Kane County should stay out of businesses’ way, Lauzen says
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News August 27, 2013 4:22PM
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen
Updated: September 29, 2013 6:46AM
ELGIN — One of the Kane County Board’s most important jobs is creating jobs, board Chairman Chris Lauzen told the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.
The county, he added, needs to “stay out of way” to allow business owners to do their work.
That focus on business was one of the messages Lauzen shared during a “State of the County” address at a chamber of commerce breakfast held at Elgin Community College’s business center.
After 20 years in Springfield as an state legislator, Lauzen ran for and won the Kane County Board chairman seat in November.
What he learned about budgets and planning at the state level didn’t prepare him for Kane County, Lauzen told the 200 or so people from the chamber.
“I still don’t fully understand our budget,” said Lauzen. Part of the problem, he said, was that until recently, the records were not available on computer — not even for the county board treasurer — to access other than through paper records.
By making those computerized documents available, he said, the county becomes more “transparent,” allowing residents to see where the money is going.
The county is also working to bring in jobs by hiring an economic development director to show potential employers what is available in Kane County, he added.
“We have to have a packet of strategic advantages (of the county) to attract and keep people in Kane County,” Lauzen said.
To help build the “team” that is Kane County and all of its 515,000 residents, the county also is looking at building community among specific demographics, Lauzen said.
“We took a look at 10 constituencies … to build community networks and connections through common interests,” Lauzen said. Those “common interests” he mentioned Tuesday include taxpayers, veterans, green advocates, moms and dads, global ambassadors and employers.
For some of those groups, the county plans to use “electronic focus groups” to help shape the county’s fiscal policy.
“Liking” the county’s Facebook page and commenting there also can help the board get an understanding of resident wants and needs, he said.
“You can be a voice in the conversation about how we live in our means,” Lauzen said.
“This is not propaganda about Kane County,” he added, but to find out what residents enjoy about living and doing here.
Projects and needs
Lauzen also answered a few questions about ongoing projects and needs in the county.
He took responsibility for the recent issue with Kane County’s representative on the Metra suburban rail agency board. Kane County’s prior representative on the RTA board, Nabi Fakroddin, resigned earlier this month, citing a conflict of interest because he simultaneously serves on the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
He took responsibility for that mistake, Lauzen said.
In the meantime, Lauzen is still taking applications for the next representative to the Metra/RTA board through Sept. 3.