I’m going to put up as many of the Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water questionnaires as I can get to.
Endorsed candidates are
- District 1: Andrew Gasser
- District 2: Donna Kurtz
- District 3: Nancy Gonsiorek
- District 4: John Hammerand
- District 5: John Jung Jr. and Zane Seipler
- District 6: Ersel Schuster
ALAW County Board Candidates Survey: Primary Election March 18, 2014
THE ROLE OF COUNTY GOVERNMENT
1. What scenario would necessitate an increase in the county’s tax levy and what are your parameters for determining the magnitude of that increase?
An increase would be necessitated by a severe downturn in the economic environment. Increases are established by state statute.
2. Do you agree with the recently passed 2014 legislative agenda of the county including support for legislation that grants counties more permissive authority and the ability to expand non-property tax revenue sources? (Can be found in the January 21, county board meeting packet).
Why or why not. Yes, I voted for it. It allows the county to increase fees to offset or recoup the costs of providing services.
3. Can you identify five specific areas of concern in the Unified Development Ordinance that are being discussed or have recently been discussed in the joint Zoning Board of Appeals and Planning and Development Committee meetings?
Yes. Five of the specific areas of concern are temporary use permits, conditional use permits, ag-tourism, billboards, and temporary signs.
4. What areas, if any, of County government could be more efficient and save taxpayers money?If you believe there are services or functions that could be more efficient, how would you (or how have you, if incumbent) formally review County programs to ensure their necessity and improve their efficiency?
Generally speaking, there is no specific area or department of the county that could be run more efficiently. However, the county is continually reviewing costs and expenses, eliminating unnecessary positions, and implementing technology in an effort to reduce costs and streamline processes. As a County Board member, I work hard to solve the problems we face by advocating a transparent budget process, strategic planning, and financial modeling.
These policies resulted in the County’s AAA bond rating and a six month cash reserve. During my tenure as Chairman of the Human Resource Committee, with the help of staff, I initiated vacant position policies, employee rosters, and health insurance changes that resulted in over a million dollar savings to the county.
I introduced the Youth Peer Jury system to the county which eased the overburdened court system. When elected I would continue to foster these policies and work to ensure that the County continues to operate with a balanced budget and maintain strict financial and human resource policy controls.
I would encourage the County to adopt an audit policy to make sure that County owned vehicles are being used for government work and not for personal or commuting purposes. This policy should include a provision for reimbursement to the County for all uses that are not specifically for government work.
The County should also implement strict cost benefit analysis for all new and existing projects, grants, and initiatives.
TRANSPARENCY AND COMMITTMENT
5. During past primary elections, candidates for county offices voluntarily filled out the ALAW initiated Addendum to Statement of Economic Interests BEFORE the election. This form is now required once you are elected, but filing it now with us is entirely voluntary. ALAW will not endorse any candidate who does not fill out the form. Will you fill out and file your form with us now? (Form attached with mailing instructions.)
Yes, it is attached at the end of this questionnaire.
6. Tell us why you do or do not think the county board chair should be popularly elected and if the referendum passes, how do you propose to protect the integrity of the election process from big money and special interests?
I am in favor of a referendum to make the County Board chairmanship a popularly elected position.
I do not support the idea of an election at large for a four year County Board position. The county board vote for chairman takes place every two years which, in essence, is a term limit. If the individuals in these positions are not performing, the county board can vote to replace them.
It costs approximately $50,000 to $100,000 for an individual to run a county wide campaign. An important question is does raising this amount of money cause an individual to become beholden to large donors and/or special interest groups.
7. Have you accepted donations from any organization that does business with the County? If so, please provide details.
Yes, from Mark Mathewson.
8. What have you done to prepare yourself for the office you seek?
As an incumbent, I study the issues that come before the county board and keep abreast of the interests of the citizens of the county through my community involvement.
WATER RESOURCES AND /LAND USE
9. What do you foresee as a solution when the county population reaches a level that the aquifers can no longer support? Alternatively what do you see as a way to avoid this crisis?
Based on information in Illinois geological studies and our own monitoring wells, I do foresee a water crisis in the future. Public education about the importance of conserving water, and making zoning decisions based on the effects the change would have on groundwater and/or the aquifers are ways that could help.
10. Would you oppose any land use change that would exceed a locally recharged aquifer’s capacity?
11. Do you support redistributing groundwater from water-rich areas to areas that have over drawn their groundwater?
Yes, with certain conditions or restrictions.
12. Do you agree with the proposition that new development should be located where infrastructure exists, to minimize the extension of new roads, utilities and services, protect farmland and water recharge areas, and minimize the concurrent tax increases for existing residents?
13. Should transportation improvements be evaluated based upon their return on investment and prioritized according to this cost/benefit analysis (i.e. Randall Rd. and Rt. 62 intersection)? For example, do you support the $115 million plan to fix 3½ miles of Randall Road, including the intersection at Route 62? How do you measure the benefit to the taxpayers of this proposed expenditure?
I am not sure that anything really needs to be done and I will continue to study the economic impact to the surrounding area. This is a good example of the unintended consequences of urban/suburban sprawl that occurs when municipalities race to be the biggest and fastest community without proper planning and communication with their neighbors. Because of mistakes like this, every resident of McHenry County ultimately pays the price regardless of where they live.