We start paying a Lake County income tax in October.
It’s not something that’s popular. It has many critics.
But it’s a necessary evil.
What I hope is the drama associated with adopting the tax will soon fade. There is serious work to be done by county officials.
Here are a couple of items that ought to be a priority:
- Establish a countywide 911 system. Stop the bickering and payment of thousands of dollars to consultants. Listen to our local public safety professionals and get the job done.
- Fix the Lake County Jail, making sure health care for inmates is adequate and the physical facilities are modern, clean and safe.
- Repair the many county roads that have been left to crumble. Many a driver can tell officials where the worst of the worst can be found.
- Update the county’s data services, making sure they are efficient and safe.
If these four action items are successfully pursued, county officials will have made good use of some of the new revenue generated by the income tax.
What isn’t needed is a constant barrage of bickering among those who are anti this or that.
Take for instance Lake County Commissioner Gerry Scheub. He was leader of those opposing the tax. He argued for nearly five years for a non-functional trash-to-ethanol plant. And now he’s trying to block the much-needed Illiana Expressway. He has consistently been a loser.
Scheub and those with an anti attitude need to shed their negativity and join those with a positive and progressive outlook.
Millions upon millions of dollars are about to be handed the Lake County Council as a result of the income tax. While open and serious discussion needs to be held on how to spend the money, I hope it will be in a civil manner.
Spending the money in a thoughtful, necessary way is a must. I can assure you The Times will be watching how every dime is spent.
Paramount to doing so requires the council say “no” to many of the requests coming from county departments. Arrival of the income tax cash must not be an excuse to return to the old gravy days in county government.
Council President Ted Bilski has thus far done a good, thoughtful job in getting the county through its financial quagmire. Here’s hoping he continues to lead in a responsible manner as officials dole out the new cash.