Vern Tepe sat down and answered some questions about his experience as an Elgin Township Trustee and his campaign for Kane County Board District 22.
“You need not go back four thousand years for heroines. The world is filled with them today. They do not belong to any nation, nor to any religion, nor exclusively to any race. Wherever woman is found, they are found.”
It’s been said many times before and has always been true, Edgewater is a truly wonderful and giving community. And it is in times of sorrow and distress that our own heroines step forward to meet the needs of neighbors and friends.
The project started out small. Judy Weller and Nadine Amy were determined to see that anyone in Edgewater who needed a protective mask would have one.
Vern Tepe suggested that each mask sell for $5.00 and that the proceeds go directly to Food for Greater Elgin. He would take orders, deliver the masks and, of course, keep a detailed spread sheet of monies collected just in case of any IRS audit.
The two ladies quickly enlisted the help of expert seamstresses Kate Budnick, Lynn Carlsen, Nancy Dorn, Marina Wray, Santa Sidari, Nancy Baker, Marge Sherer, Annette Gage and Jackie Polk.
Within two days of the birth of this fledging nonprofit, over 300 orders were received. The ladies are literally working around the clock to produce these unique and quite fashionable face masks. Their new ‘delivery boy” is busy morning, noon and night keeping abreast of the deliveries.
Because of the efforts of this little band of hero and heroines, and the generosity of the Edgewater community, a sizable check was presented to Mike Montgomery, Executive Director of Food for Greater Elgin.
So please, when you see these lovely ladies at the lodge, a club meeting or a Fun Friday, give them extra squeeze, they so deserve it!
PS – So far over $14,000 for Food for Greater Elgin was raised through these efforts.
Food for Greater Elgin received a sizable grant from Elgin Township and donations from a group of senior residents, all of which is helping tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit said.
The $100,000 grant approved by the Elgin Township board Monday night will support two months of operations, Food for Greater Elgin Interim Executive Director Michael Montgomery said. “This is a tremendous gift that allows us to do our job.”
The food pantry last month got a $150,000 emergency loan from the city of Elgin, repayable starting next year. The township grant does not need to be repaid. The food pantry also recently received a $25,000 grant from Safeway, $1,000 from Aldi and donations from two Rotary clubs in Elgin, Montgomery said.
The township grant came from the contingency fund of proceeds from the senior services property tax levy, Elgin Township Trustee Vern Tepe said. Although the food pantry is located just outside the township’s boundaries, it serves a lot of people who reside in the township, Tepe said. The food pantry last month started to open on Fridays for seniors only.
Food for Greater Elgin initially asked for a $60,000 grant but the township’s senior committee recommended increasing that to $100,000, and the township board agreed. Committee chairman Rich Jacobs said it was clear the food pantry needed help in providing essential services during the pandemic.
Tepe lives in the Edgewater by Del Webb senior community in Elgin, where he spearheaded the idea of further helping the food pantry with donations for homemade face masks.
The cotton and flannel masks are being sown by a group of Edgewater residents and distributed within the senior community for minium $5 donations to the food pantry. The initiative has distributed over 1700 masks and delivered over $13,500 to Food for Greater Elgin, Tepe said.
“There are over 1,000 homes, so about 2,000 people here. We are a 55 and older development, so we just want to take care of our community,” said resident Nadine Amy of Edgewater’s Crafty Needlers group. “I do see people when I’m out and they are wearing masks. I recognize most of them — either I made them or someone else in our group did.”
Food for Greater Elgin expects to serve about 600 families per week, up from 500, as people begin to feel the financial effects of the “stay at home” order, Montgomery said. “We are continuing to build (more clients) a little more each week and we expect it to be continuing,” he said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
Name: Verner (Vern) Tepe
Office sought: Kane County Board – District 22
Family: Married to Judith Tepe; Two sons – Verner Scott Tepe (deceased); Glen Tepe; Seven grandchildren.
Occupation: Computer Consultant and Property Investment
Education: BS in Mathematics from University of Cincinnati; Post Graduate work in Economics
Civic involvement: Elgin Township Trustee since 2017; Board Member – Family Service Association; active in creation and promotion of the Mental Health Referendum in Elgin Township.
Previous elected offices held: Elgin Township Trustee since 2017.
Phone number: 630-632-9811
Facebook: Vern Tepe & Vern Tepe for Kane County
1. Why are you running for this office, whether for re-election or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
My wife and I thoroughly enjoy our life in Kane County and we have been able to become engaged in local civic and volunteer activities. As an Elgin Township Trustee for the past 3 years I am proud of the contributions that I have made. Moving on to the County Board would afford me the opportunity to bring the same dedication and enthusiasm that I have to Kane County.
2. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you’ve led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
The Kane County budget is about $300 million annually. In addition to establishing policy, a large part of the Board’s responsibility is in managing and allocating these funds. My extensive business background and recent experience in public office are two key assets that will allow me to contribute to managing these tasks in an effective manner.
My main objectives will be to: Advocate for renewable energy; improve and enhance resources to address mental health issues, expand services for seniors, and to provide clean and affordable water throughout the county.
3. Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming in the future and how the county should deal with them. In particular in the suburbs, President Preckwinkle has set a goal of eliminating unincorporated areas from county oversight. Do you agree with this approach? If so, how should the county go about it?
Currently the County operates on a Balanced Budget and has a freeze on Property Taxes. I am in agreement with both of these policies. But as Kane County grows (and we are growing, not losing population) we need to continue to provide effective services to residents as well as job security for county personnel.
In regard to eliminating unincorporated areas from county oversight, I’d look in a different direction. Elgin Township is responsible for about 28 miles of roads and they do an excellent job. But at twice the cost per mile of what the City of Elgin pays. Let’s concentrate on consolidating services where it makes operational and fiscal sense.
4. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public’s access to records?
The county needs a comprehensive and cohesive website much like Cyberdrive is for the state. Individual departments have made their own attempt at creating a website for their specific area. Although major improvements have been made, they often fall short in being productive, informative, and useful to the user. A centralized group responsible for creating and managing web access should be created.
Transparency is always a challenge. For example: The county budget is long, complex and very involved. Well over 400 pages. Although it is very comprehensive, it is also difficult to understand. But, at the same time, would the effort to explain the budget in detail be worthwhile? An interesting dilemma.
5. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
Whenever I’ve gone to any county office with an issue or question I have received excellent and exceptional service. The only issue that occurs, with me, is that I’m not at the right place and need to be redirected to another location. Perhaps a few more strategically located branch offices, that had the ability to cross department lines, would be a better alternative.