handshake basis.

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I truly want to give back to my community, in a way of making a difference that benefits everyone.

When I say everyone, I mean absolutely each and every single homeowner and citizen in St. Clair County, no matter of their perceived label of political party (Democrat, Independent, or Republican). We need to have a local county government that functions as a cohesive group. Our SCCB Members need to learn to work together in a common effort for the betterment of the community and everyone inside St. Clair County. If we can find real purpose in what we have in common and joint efforts, versus trying to highlight our difference which accomplishes absolutely nothing but true gridlock within the St. Clair County Government. We need some obvious changes in the SCCB Members so that there is no more “Good Old Boys” ways of doing things. Our citizens and voters “want to trust” their local government, although many currently simply fear more taxation. The voters want results from the St. Clair Co., not more taxes.

I want to make a positive long term difference. There is a very serious tax-ing burden on all of the citizens, homeowners and residents in St. Clair County that is drawing a lot of concerns about how the current County Board is operating. I strongly believe there are many things being over-sighted that effect to bottom line of the St. Clair County Annual Budget. It is due time to look in-depth at all operating costs of St. Clair 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? Regarding the 3.3 Million debt of St. Clair County’s Health Fund, I would have gain a lot more access to the details and information this specific ongoing line item to make an accurate recommendation. Healthcare is costly and it is something that is well know to be expensive and a rising cost to all. It is my understanding that we might be offering benefits to part-time employees, but I have no factual proof of such at this point, but it will be something that needs additional attention from an importance to the annual budget.

What is your position on the oversight of MidAmerica Airport? Would you change anything? If so, what? The citizens and homeowners have told me this is one of the very top ongoing concerns.

As I understand it we have approximately 20 Years history of the airport running in a severe deficit of a range of approximately $4-8 Million annually (a negative operating cost).

We supposedly have a lobbyist firm and a Chinese translator on retainer or the payroll, we need to see if these extra expenses are creating and at all on an R.O.I. Basis (a return on our investment).

I would highly encourage there to be a Mid-America Airport Task Force to analyze the operating costs versus the benefits in order to make recommendations to get the airport on track to operating in the Black financially, or at least way closer than it has been for years.

If this cannot be accomplished in the very near future, I would encourage the privatization approach of a separate entity/corporation that is more qualified than our local government to operate an airport more effectively and efficiently for the taxpayers that are currently continuing to be taxed for the ongoing cost/loss of operating it annually.

Mid-America Airport was an idea that was intended to be a resource to our entire region to relieve the congestion of Lambert Airport in St. Louis prior to the approval of W1W.

If the St. County Board Members were actually given the opportunity to make the necessary decisions instead of it allowing an entity called the St. Clair Co Public Building Commission to dictate all of the key decisions and ideas of how the Mid-America Airport is actually run on a day-to-day basis. Although, it is a benefit to have a resource for the area, at some point we need to make it more affordable and be able to pay down the debt principle, not just interest payments only.

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? There are a total of 29 Districts in all of St. Clair County (meaning 29 County Board Members/SCCB Members) there are a some SCCB Members that put a lot of time into reviewing their monthly committee meeting packets before casting their monthly votes.

I have attended many of the monthly SCCB meetings since last year and have witnessed a many meetings that for sure lasted less than the 30 minutes mentioned in this question.

The St. Clair County Board Members can truly make a difference, although it does take making yourself accessible to the area citizens, some of the members do that. I have personally held numerous small town hall style meetings over the last 2 months in order to derive what concerns our area citizens have about things that concern affordability of living and public safety in Saint Clair County.

There are more concerns than the current members of the SCCB are aware out there throughout the community. The attendees of my meetings and people that I both have known for many years or have recently met going through area neighborhoods have a lot of concerns in which they feel that no one is listening or attempting to resolve at all.

What commonly concerns all citizens and truly scares them is the growing un-affordability of living here and how the real estate property taxes how grown to an unacceptable level in their opinions far above the national average.

Our citizens want some relief and resolution, if our citizens common concerns are not met or answered, they will continue to leave the area at the alarming rate of 1 person every 4.6 minutes. We have a nice area, we were known for affordability in years past.

I have witnessed very little open discussion, expressing of any concerns, nor questioning of any of the topics during the monthly meetings prior to a vote. I strongly believe there are some SCCB Members that really want to make a difference in our government and others that do not have enough passion or knowledge to effectively bring concerns forward for the benefit of all of our citizens/homeowners. Without both feedback and interaction with the community, how can there be resolution to all of the St. Clair County wide issues unless there is common concern for the community.

County revenue has been declining in recent years. How should revenues be increased or do services have to be cut? Why? Yes, St. Clair County’s Bank Accounts are probably very close to an all time low in comparison to past decades when we had Board Members that voted with a conscious, not just a vote to appease their fellow board members, but one that suits all the citizens.

St. Clair County is currently in possession of over 8,000 real estate properties of more parcels that have either been basically abandoned due to either non-payment or defaulted on the real estate taxes. It is vitally important for the St. Clair County Board to find a real solution to get these real estate properties back on the tax books so that we can start rebuilding the county funds on annual basis. If we use a simple number of $1,000 in real estate tax on that over 8,000 parcels that currently are not collecting any tax revenue, there is an annual opportunity to gain approximately $8 million in annual revenue ( this initiative would benefit everyone first and foremost.

Since these over 8,000 properties are not generating any revenue it appears that the shortcoming amount is being taxed to be divided or disbursed amongst all the other taxpayers throughout St. Clair County region. I feel the SCCB Needs to find more ways to attract businesses and homeowners to invest in these properties in a more effective way in order to get them back on the real estate tax books. We need to find some real balance in not just homeowners and retail business, we need to attract either more manufacturing, warehousing and transportation which will generate an improved economy for homeowners, more jobs and create a balance in both our county government revenue & the county spending.

There are many known issues and things that are continue be growing concerns. The SCCB needs to look at every County Department and identify where improvements can be made in more efficiently running these different entities without cutting necessary services to the public. There are always ways to better spend our St. Clair County funds, effort just has to be better exerted to effectively benefit all concerned, the citizens, the departments and the government ... there needs to be a better balance established between each and every government entity.

It is time for St. Clair County citizens to vote in new County Board Members that actually really do care about the opinions of the areas voter (a cost effective ideas & spending approach). SCCB Members need to really identify with all of the area citizens and voters as to what the public wants for their community and from their elected government.