July 25th a request from the Planning and Zoning Department to hire a new employee to handle water resources at a cost of about $73,000 was rejected by the Planning and Development Committee.
Prior to that, the Natural and Environmental Committee approved the hiring, but not this fiscal year.
Today the same request went before the Human Resources Committee and passed 5-2.
Prior to the meeting Nancy Williamson, Regional Watershed Coordinator Illinois Department of Natural Resources urged approval, as did others concerned with the future of the water supply in McHenry County.
It was pointed out that all of our water comes from wells.
This turned out to be an unusual request from a procedural point of view. Usually requests for new personnel come during the drawing up of the next year’s budget. This comes before that process has really started.
Committee member Yvonne Barnes wanted to know why P&D had turned down the request.
Sue Draffkorn, who serves on both committees told of the motion being reconsidered after having initially passed “because of the process, rather than the need for the position.”
“I’m concerned about the money,” Human Services Committee member Diane Evertsen said.
Committee member Michael Rein pointed out that the resolution being considered contained approval for appropriating the money.
“We’re voting on the whole thing.”
County Administrator Peter Austin pointed out the “irregularity of this” proposal in that it prioritizes this before the budget.
“I know this is an issue that will have a lot of attention.”
Committee Chairman John Jung agreed, pointing out that it was “coming in the middle of a budget year asking for money for the next budget year.
“I don’t like the precedent.”
“I can’t think of anything more important than protecting our water,” Member Donna Kurtz said.
“We’re running out of water.”
When the vote was taken voting in favor were
- Sue Draffkorn
- John Jung
- Don Kopsell
- Donna Kurtz
- Michael Rein
In opposition were
- Yvonne Barnes
- Dianne Evertsen
The Finance Committee is the next stop.
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Some might find this article on the speaker at the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County of interest. Illinois Water Survey scientist Scott Meyer compared well water depths from 1994 with those of 2011.