10 Kane County candidates discuss taxes and mental health

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of stories looking at the contested races in the Aurora District in the November 8 general election.

The race in the fall election for the District 10 Kane County Assembly seat is between incumbent Republican David Brown and Democratic contender William Tarver.

The general election was set for November 8.

Brown, 68, of Batavia, said district voters are concerned about the county’s budget, mental health and the impact of the SAFE-T Act, which will eliminate cash bail from January 1.

In terms of the budget, it was recently reported in the papers that we are considering raising taxes, so people are wondering, why do we need it or can we make future cuts or additional cuts? “These are some of the most common questions I get from people,” Brown said.

On mental health, Brown said, “The epidemic obviously has a lot to do with it,” adding that “everyone is worried about that.”

“I think we’re doing a lot in the county to address that, and I’ve supported having more money for mental health initiatives,” Brown said. “This is something that we really need to focus on. The scale of suicides in the county — getting these programs funded is the first step in terms of reducing the mental health problem we have here and across the country.”

Brown said Public Safety and the SAFE-T Act have produced a lot of questions about what will happen.

“I can tell you that I do not support the act as it is currently written,” he said. “People see ads on TV and want to know what they mean.”

If re-elected, Brown said goals for his next term include maintaining his goal from his first term regarding improvements to Route 31 and Fabyan Parkway in order to make the road safer, as well as focusing on public safety and the work of Ken County Commander Ron Hen.

“I also want to focus on how much space the county has and what our needs are in the future,” he said. “We have 30 buildings spread across the county, many of which are very old and not functional or ADA compliant.”

Tarver, 54, of Batavia, said voters have spoken to him about mental health in the community and social services, financial responsibility, and keeping schools safe.

“On mental health, voters feel that agencies in our community are overwhelmed and feel we need more support for our teens,” Tarver said. “I’ve heard comments referring to suicide prevention services as suicides rise and people within our schools are exposed to social and emotional challenges.”

Keeping schools safe, Tarver said, includes security because of concerns about “bringing more guns and guns into our schools.”

On finances, Tarver said people are concerned “about their future viability and taxes.”

“People keep asking about taxes and whether the boycott is viable in the future,” he said.

If elected, Tarver said goals would include “being a builder of a restorative community within our county, being transparent to voters about what’s happening at the county level and asking for their advice, and creating a county where people can live, work and play.”

“I think by working with the board of directors and community members, we can achieve all of this,” he said. “With transparency, voters have a right to hear what’s going on, yet we need to share what’s happening and the decisions we make, and yet we communicate.”

Tarver said he wants our “communities to be safe and people to feel comfortable that we don’t over-tax them.”

“I want people to come to our county, get affordable housing, earn a good salary, and spend money in our community so they don’t have to live outside,” he said. “If they can’t live affordably in our community, they can’t survive here.”

David Sharros is a freelance reporter for the Beacon News.

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