The following is the Alliance of Land, Agriculture and Water questionnaire filled out by District 6 McHenry County Board candidate Michele Aavang:
ALAW County Board Candidates Survey: 2012 Primary Election
Please, indicate yes/no or agree/disagree in the box to the right of the question.
A. Land Use
1. Do you agree that new development should be located where infrastructure exists, to minimize the extension of new roads, utilities and services, and protect farmland and water recharge areas? Yes
2. If elected, will you support permanent protection of agricultural land and the agricultural industry in the County? Yes
3. Do you agree or disagree that new rural development costs more for the extension of infrastructure (roads, water, sewer and services) than it brings to the County in taxes and y~ that those extra costs are passed on to the existing taxpayers? Yes
B. Water Resources
1. Would you oppose any land use change that would exceed a locally recharged aquifer’s capacity? Yes
2. If elected will you enforce use of the SARA – Sensitive Aquifer Recharge Areas map developed by the County Water Resources Department, as a determining factor in every YIC.5 land use change decision? Yes
3. Do you support redistributing groundwater from water-rich areas to areas that have over drawn their groundwater? No
4. In your opinion, will McHenry County be able to get Lake Michigan water? No
C. The Role of County Government
1. Should the county provide support services to municipal governments, for example issuing and enforcing municipal building permits, administering and enforcing the Storm Water ordinance? Yes
2. Do you support a county housing program where the county purchases, constructs, tJp remodels, rents, sells homes throughout the county and in municipalities? Yes
3. Do you support a county bus program, where the county takes over responsibility for established service between select cities and townships? No
4. Should the county health department report to the county board as opposed to an independent board of directors? No
5. Do you think county government should increase expenditures and the scope of its activities, which will increase taxes to its residents? No
D. Transparency and Committment
1. County board records indicate that the average number of meetings necessary for attendance by a County Board Member is 8. This includes two full board meetings a month and two meetings a month for each committee (generally three) the member is assigned. Are you able and willing to make the commitment to represent your constituents to this extent? Yes
2. During the last primary election 32 candidates for county offices voluntarily filled out the ALAW initiated Statement of Economic Interests BEFORE the election. This form is now required once you are elected, but we need to know before we elect you. Will you follow suit and file yours with us now? (Form attached with mailing instructions.) Yes
3. Do you agree that all scheduled county meeting agendas and minutes, including committee and sub-committees, should be posted on the County web site? Yes
4. Would you have voted to raise the county board members salaries? No
5. Would you have voted to increase the real estate tax levy by 1.5% thus increasing the amount of real estate tax collected by the county by $1.1 mI.? No
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1. If you are elected to serve the residents of McHenry County, what external state and local agencies do you think are important for the county to liaison with and how would you make sure that information is flowing both ways with that agency? If you are currently serving and are an appointed liaison, please tell us what agency you are assigned and how you accomplish effective two-way communication.
Communication between the county and all state and local agencies is important to optimize efficiency. Leaders should be expected to follow-up on communications and respond accordingly to ensure the flow of information.
2. By protecting agricultural lands and soil resources, groundwater and its natural recharge can also be protected. What will you do to provide that protection?
Thoughtful and informed decisions regarding development and infrastructure need to be made with long-term consequences in mind. The value of prime farmland needs to be acknowledged. A farmland preservation plan needs to be given a higher priority and a funding mechanism for such a program needs to be initiated.
3. Most municipalities in the county have their own economic development commissions or committees. Economic development has to occur where there is existing infrastructure. The county funds the private McHenry County Economic Development Corporation ($635,985. for the 2009-2012 term) to create development in the county outside of municipalities. Is this a good investment of taxpayer money?
No. Taxpayer money would be more wisely spent by improving existing infrastructure to benefit the businesses and workforce located within the county. There are viable industries (agriculture) already here; if we protect what we have there is no reason to spend money to attract new industries that require costly development.
4. Do you think Fleming Road, Alden Road and other county roads that do not serve highly developed commercial areas, need to be widened and “improved” at this time?
I see no reason to widen or “improve” either of these roads at this time. The county needs to prioritize projects, and given the cost involved, lengthy list of other roads requiring attention, and the outspoken opposition to the projects by impacted residents, neither should be considered at this time.
5. What weight should you as a county board member give the opinions of citizens affected by zoning decisions, special use permits and road projects?
Citizens affected by county board decisions should be given every opportunity possible to provide input before such decision is reached. The opinions of impacted citizens should be sought-after, welcomed and considered in a serious and thoughtful manner.
6. What in your background qualifies you to serve the public as a county board representative and what do you intend to accomplish if elected to the County Board. You may also use this space to provide additional information regarding any of the “yes / no” answers given above. (100 words)
I have the leadership experience necessary to be effective, including my present role as Vice President – McHenry County Farm Bureau, President – Woodstock Farmers Market, and Secretary – Greenwood Cemetery Association. I am also a former Trustee for the Village of Greenwood, and a former 4-H club leader. I have decades of practical managerial and business experience. I have effectively controlled spending, as well as prepared and analyzed budgets for successful operations. I also have a keen interest in the future of the county as a business owner, and member of a family that has roots here dating back to the 1840’s.
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Aavang’s post card can be seen below: