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
- 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?
There are two scenarios that may necessitate an increase in the County’s tax levy:
- If the financial reserves of the County were depleted to a point that providing essential services may be affected.
- If the good credit rating of the County would be negatively impacted if the levy was not increased. The magnitude of increase would be determined by what it would take to keep the County’s good credit rating and how much reserve should be available so as to not risk the interruption of essential services for the citizens of McHenry County.
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?
I agree with most of the recently passed 2014 legislative agenda of the County. However, due to the inclusion of the support for legislation that grants counties more permissive authority and the ability to expand non-property tax revenue sources I would not have voted in favor of supporting this resolution, unlike my opponents in District 6 who voted in favor of supporting it.
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?
A stated purpose of the Unified Development Ordinance is to “preserve and maintain the unique and irreplaceable natural resources of McHenry County and environmental benefits of open space, clean air, ground water recharge, and wildlife preservation”. This should be at the forefront of all zoning and development decisions. To speak as to specifics of this document that is still being crafted would be unfair to the many quality people who have put in countless hours working on this ordinance and I am sure will continue to do so to draft an ordinance that will hopefully fulfill the purpose as stated above.
Key components of this ordinance must include how it is to be implemented and public understanding of the implementation of this ordinance. There needs to be a uniform and understandable procedure available for anyone who will be working under the jurisdiction of this ordinance so they will be able to make informed decisions as to their ability to meet requirements, time frames, and costs involved.
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?
There should be a system in place that brings all boards and departments before the County Board in a timely manner to justify their budgets from dollar one. As departments and boards develop and grow, they typically come back to the County Board for further appropriations. Often with increased appropriations there is the creation of new departments or new divisions within departments. This increase in size and the scope of their actions has contributed to more government spending and higher taxes. A system should be set up so that each department or County funded board, on a rotating basis, would be required to justify their budget from dollar one for the County Board to review. This would be very helpful in eliminating waste and/or duplication of services, and help make our County government operate as efficiently as possible.
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 f orm with us now? (Form attached with mailing instructions.)
I will be happy to voluntarily fill out the Addendum to Statement of Economic Interest before the election. It is included with 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 having the referendum on the ballot and giving the voters an opportunity to be heard.
This is in direct contrast to my opponent Ersel Schuster’s “NO” vote in January of 2013. With her “NO” vote to support placing the referendum on the ballot, she is saying “the voters can’t be trusted”. There has been continued public support for a popular election of the chair of the County Board. I personally support the current arrangement of having the board members elect the chair. However, in the interest of transparency, I feel the voters should have their say. If the referendum results show my constituents feel the chair should be popularly elected, I will support this position and work towards making it happen. My trust will be in the voters to protect the integrity of the election process from big money and special interest.
7. Have you accepted donations from any organization that does business with the County? If so, please provide details.
I have not accepted donations from any organization that does business with the County.
8. What have you done to prepare yourself for the office you seek?
I have spent many, many hours working on being informed about County business, reading transcripts of prior Board meetings, and attending County Board meetings in preparation for my opportunity to represent the voters of District 6. I am confident my experiences as a real estate broker, appraiser, director of an insurance company, and farm owner can bring a fresh perspective to the County Board.
As a self-employed businessman in McHenry County for over 30 years, my positive approach on the County Board will represent my constituents free of the bipartisan politics that has so often hindered good government in the past.
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?
If the County were to reach a population that exceeded a level that the water aquifers could no longer support, we would have little choice but to look for water sources from outside the County. More importantly, we need to realize this is a problem that needs immediate attention. This problem is bigger than the County because the aquifer we draw from is bigger than our County. The aquifer we draw from reaches from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to the Southwestern suburbs of Chicago. This is a regional problem and we need to have a regional water commission for help in rectifying this situation. McHenry County must have the cooperation of these other areas to be effective in controlling our water supplies. Our County should be a leader in protecting water recharge areas and demand the other municipalities and governing bodies drawing from the same aquifer do the same.
10. Would you oppose any land use change that would exceed a locally recharged aquifer’s capacity?
I will 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?
I do not support redistributing groundwater from water-rich areas to areas that have over drawn their groundwater.
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?
I 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 increase 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 think all spending decisions of the County Board should be evaluated on a cost/benefit analysis. I would not support the $115 million dollar plan to fix Randall Road and the intersection at Route 62.
However, something needs to be done with this stretch of road and there are many Federal tax dollars tied directly to this project. The benefits to taxpayers of this proposed expenditure could be measured in the loss of tax dollars and jobs for McHenry County if the businesses along this stretch of road were to leave the area if improvements were not made.