We finish our coverage of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce’s meeting with local governmental officials by looking at the answers to a question about the public’s biggest misconceptions and things governmental officials wish people knew.
First up was Crystal Lake Elementary School Board President Jeff Mason.
He wanted people to know how much less than state averages the expenses are.
Crystal Lake averages $5,750 per pupil, while the state average is $7,100.
Taking all expenses, District 47 spends $9,300 per year, while the average school spends $12,000.
“We feel we are good stewards,” he concluded.
Next School Superintendent Kathy Hinz.
“Schools are a business,” she said, with 1,200 employees and 7,600 students.
“We make our decisions in a businesslike fashion.”
Crystal Lake Librarian Kathryn Martens said the biggest misconception that libraries are all about books and books are going away.
At a recent convention of librarians there were more book sellers than ever before, she explained.
“Libraries work to meet people where they are and meet their needs…to connect you with the information you need.”
District 155 Board President Ted Wagner reflected on the $2 billion that has been spent during the eighteen years as he has served.
It’s “everybody’s money.
“Can we do better?
He said the biggest misconception is that “there is some evil menace out there that’s trying to do something to the community.”
“We have a wonderful school system in the community here supported 70% by the real estate tax.”
With little emotion he explained, “We get insulted…We don’t get a lot of compliments.”
McHenry County Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller asked audience members to be “our eyes and ears,” indicating that’s how County Board members get valuable information.
The former President of the McHenry County Conservation District Board told of how the land owned by that agency not only serves conservation purposes, but also covers essential recharge areas for local acquirers. Gottemoller had previously pointed to the role county government plays in water resources.
He also pointed to the Health Department’s role, pointing specifically to restaurant inspections.
He could have pointed to
animal control, as well.
These folks not only pick up stray dogs, they remove dead animals from local roads.
Park District Executive Director Jason Herbster pointed out that Illinois is one of the few states with park districts.
He indicated that the independence of the park district kept local recreational services from being cut as they were elsewhere in the country.
“We’re in the business of saving lives,” the park district official said.
Last to answer the question was James Richter, Assistant Director of Community Economic Development for the City of Crystal Lake.
“When you’re successful, we’re successful,” he said, then, asked for more feedback.