The answers filled out below were filed by District 5 McHenry County Board member Virginia Peschke. They are to the Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water’s Questionnaire.
ALAW County Board Candidates Survey: 2012 Primary Election
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 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 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? No
2. Do you support a county housing program where the county purchases, constructs, remodels, rents, sells homes throughout the county and in municipalities? No
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? ?
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 Commitment
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?
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? Yes
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 ml.? No
E. Short Answer. Only the number of words indicated will be published in the response report. (please add a page if you need more room, but remember that we can only print the number of words indicated and reserve the right to edit your response for that reason. Thank you.)
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. (50 words)
I am the voting representative on the Board of Health and report back to the Health and Human Services Committee. Likewise I report on activities of the Agriculture Presentation Committee (ACE) to the Health Committee. I serve on the Housing Commission, which is a County entity. Sue Draffkorn reports to CDBG and P&D on Housing Commission matters.
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? (50 words)
I serve on the Agriculture Preservation Committee and am working with municipalities to contract for transfer of development rights until we can get state authorization to initiate TDR or and permission to set a referendum on funding to purchase development rights from farmers. As a Board Member of the Land Conservancy I work to promote easement donations from farmers to preserve agriculture in perpetuity.
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? (50 words)
No. Our Comprehensive Plan should prohibit this. As a member of the 2020 Land Use Plan Commission, I voted to prohibit this.
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? (50 words)
Both Alden and Fleming Roads need to be rebuilt, but the decision to widen them is dependent on whether the widening is necessary for safety or to protect groundwater pollution by controlling runoff.
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? (50 words)
Protection of the rights of neighbors to the peaceful enjoyment of their property is a primary consideration in zoning matters.
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 served on the County Board for almost 20 years, which has given me an excellent historical background to support my analysis of the issues. Prior to being elected in 1990, I served as a municipal ZBA member and Village Trustee, giving me an understanding of municipal considerations.