Marengo District 6 County Board Forum

A Friend of McHenry County Blog took some notes last night at the McHenry County Board District 6 candidates’ night at Marengo High School.

Here’s they are:

District 6 candidates for County Board held at the Marengo High School on March 2nd

District 6 McHenry County Board candidates Jim Kearns, Kelly Liebmann, incumbent Mary McCann, Preston Rea and Ersel Schuster.

District 6 McHenry County Board candidates Jim Kearns, Kelly Liebmann, incumbent Mary McCann, Preston Rea and Ersel Schuster.

The Marengo Chamber of Commerce hosted this program.

It was a requirement for questions from the public to be written on small post it notes and turned in prior tohe start of the program.

Each response was monitored for time to just a couple of minutes so answers were often times hard to follow because many of the questions were very complex. In addition, it was impossible for the udience to ask additional questions for further explanation on topics of importance.

That said this process did keep the program on course, on time and fair and covered a broad range of issues.

What is a UDO …….

Each candidate was asked to give a short introduction and explain his or her background.

Mary McCann

Mary McCann

Mary McCann is a former teacher of science for 12 years before becoming a businessperson with her own berry farm in Marengo/ Woodstock area. Mary has been on the county board for 8 years and said she has made considerable improvements in the Building services area, Mental Health Board and in defining the  UDO. Mary feels enforcement of the UDO’s in McHenry County have been lax an example being the water contamination issue.

Mary says her campaign is about balance on the County Board. She said more Marengo residents need to bring their concerns to her because the Board is very busy with issues they are working on.

She asks that all taxpayers take a long hard look at the school spending problem and run for the school boards in our community.

She has introduced a concept which she is still implementing called Contract board solutions which is a process used in other counties.

Mary does not think that the County board should be involved in Township consolidations decisions. She is also in favor of smaller county boards and thinks the current number should be reduced to 12.

A view of some of the audience of the District 5 candidates' night.

A view of some of the audience of the District 5 candidates’ night.

She has been working with the county assessor’s office Bob Ross on the potential to reduce property tax’s for the homeowners in Marengo who have contaminated well water.

Mary quoted a study done by DuPage County that found three areas of the County Board that can be looked into for savings. Wastewater department, Fire Departments and Shared services with Townships. Mary did say that big spending is now required on the government buildings because they have not been maintained properly for years and very expensive things like roofing and mechanicals like heating /air conditioners all need to be replaced.

Mary knows of the recent problems among neighbors in Marengo due to constant day and night shooting which is taking place on small and even empty spaces up for sale casing a nuisance for other homeowners whose quality of life has been greatly and negatively impacted.

Preston Rea

Preston Rea

Preston Rea. Highly educated in areas of public health. Has served on many boards, is a current Township Supervisor, and has more than 30 years of business experience. He claims to have lowered taxes in his area to property tax’s being lower now than in 2006. Although no mention was made as to the enormous reduction of home values in our area.

Preston from his literature is in favor of taxpayer-subsidized improvement to the RT. 62/Algonquin Road intersection. Hotly debated issues among tax watch dogs and the County Board.

Sighted many times that Marengo MUST be economically developed. Said that Winnebago, Boone and other counties are in discussion and looking to Marengo as an untapped jewel and have visions of what new growth could look like.

Unfortunaly no mention of what the people of Marengo want for their community.

In favor of spending on infrastructure in order to attract economic investments to the Marengo area.

In favor of the Route 23 I90, interchange and organizing committees on the County Board to spur economic development in Marengo so more taxpayers will come into the area and help to support spending needs for the County.

Another views of the Marengo Chamber of Commerce event.

Another views of the Marengo Chamber of Commerce event.

Preston said that at this time there is “No Way” that townships can be consolidated. Preston mentioned this position approximately six times during the discussions.

Preston is absolutely baffled by the lack of action being taken by the State of Illinois EPA over the Marengo contamination problem pointing out that the more water is pumped the larger the plum of contamination is spread.

He does think that the County Board should reduce by half-so areas only had one representative on the board. He did not elaborate as to why or what benefits the people would have from this reduction.

The strengths that Preston brings to the position are; He speaks his mind has the experience, team player, and can reduce his perceived existing acrimony in the board and he can pull people together.

Jim Kearns

Jim Kearns

James Kearns is a Townships Supervisor of Grafton Township since 2013 and claims to have reduced the offices fiscal debt. From negative $500,000. To a surplus of $700,000.

He is a successful business owner of a Pet food company and has a degree in Agriculture.

James acknowledged 10 times through out the meeting that the Township could not be consolidated.

James believes strongly that the County should be simplified and should not have say so over what type of business people have on their property. He sighted the storm water issue and how long it takes to get a permit from McHenry soil and water. He feels these County requirements are not necessary (the storm water permit requirements are a safe guard against other people’s adjacent property being negatively impacted by floods, poisons, contamination or other issues). James feels the UDO goes far too far in regulations.

James feels the Rt. 23 interchange is a requirement for Marengo’s future growth or Marengo will fly away much like Harvard. Just turn to dust.

James is in favor of anything that can spur economic growth. Block grants Economic expansion units, T.I.F’s and studies. In addition, reduced oversight of the Planning & Development departments of McHenry County and reduction of enforcement of the UDO’s.

Ersel Schuster

Ersel Schuster

Ersel Schuster is a successful businesswoman M.B.A. Accounting. Owning several businesses has been on the County Board before and has served on every committee so she has deep understanding of the history of the McHenry County Board. Ersel has been a champion for the Marengo people effected by the ground water issue and has been devoting her own time, attention and resources to fighting for a solution on their behalf. She rolls up her sleeves, to always be available and believes her role on the County Board is to be an advocate for the taxpayer.

Ersel points out that the first step in attacking business to the community is a healthy business environment, low tax’s, supportive Government departments and services. If we have, a healthy County business will be attracted to move here. She points out that careful consideration must be done by the County to encourage new business to develop close to the municipalities because the infrastructure is already in place to support new business. This is critical to keeping tax’s low for the taxpayer and avoiding costly T.I.F. districts.

Ersel referred to a study done in September that she presented to the board that has listed several areas where savings and restructuring can offer potential savings to the taxpayer. These suggestions include plans on areas of savings and implementation.

The seats at the Marengo High School Auditorium were not filled.

The seats at the Marengo High School Auditorium were not filled.

The County Board should be diligent in enforcing the UDO’s and following important zoning requirements in order to handle growth and avoid boondoggles like the Motorola plant being built far outside of the municipalities infrastructure and costing the tax payer unnecessary expense. In addition, the people should have input on the growth in rural areas.

The people of Marengo should have a say so on the RT. 23 Interchange expansion. The residents may not want it and this should be considered.

Ersel pointed out that if the County Board is reduced then additional staff will be required to support the small board team along with private offices and perhaps additional costs of Car allowances or other benefits etc. These additional supports will far outweigh any potential savings.

Since she has experience on the Board Ersel can hit the ground running if re-elected to the board. She has her eyes set on savings and how to implement some of her plans on behalf of the taxpayer. She says she is there to get results not go along simply to go along.

Ersel feels that it is up to the Taxpayer to decide on Township consolidation although she feels smaller Government is typically more efficient and effective. She has experience reducing Township expenses and improving services to the community.

Kelley Liebmann

Kelley Liebmann

Kelly Liebmann is a successful Logistics expert with a great deal of administrative and project management experience. Driving complex large high value projects where every dollar is critical to the overall success of the project. Kelly’s ability to research subject material and sort through to the critical success factors could add value to many of the McHenry County board committee’s process.

Kelly is not in favor of the Rt. 23 Interchange because she feels the costs do not translate to viable business as shown by the type of business opened up around the route 20 Interchange. The potential (2) two T.I.F. projects being proposed will be costing the Marengo taxpayers a great deal of additional tax burden and all tax payers need to be aware of this. As we know, T.I.F districts only benefit the builders and investors involved. Study after study has proven this repeatedly. Most taxpayer’s have little knowledge of the burden placed on them regarding T.I.F’s.

Kelly pointed out that studies also show that Economic committees have a notorious habit of creating corruption from nepotism, favors, and tax increments to the taxpayer, bonded debt; eminent domain land grabs even bribes. Any Economic development committees must be closely monitored to ensure the best possible interest of the taxpayer and voter is being represented.

Kelly is not in favor of Block Grants because studies show this is another burden to the taxpayer. What appears, as free money is indeed a debt to the taxpayer? Kelly quoted a Lake Forest study as confirmation.

Clearly, Kelly has a great understanding of taxing increments being placed on the back of Marengo and McHenry County taxpayers. Quoting several examples of respected studies confirming her position.

As to Township Consolidations Kelly, feels we have far greater tax issues to address than the Township issue. Kelly is not in favor of reducing taxpayer representation on the County Board and is concerned that too few people have too much power and not enough check’s and balances.

Kelly spoke passionately about people her age not being able to afford a mortgage and the tax’s in McHenry County. Many of her friends and family have relocated elsewhere out of state due to these taxes’ and lack of employment opportunities in Illinois. The tide must be shifted. The tax increases stopped.

She can connect with the younger generation in McHenry and understand their concerns and issues. She will bring a representation of millennial’s to the County Board if elected.


Marengo District 6 County Board Forum — 21 Comments

  1. I went to this forum to decide who to vote for, instead I had to hear Kearns use this forum to publicly criticize a candidate for another office. What a loser!!

  2. Schuster and Liebmann!

    Did the IMRF dude and the State Rep (and his phony opponent) show up to see if the board members tried to clock in toward their 1000 hour pension enabling work requirement?

    Or is the State Rep going to do his own job and work on the Illinois budget before we go a whole year without one this July?

  3. Schuster and Liebmann shined like stars in the night having a grasp on the problems and offering SOLUTIONS.

    The other 3 are just more of what we have now, go along to get along, don’t rock the boat,

    “Yes, Mr. Chairman, I’ll kneel and kiss your ….hand.”

  4. Kearns was clearly the strongest proponent of less government, he has my vote!

  5. Kearns is clearly pro township, that makes him pro-government.

    He ran for Supervisor as an independent, now he is a Republican?

    Lets put someone in who is a true Republican, not a RINO!

  6. How pitiful to see more people on the stage than in the audience and hear the pitiful comments from these pitiful township officials (current and former) to protect their pitiful little township kingdoms.

    There’s a special type of repugnance cultivated in township officials.

    Very sad that these are the only choices available to the voters of district 6.


  7. What I really cannot understand is how people extol all of their success with their own business but then also are Township Supervisors..

    I guess its the life long pension they are after because if your own business is so great why the Supervisor job?

  8. Kearns and Rea just are running for the County Board to make sure the Townships are not combined or eliminated.

    That can not be more evident when they are saying 4-6 times to not consolidate Townships!

    They just have an agenda!!

  9. Kearns and Rea both said they agreed with each other several times throughout the forum.

    Very disturbing alliance.

  10. Preston said that at this time there is “No Way” that townships can be consolidated.

    Key word are AT THIS TIME.

    Preston like everybody else that supports township gov need to see a plan, state law changes, numbers and facts that prove consolidation/elimination is financially viable.

    AT THIS TIME, there is no plan.

    With a good plan in hand, no politician would be able to deny the facts of reducing taxes and get elected.

  11. SCHUSTER is a good woman.

    I don’t always agree with her but she sure has taken a lot of hits.

    She’s experienced and she has the citizens best interest at heart.

    Liebmann is smaller govt.!

    McCANN has to be voted out.

    Her absenteeism and disinterest in the taxpayer is disturbing.

    She hands the phone to her husband when constituents call.

    Who does that!

    She “didn’t think the taxpayer would notice” Valley Hi tax levies.

    KEARNS is a big govt guy because he’s in township supervisory position now.

    He will talk against ANY KIND of consolidation because he is either got an agenda, OR doesn’t understand that some people have a good plan for consolidation. (unlike the fiasco of Schofield’s FAILED presentation for township consolidation)

    He’s a loser.

    REA gave me the impression he couldn’t wait to get his hands on Valley Hi funds to spend as HE saw fit, but that’s not going to happen.

    SCHUSTER & LEIBMANN are the only one’s I’d vote for even if they didn’t run on a slate!

  12. Oh yeah and if you’re talking about the fact that Kearns spoke out against Tirio for Recorder and his plan to Consolidate the Recorder’s and Clerks offices, you can add to my review on Kearns that he’s ignorant and chicken sh!t and self serving.

    All the status quo candidates are running scared of Tirio for fear that other Govt. fat will be exposed and possibly eliminated

    Loser doesn’t begin to describe Kearns speaking out against Tirio and his plan because Kearns wants to become the next Miller family, hiring his deadbeat family members and friends building a personal empire while sucking everything they can from the taxpayers.


  13. C Mueller, some people have a good plan for consolidation.

    Where can I view that plan?

    (unlike the fiasco of Schofield’s FAILED presentation for township consolidation)

    Schofield was not the presenter of township consolidation, she was the chair of a temp committee looking into what was presented by others, a poor presentation with few facts and numbers.

    If there is a revised plan, I’d like to see it, have a link or something else?

  14. Woodstock Il 4.6% property tax rate.

    (By comparison: National average property tax rate is 1.4%. Indiana is capped at 1%).

    4.6% property tax rate on a median value home requires over 12% of median household income to pay.

    That is more than 8% higher than national average!!!

    (According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household pays 3.6% of household income in property taxes. Compare that to 12%+ in Woodstock).

    That means, to live in this Economic Black Hole (where good money gets sucked in to die), households have to give up on personal retirement savings, savings for children’s college, and discretionary spending such as pets and birthday gifts.

    (See BLS household expenditure surveys for a real eye-opener. It will make you want to vomit when you realize how much extra money has been drained from Woodstock households over the past 8 years).

    Without new, intellectually honest individuals in power we are unable to survive this strip mining of the scant remaining asset value of our once-healthy community.

  15. In my opinion Schuster and Leibmann stole the show..

    Their in depth knowledge of important could not be denied or dismissed.

  16. Which of these candidates signed the township highway commissioner’s pledge shown in the nwh today to not participate in any change to the township status quo?

    Anybody know?

  17. dogsforlife, the pledge was like a the Newt’s Contract with America, a where do you stand deal.

    I’m not sure of who signed or not, but all five returned the questionnaires, like most running for the county board, which was really the important part of the deal.

    Rea and Kearns got the township endorsement which shouldn’t be a big surprise given their present elected positions.

    Both like Joe G. said they would give up their other elected position if elected to the county board or chair position.

    Unlike Mike W. who wants to keep the power of both positions if he wins both.
    MO, no one should hold two elected positions by state law.

    Mike Tryon’s bill should solve that problem, to bad it wasn’t introduced sooner.

    We will not miss Mike, for sure.

  18. We citizens were lucky when Ersel was voted out.

    This woman is nearly 80 years old and every year that goes by she gets more and more out of touch.

    The point she made about reducing the number of board members actually increasing costs made no sense what so ever.

    Just like we should have a too old to drive law, we should have a too old to run for public office law!

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