Lake commissioner candidates focus on county spending
By carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent October 28, 2012 9:32PM
Updated: November 30, 2012 6:19AM
A change in the way the county spends its money is a top priority for candidates for the District 3 Lake County Commissioner post.
First-time Lake County Councilman Michael Repay, a Democrat, is facing off against long-time political hopeful Mark Leyva, a Republican, in a seat that will be vacated by Frances Dupey when she retires at the end of this year. Dupey has held the elected office for 16 years.
Repay, who won his first bid for office as 1st District county councilman in 2010, said he soon realized the place to impact how the county spends its money is from the Board of Commissioners office. Commissioners, he said, are in charge of the negotiation of contracts and have more of an opportunity to scrutinize what the county is getting for its money.
“I realized if we want to change the course and improve things that go on in the county you need to do it on the executive side rather than the legislative side,” Repay said.
He said he would like to take a leadership role in creating open lines of communication within county government and between county government and surrounding government units. Repay called the emergency dispatch consolidation an example of an opportunity for cooperation that ultimately will create efficiencies by combining services. Repay said he would like to work to identify more areas where consolidation could be beneficial.
“Lake County is unique,” Repay, a small business owner, said. The county has more cities and towns than other counties of the same size in the state and it is necessary to create an atmosphere of cooperation. “There are some unique things about it that could be opportunities. If we could all work together we can really make some good stuff happen.”
Leyva said he is running for the commissioner’s seat because it is time for a change in county government.
“It is time to get some fresh people in the county building with some fresh ideas to help out with the critical times we have now with our budgets,” Leyva said.
Leyva has long-held political aspirations and has run multiple unsuccessful bids for various posts, including U.S. Congress. He has set his sights on the commissioner’s seat for a chanced to be more involved with how the county operates.
Like Repay, he said as a commissioner he would have the opportunity to be more involved in the process of getting business done for the county and have more control over how much is being spent to do so.
“I know the top priorities are going to be the budget. We are going to have to look harder and deeper on the Sheriff’s Department and make some hard choices, if needed,” Leyva, a former steelworker and carpenter, said.
“I just honestly feel between my political aspirations and my perseverance and also being a tea party organizer and a watchdog in my eyes after years living here I can bring a fresh look to county government,” he said.