Tom Wilbeck Answers ALAW’s McHenry County Board Questionnaire

District 2’s Tom Wilbeck replies to the Alliance for Land, Agriculture and Water’s Questionnaire below:

Tom Wilbeck

ALAW County Board Candidates Survey: 2012 Primary Election

A. Land Use

1. Do you agree that new development should be located where infrastructure exists, to minimize the extension of new roads, utilities and services, and protect farmland and water recharge areas?  yes

2. If elected, will you support permanent protection of agricultural land and the agricultural industry in the County? yes

3. Do you agree or disagree that new rural development costs more for the extension of infrastructure (roads, water, sewer and services) than it brings to the County in taxes and that those extra costs are passed on to the existing taxpayers? This really depends upon each individual development agreement. Each case needs to be studied.

A model of Tom Wilbeck's big billboard was at his fundraiser at Nick's Pizza.

B. Water Resources

1. Would you oppose any land use change that would exceed a locally recharged aquifer’s capacity?

2. If elected will you enforce use of the SARA – Sensitive Aquifer Recharge Areas map developed by the County Water Resources Department, as a determining factor in every land use change decision?

3. Do you support redistributing groundwater from water-rich areas to areas that have over drawn their groundwater? Yes – but this needs further study

4. In your opinion, will McHenry County be able to get Lake Michigan water? no

C. The Role of County Government

1. Should the county provide support services to municipal governments, for example issuing and enforcing municipal building permits, administering and enforcing the Storm Water ordinance? no

2. Do you support a county housing program where the county purchases, constructs, remodels, rents, sells homes throughout the county and in municipalities? no

3. Do you support a county bus program, where the county takes over responsibility for established service between select cities and townships? no

4. Should the county health department report to the county board as opposed to an independent board of directors? yes

5. Do you think county government should increase expenditures and the scope of its activities, which will increase taxes to its residents? no

D. Transparency and Commitment

1. County board records indicate that the average number of meetings necessary for attendance by a County Board Member is 8. This includes two full board meetings a month and two meetings a month for each committee (generally three) the member is assigned. Are you able and willing to make the commitment to represent your constituents to this extent? Yes and more

2. During the last primary election 32 candidates for county offices voluntarily filled out the ALAW initiated Statement of Economic Interests BEFORE the election. This form is now required once you are elected, but we need to know before we elect you. Will you follow suit and file yours with us now? (Form attached with mailing instructions.) yes

3. Do you agree that all scheduled county meeting agendas and minutes, including committee and sub-committees, should be posted on the County web site? yes

4. Would you have voted to raise the county board members salaries? no

5. Would you have voted to increase the real estate tax levy by 1.5% thus increasing the amount of real estate tax collected by the county by $1.1 ml.? no

E. Short Answer. Only the number of words indicated will be published in the response report. (please add a page if you need more room, but remember that we can only print the number of words indicated and reserve the right to edit your response for that reason. Thank you.)

1. If you are elected to serve the residents of McHenry County, what external state and local agencies do you think are important for the county to liaison with and how would you make sure that information is flowing both ways with that agency? If you are currently serving and are an appointed liaison, please tell us what agency you are assigned and how you accomplish effective two-way communication. (50 words)

A cooperative liaison relationship with external state and local agencies is a positive and an important objective for the citizens of McHenry County. We need to work and learn from such relationships to provide practical leadership. Information should be shared via the county web site.

2. By protecting agricultural lands and soil resources, groundwater and its natural recharge can also be protected. What will you do to provide that protection? (50 words)

I feel that the County Water Resources Department is doing a fine job and I support the continuation of the departments’ efforts. Conservation of agricultural lands and groundwater resources is of extreme importance. We need to continually update the Action Plan to secure future needs.

3. Most municipalities in the county have their own economic development commissions or committees. Economic development has to occur where there is existing infrastructure. The county funds the private McHenry County Economic Development Corporation ($635,985. for the 2009-2012 term) to create development in the county outside of municipalities. Is this a good investment of taxpayer money? (50 words)

We need to attract economic development any way that we can. We need to utilize what is currently available for future economic growth. We need to continually assess the benefits and corresponding results of this funding. Changes should be made as needed.

4. Do you think Fleming Road, Alden Road and other county roads that do not serve highly developed commercial areas, need to be widened and “improved” at this time? (50 words)

I think that all roads need to be maintained for the benefit of the residents that frequently use them. The voices of the local affected residents need to be heard and action should follow their directives. The recent Fleming Road outcry is a perfect example of listening to the affected people.

5. What weight should you as a county board member give the opinions of citizens affected by zoning decisions, special use permits and road projects? (50 words)

Being elected to “represent” people is the foundation of elected office. You must listen to the people that will be affected by such decisions. I will provide the opportunity to my constituents to hold bi-monthly meetings to get feedback on all issues.

6. What in your background qualifies you to serve the public as a county board representative and what do you intend to accomplish if elected to the County Board. You may also use this space to provide additional information regarding any of the “yes / no” answers given above. (100 words)

I have real world, practical experience and qualifications in business. This knowledge will continue to be very valuable as we try to streamline government.
 Being a successful financial sales professional, I have been trained to listen to gather facts, to propose and get agreement to provide solutions based upon those facts. This IS what I bring to this candidacy.
I do not believe in controversy in public service, but rather we need candidates who offer practical solutions, can work nicely with others in the sandbox, and the work ethic to follow through and make things happen.

Public service provides an avenue to help others and the community with issues and problems that are important to them. My number one goal is to help better my community while keeping a close eye on spending and taxes because in this economy we cannot afford the  tax increases that occurred in 2011.

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