BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
DANVILLE — Taxes are the concentration for three candidates vying for seats in Vermilion County Board District 4 in this year’s election.
Incumbent Democrats Joe Tamalunis and Ed Barney are facing off against Republican challenger Cathy Jenkins. A fourth candidate, Democrat Terry Stal of Georgetown, is running for a seat in District 4.
Cooperation is the focus for Barney and Tamalunis attempting to hold off a property tax increase for the county. The county has not had a tax increase in six years.
For Tamalunis, the cooperation begins at the board level.
“My solution would be to continue the operation of the county board as is,” he said in a survey distributed to candidates. “We are a group who go beyond the political boundaries in order to ensure that the county will continue to operate within its means.”
Barney agrees, but notes an effort to assist the county should also come from the state government in Springfield.
“In a perfect world, it would be easier to maintain this run if the state would improve its financial situation and pay the county its money that it is due and owing and pay it on time,” he said, noting that cuts will still need to be made by the county “in appropriate places.”
A raise in taxes should always be the last option, according to Jenkins, but is one that includes a variety of factors.
“To project a plan to maintain the county’s no tax increases is not representative of the many areas that must be taken into consideration,” she said, adding that every alternative — including cuts — must be considered as well as “innovative/creative ideas examined.”
District 4 is in the southeast corner of the county, taking in Georgetown and extending as far north as Westville.
Incumbent Democratic board member Terry Stal of Georgetown did not return a candidate survey with his comments on the issues.
Development in District 4 to aid the county also remains on the forefront for Jenkins and Barney.
“I would be looking to increase economic development in the southern part of the district which would help alleviate other issues that lack of development brings,” Jenkins said.
For Barney, there are benefits to such growth.
“Economic and business growth which would increase the tax bases plus provide more jobs for residents of Vermilion County,” he said.
Tamalunis wants to support county law enforcement as well as the “financial needs of the local townships to help improve bridges and roadways.”
Employment: Retired, former senior manager at Blue Cross
Prior political experience: Former alderwoman on Georgetown City Council
Employment: Retired from Illinois Department of Corrections
Prior political experience: Elected to Vermilion County Board, 2008
Employment: Attorney and partner at Saikley, Garrison, Colombo and Barney
Prior political experience: Vermilion County Board member, 2002-present