Name: Paul Seibert
Office seeking: St. Clair County Board District 10
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City of residence: Belleville
Campaign website: None, phone: 618-233-3917
Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I’m running for reelection because I know this county, my district and the people who live here. They are my neighbors and many of them have supported me for a long time. They know they can call me and I will take care of them, always have and always will as long as I’m in office. I think that’s why people vote for me – they know I’m dependable and I’m effective.
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 serve on the finance committee and I think we made a good decision to hire a consultant to look for ways to keep our insurance costs down. I think that’s a good first step. But besides listening to our consultant and putting a plan in place, we can do some things that cost little but save money. Making sure our employees get flu shots sounds simple, but as employees get older, a bad case of flu can have real health consequences. We want to make sure that our employees get quality healthcare while at the same time find ways to hold the line on costs.
What is your position on the oversight of MidAmerica Airport? Would you change anything? If so, what? I see no reason to change anything about the oversight of the airport. Why would we make changes when the airport is doing better financially than it ever has? We have more passengers, more businesses and revenue. Positives that don’t always get mentioned or given credit. The director of the airport and the people who work with him have done a good job promoting the airport to potential travelers and businesses. I believe it will only get better.
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’ve spent a lot of time serving on boards and committees. There’s a big difference between well-run meetings and those that are haphazardly run. The biggest difference is the time spent at the meetings. Poorly run meetings with rambling discussions that don’t follow an agenda are a waste of time and money. Our meetings are very well run. Like any legislative body, ordinances, resolutions, etc., go through a committee process before coming before the board. By the time they get to the board, members are ready to make an informed vote. The length of a meeting doesn’t make it good or bad. If the work of the county is done and done well in 30 minutes it would seem to me that the members have done what we are paid to do – researched, read the meeting packet, and have come prepared. That’s what good board members do. And they don’t walk away from their job when they leave the county building. They continue to be county board members day in and day out. I have attended many, many zoning board meeting with constituents to support them and their concerns because that’s my job. And I do enjoy this job.
County revenue has been declining in recent years. How should revenues be increased or do services have to be cut? Why? County revenue has declined in large part because the State of Illinois is close to being bankrupt. They don’t pay their bills, they come up with these mandates that they expect counties around the state to pay for – no wonder revenue has declined. You can’t run a state this way and expect a healthy thriving economy at the county level. Cutting services to the residents is not my first inclination. We need to look at keeping the businesses we have and bring new businesses to the county. We need to pressure the state to do what’s right for our county and we need leadership that will get that done!