Elnalyn Costa, Will County Board 2022 Primary Election Questionnaire – Shaw Local
Full Name: Elnalyn Costa
What office are you looking for? Will County Council, District 11
What offices, if any, have you already held? 2017-present: DuPage Township District 4 Committee Captain
Occupation: Fund Administrator for SEIU Healthcare IL Benefit Funds
Education: National Louis University, Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Leadership
Harvard Medical School, Executive Education: Evidence, Insight, and Strategy to Maximize Health Benefits
Campaign website: WWW.COSTAFORCOUNTYBOARD.COM
Will County Council has set broad parameters for how it should spend more than $133 million in federal pandemic relief, including infrastructure, health goals and economic development. What specific causes should the council focus on when spending this money?
The county council has begun the process of awarding American Rescue Plan Act funding. The funding is expected to support programming where county services have been hardest hit due to the pandemic. A thorough assessment must be carried out to ensure that the funding is spent within the authorized period. The specific cause I would like to see ARPA dollars spent on is preventative health and mental health services. Our children have struggled to adjust to remote work during the pandemic. We need to dedicate additional resources to early childhood development, addressing any delays in developmental screening and the need for early childhood mental health and family engagement programs. Our young teens also need support to seek preventative care visits, learn how to advocate with healthcare professionals, and be educated on how to navigate a complex healthcare system at a young age.
Will County Council has yet to decide how to spend new revenue from its recreational marijuana sales tax. How should these revenues be distributed?
The recreational marijuana sales tax is estimated to raise $1.2 million annually. Revenues earned should be used to fund programs in Will County communities that have been harmed by violence, over-incarceration, and economic disinvestment, modeled on the Illinois Restore, Reinvest, Renew (R3) program. In the R3 model, these Will County communities currently include Aurora, Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, and Joliet. Funding programs for mental health services, addiction support and workforce development would be most beneficial.
The council discussed what to do with the former county courthouse property. Although it is restricted to its use for public purposes, what do you think should happen to the old courthouse and the land it sits on?
The county council has already approved the demolition and the cost analysis has determined that the demolition will cost less than a remodel or repurposing of the old county courthouse. I agree with council’s decision to level the courthouse, while working with the County Historic Preservation Commission to preserve artifacts and relics that can help educate and commemorate the old courthouse of the county. Courthouses are symbolic spaces of truth, justice and participatory democracy that preserve our rights and freedoms. The land it sits on can then be redesigned to create a beautiful green space for public use that Will County residents and our families can enjoy, can be educated, and can appreciate our rights and freedoms.
Do you think Will County should retain the county’s executive form of government? Please explain.
Yes. The checks and balances of both branches of the executive form of government in Will County operate, where the council serves as the legislative policy-making branch and the executive branch serves to execute and enforce policy.
The county is conducting a diversity and inclusion study of its operations. While the study is ongoing, what do you think the county government should do to ensure diversity and inclusion in its hiring and contracting processes?
The newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Committee should take the lead in making sense of the quantitative and qualitative data in the study. I am very interested in participating in this committee. The data from the study should inform the council to develop specific initiatives to create a more diverse, inclusive, equitable and just operation of the county. In the meantime, and only as a first step towards better hiring practices, elected officials responsible for contracting and hiring managers across the county should receive training and education on unconscious and implicit bias as a necessary step to reduce the influence of bias in hiring decisions.
Annual salaries for Will County elected officials tend to be lower than those of their counterparts in neighboring suburban counties. Do you support raising the salaries of county elected officials in Will County?
It will be necessary to examine current labor market trends relative to surrounding counties, consider inflation and demands of key county departments through changes due to the pandemic in order to make a fair and equitable decision. on salary. There is no reason for Will County to lag behind neighboring suburban counties if the council has done an effective job of managing the county’s budget.
The county has seen an increase in opioid overdose deaths over the past year. Its Office of Substance Use Initiatives has worked to address the outbreak. What more do you think the county should be doing to prevent such incidents?
Better access to fentanyl has helped prevent overdoses. Once a life is saved, there is still work to be done to support addiction recovery. People with depression and other mental health issues are more likely to develop opioid addiction. The pandemic has only worsened the state of isolation that many people are going through. We need to normalize discussions about mental health issues and increase social services and outreach programs that aim to support recovery from addiction and prevent addiction before it starts.
How would you encourage economic and job growth in Will County?
Economic and employment development is a multi-pronged effort for the county and requires strong relationships between organizations such as the Will County Economic Development Center, local chambers of commerce, and municipalities. In order to leverage our strategic location in the Midwest for business growth, we must invest in our infrastructure to provide efficient transit to and from industrial spaces in Will County. As new industries move into Will County, we need to ensure there is housing development and community development to ensure access to good education, health care and recreation.
Do you think there is a local crime problem? If so, what should be done about it?
Yes, there is always a crime to fight. As the county council works to tackle crime and public safety specifically in the unincorporated parts of Will County, we also need to work with municipal police departments to more responsibly tackle crime. in all communities in the county. This will require more community engagement, diversion programs for our youth, law enforcement training and preparation, and access to social services and mental health care. It is essential that resources and funding are made available to support these crime prevention programs and to support law enforcement in controlling crime.
What local road and bridge projects should be prioritized in the county?
The Will County Department of Transportation must coordinate closely with the Illinois Department of Transportation to complete the completion of roadwork on our interstate highways, including I-80 and I-55.
Are you in favor of lowering local property taxes? If so, how would the county make up the difference?
The county council’s share of the tax rate is low, around 4-5% of total property taxes. I support keeping the line on the county’s current tax rate to ensure continuity of county services. I encourage voters to get involved with their local school boards, where the property tax rate allocation is highest.
Do you support stronger county government ethics laws? What measures do you support?
I support the enforcement of our current government ethics laws to ensure accountability and trust in our local government systems.
What do you think of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act?
When FOIA is requested, it is the absolute responsibility of the FOIA agent to produce the requested information.
Please indicate your plan for maintaining open government.
The county council should continue to record all policy meetings and decisions, and made available via the website and on request.
What would you do as a county government member to boost local businesses?
As previously stated, we need to invest in our infrastructure to provide efficient passage to and from industrial spaces in Will County to attract businesses to the county. As new industries move into Will County, we must ensure that there is housing development and community development to ensure access to good education, health care and recreation, creating opportunities for families to build a home and small and large businesses to thrive in the county.
ARPA dollars are to be allocated to economic development throughout the county. County Council members should develop good relationships with municipal leaders and local chambers of commerce to understand areas where the pandemic has stalled economic development in order to direct funding and resources to those areas to spur business development local.
Should government employees and officials be allowed to sign non-disclosure agreements with private companies?
I have no position on this at the moment.
Would you lobby for or against allowing government officials and employees to sign non-disclosure agreements with private companies?
I have no position on this at the moment.