New Water Employee Push Now 2-1

Dennis Sandquist makes his case for a new employee for his Planning and Development Department.

Dennis Sandquist makes his case for a new employee for his Planning and Development Department.  Chief Stormwater Engineer Joanna Colletti is to Sandquist’s left.

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.

The Human Resources Committee

The Human Resources Committee question Dennis Sandquest about his request for a new water resources employee.

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.

= = = = =
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.


New Water Employee Push Now 2-1 — 4 Comments

  1. Voters should make the distinction that hiring a new employee does not create more water, does not ensure that fair and legal distribution of water takes place, and does not affect the technical availability of enormous free (unpaid) water grabs to private enterprise such as power plants.

    The message being sent by County Board is that hiring an employee will somehow impart an aura of expertise to the Board when it makes its own water grab to take water from the west and give it to the east under the premise:

    “From each according to ability, to each according to need”.

  2. So this would be an unbudgeted Water Resources hire.

    If water resources is such an urgent issue, then the words “Urgent – Water Conservation Tips” or something similar should be on the home page of the County website, with a link explaining the dire situation of the county’s water supply.

    That’s cheaper than the $73,000 position plus the county contribution to the IMRF pension fund.

    How about volunteers going door to door explaining the county’s dire water predicament.

    Do all the board members approving the position have rain barrels, rain gardens, and permeable paver driveways.

    Maybe before spending taxpayer money they should spend their own money to conserve water.

    Well that’s a little extreme but the point is made.

  3. A major water conservation win was already accomplished with voting down the Oakwood Hills natural gas power plant as 35% of the 1.5 million gallons of water needed daily was to be drawn from a deep water aquifer that Joliet also uses at its water source.

    Northwest Herald
    Oakwood Hills could get power plant
    $450M state-of-the-art facility proposed in Oakwood Hills; water usage concerns raised
    By Jeff Englehardt
    July 12, 2014

    There are easily over 1,000 pages of water study information completed over the years that applies to McHenry County.

    To a large extent, the information is already available as to how the public can conserve water.

    Presumably that is not being done to a great enough extent or we would not need a $73,000 new hire to help McHenry County conserve water.

    So is it intuitive to the public on how to locate water conservation and education material on the county website, information which has been been compiled at taxpayer expense.

    Here is the path. > County Government > Departments J-Z > Planning & Development > Divisions > Water Resources

    Lots of taxpayer paid resources in that path, to conserve water.

    Here is another one of many water education and conservation studies.

    Here’s a comprehensive study of McHenry County water.

    Prairie Research Institute
    Illinois State Water Survey
    Contract Report 2013-06
    Groundwater Simulation Modeling and Potentiometric Surface Mapping, McHenry County, Illinois
    by Scott C. Meyer, Yu-Feng Lin, Daniel B. Abrams, George S. Roadcap
    242 pages

    Here’s another document.
    What Our Water’s Worth
    Advantages and challenges of deep aquifer water

    How are the current elected board members educating their electorate on water conservation.

    It’s easier to approve a $73,000 new hire.

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