Two La Salle residents are seeking the Democratic nomination for La Salle County treasurer — businesswoman Nikena (Nikki) Baer and educator Kyle Fogle.
The post is held by Jim Spelich, who is running unopposed for the Republican nomination.
The primary election will be Tuesday, March 20.
Q. What technological changes, if any, do you see coming in the treasurer’s office?
Baer: I will need to see if the computers themselves need to be updated, but right now the current Real Estate Tax Management Program is working well for the three departments that use it.
I will also review the credit card processing system to make sure it’s up to date and compliant as well as review the fees the county is being charged to use it.
Fogle: I will be updating and revising webpages, paperwork and working with offices to create a media outlet through social networking to better facilitate critical information for the citizens of La Salle County. I will utilize funds, that have been currently invested in contracts with financial services outside of Illinois to increase our utilization of untapped solar power energies to provide a long-term, sustainable revenue resource and enhance our wind turbine technologies that will employee citizens. We will become the leading green county in Illinois. I see a property taxable industry coming to our county in that once Illinois passes the recreational medical marijuana bill, we will have access to another sustainable resource in our agricultural community. We must be at the forefront of this pioneering frontier to create an influx of revenue to our community.
Q. Will the treasurer be a full-time job for you? If so, what will happen to your current job?
Baer: Yes, as it should be. No one wants to pay a full-time salary for part-time performance. I will continue to be the president of my company, but the day-to-day operations will shift to another staff member.
Fogle: I will make sure that the treasurer is a full-time working position. I will spend my time in the office, engaging with the citizens, for the community and coordinating county events to promote family, friends and peoples of La Salle County. I will be cutting my AU teaching position in order to achieve my full-time status as treasurer. I will continue to educate at IVCC.
Q. Would you try to shrink the treasurer’s office budget? If so, how will you do that?
Baer: Yes. As mentioned previously, I will be reviewing the fees charged to the county from the credit card processor or find a less expensive option. Also, I have noticed a few line items in the 2018 budget have been consistently overbudgeted for what has actually been spent in the last two years. I will review why that has been done. Finally, if there are opportunities to improve processes within the department I will implement those changes saving time and money where it makes the most sense.
Fogle: First, I believe the budget should not exceed what it currently resides at. I will create a maintainable budget by creating the most efficient office in the county. We will direct our focuses on the synergist effect of a working team and cut our wastes. We will put in time before spending money to make valid expenditures.
Q. Why do you want to be the treasurer?
Baer: I want to give the citizens of La Salle County what they are paying for, a full-time treasurer. I want to learn the duties of the department to look for ways to streamline processes and reduce expenses wherever possible. I want to make the best available investments for the county and to receive the highest return on those investments. And finally to be able to lend a helping hand to the staff when necessary and boost an environment of teamwork while providing exceptional service to the county and its citizens.
Fogle: I want to be treasurer, because I want our savings to be invested in our county. Over $11 million is sourced outside of Illinois. We have the ability to take our $24 million in savings and invest it into local banks and local renewable resources like solar and wind power to substantiate a green and community based revolution. If we invest in our county, we will perspire. I want to help our locals that are having issues budgeting their monies to bring a budgeted and quality American lifestyle. No longer do I want to see our citizens losing their homes and not being to support their families and pay their taxes. I hope we can all work together to entice people to believe in La Salle County and save for our future.
I also want to make sure money can be delegated to fix our roads, promote our tourism in our state parks, crack down on hard drugs, service the mentally ill, increase public safety, and serve our veterans. I will cut waste, lost causes, and multi-line items.
Q. What is the one trait most needed to be treasurer? Why?
Baer: I would say the one trait most needed is to be open: to listen, to learn, to suggestions and to compromise while utilizing my past experiences. I bring a lot to the table, but I don't know the full workings of the department, I haven't met the staff, and I know there will be times to compromise when it comes to budget and employee contracts. Other elected officials have experiences they can share as well as the staff themselves.
Fogle: Responsibility is the most needed trait. I am double masters educated and debt- and loan-free. I will devote my efforts to make the moral, ethical, collaborated and educated decisions to help our county budget their money. I believe it is my job to facilitate action and create community events and revenues from our state and local parks through tourism and family values of La Salle County. I will put money into our community. I will fight to improve our environment and micro-footprint.