KOOTENAI COUNTY COMMISSIONER DISTRICT 2: Challengers take on chairman
By JENNIFER PASARO
Kootenai County Commissioner Chairman Chris Fillios said the most important part of a county commissioner’s job harkens back to the oath of office he took nearly 3 ½ years ago.
“Our biggest priority is the health and safety of Kootenai County residents,” Fillios said. “As is managing a budget and doing so in a way that we operate in an efficient manner for the greater benefit of our citizens.”
Fillios believes in government transparency and encourages residents to get online to see the county’s revenue and expenses in real time.
Fillios worked the first half of his career in telecommunications and technology. He has a bachelor of science in political science and a master’s in international politics. He worked for AT&T and Rockwell International. In that time he wrote market plans for a $160 million company.
“I worked for some very bright people, people who challenged me,” Fillios said.
He also grew up in a fast-paced environment and emphasizes his ability to process information quickly. For the past three and half years, Fillios has been attending roughly 400 board meetings per year. “I have the critical thinking skills required to think across the three levels of the job, executive, legislative, and quasi-judicial functions,” Fillios said.
Over the last year, Fillios has written several letters to legislators in Boise, taking a position on tax policy. He felt some of the bills being proposed in the state house would limit the county’s ability to conduct business. He continued that Idaho has the 13th lowest property tax rate in the nation and that of the four large counties in the state, Kootenai has the lowest tax rate.
“We are 15% below the state average,” Fillios said. “People need to know that we also have the ability to lower or cancel people’s taxes because of hardship.”
Fillios supports Gov. Brad Little’s initiative to seek a third party analysis of scientific data involving the health of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Greg Delavan is seeking a spot as a Kootenai County Commissioner to protect natural resources and a rural way of life in the county, while also accommodating the growing population.
He sees the position as an opportunity to work with the other elected officials in the county for budget and management purposes.
He was trained medically in the US Navy prior to obtaining management degrees in public administration and medical management. Delavan has represented the county working with the Basin Commission, Bayview Fire, and Coeur d’Alene Lake flood FEMA response, among other collaborative, natural disaster response efforts.
Delavan has more than 40 years of executive-level management that he believes have prepared him to respond to most of the issues that come before the BOCC.
“As Airport Director and President of the Idaho Airport Management Association, I was involved in legislative issues at all levels of government,” Delavan said.
During that time, Delavan worked alongside over 20 different commissioners. He believes he can get things done on the board, especially when it comes to issues confronting waterfront property owners.
“The waterfront property owners have the greatest investment in preserving and protecting our beautiful lakes and rivers,” Delavan said. “Yet some of us need more education and enforcement to make sure that we are good stewards of our environment.”
Delavan agrees with Governor’s Little call to analyze the data from Lake Coeur d’Alene.
“Water quality in CDA Lake has improved greatly since clean up began in the 1960s,” Delavan said. “I was involved in the EPA clean up and I have worked with the CDA basin commission since it began.”
Elizabeth Jacobsen’s top priority in seeking a county commissioner seat is to serve the residents of the county with integrity. One of the ways she envisions doing that is to protect people’s ability to stay in their homes.
“I will manage the budget in a way that doesn’t impose more taxes,” Jacobsen said. “I am in the age group that could be taxed out of my home.”
Jacobsen said the county portion of property taxes is the one thing she could do something about, if elected commissioner.
“I can do it objectively,” Jacobsen said. “I’m not a Realtor or a developer. I admit I don’t know everything about being a commissioner.”
It’s a job she said she would be excited and qualified to learn. Jacobsen was a physician’s assistant for 20 years and ran her own business for 18 years.
“It isn’t until you actually walk into those exam rooms and start practicing medicine that you know what it’s like; it’s the same for a commissioner,” Jacobsen said. “I’m ready for that. I did it with practicing medicine. I’m ready to do it as county commissioner.”
Jacobsen said county commissioners need to manage the budget in a way that serves the majority of the people’s best interests. She proposes incentivizing employees to seek grant money to fund county expenses.
“We need to look at where monies are being spent; whatever is state-mandated and federally mandated we keep,” Jacobsen said. “Beyond that we need to take a hard look at what we are funding.”