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Andrew Gasser

Demographics

Republican

Fox River Grove, IL

Bachelors Degree, Criminology, St. Leo University

US Air Force Officer, Retired

Not available,

Noah, 10

Austin, 16

Andrew, 18

On The Record

Why are you running for County Board?

I want to be a voice for my neighbors and the people in McHenry County and speak out on their behalf. It is very important that we listen to the people who elect us and act in their best interests. We must have the courage to stand up to political pressures and legislate with integrity, honestly, and in the open. My professional experience in the military as a Captain and my lifetime of relationships in McHenry County has prepared me well to have both the job skills and the heart and soul to work hard in addressing the issues and concerns of McHenry County.

What is your top priority if you are elected?

Transparency in McHenry County needs to be improved. While I believe county staff does a good job following the open meetings act and responds quickly to FOIA requests, our County Board needs to push forward for more progress. Specifically, our county checkbook is not online while other counties have made it a priority and now have their checkbooks online. Also, the two County Board actions taken on transparency regarding the release of the Nunda Township Audit and the release of County Board Member expense reports to the Finance and Audit Committee are basic actions to be supported in the pursuit of open, honest government. My opponent voted against them. I would have voted for them. The public has a right to see what their tax dollars are being spent on.

What is your position on shrinking the County Board's size?

I believe that smaller government offers significant advantages that extend beyond any monetary savings that may occur. Specifically, reducing the board to 18 members into single member districts would provide a good ratio of member to district population coverage, and in a single district there would be a level of accountability to the voters that is lacking in the current 4 members per district configuration. In addition I would support half the members being up for election every two years on a rotating basis in order to provide stability to the board governance.

Do you favor reducing the levy of Valley Hi Nursing Home and spending down its cash reserve? Why or why not?

Historically I understand that Valley Hi had significant spending deficits that cost tax payers millions in the 1990s. Now it appears that new management has turned around the deficit spending, so the tax levy has been reduced, and a sizable cash reserve has accrued. Going forward - Valley Hi expense requirements should be in sync with cash reserves so they keep Valley Hi solvent and sustainable in order to ensure Valley Hi is here in the years to come to provide a safety net for our vulnerable elderly population. This will involve responsibly spending down of the cash reserves and reducing the levy so there are funds available to maintain fiscal stability for Valley Hi.

Do you believe county government should continue to keep its tax levy frozen? Why or why not? And if not, what expenses would you cut to ease the burden on taxpayers?

As a County Board Member I will work with other board members to reduce taxes in a balanced, fiscally responsible manner by ensuring that government funding can sustain the day to day operations needed to serve our citizens. Because McHenry County has one of the highest tax rates in the country (27th in the United States) I will work diligently so taxes are reduced. That requires that expenses be cut accordingly, all services are looked at to ensure they are required, and that we are updating our “best practices” and technology to provide they taxpayer with value. Under no circumstance would I allow a measure that would threaten the solvency of county government putting ourselves in a position where deficit spending occurs.

What does county government do that it should not be in the business of doing?

The McHenry County Transportation Department (McDOT) likes to spend millions of dollars for many questionable projects that have cost the taxpayers millions of dollars, and millions more to follow. For example, since 2006 millions of dollars have been spent on various design proposals for Randall Road. Now an additional $15 million has been allocated for yet another design. McDOT also attempted to purchase and renovate a warehouse for $5 million in July in order to build a regional’s salt distribution center based on flimsy justification and no written buy-in from any of the local governments that supposedly would be served. McDOT’s history with these projects and other’s like Alden Road and Fleming Road, which focus on “bigger is better”, is in need of serious oversight.

What can the County Board do to make the county more attractive to employers?

The County Board needs to recognize that business people are always attracted to regions where there is trained labor, low taxes, and good infrastructure. Based on the experiences from friends, family, and successful business owners, I think that the County’s workforce retraining programs is very strong. I would support continuing programs that have success we can measure. In order to develop lower taxes I will push County Government to cut expenses, reduce waste, and eliminate expensive and inefficient programs One example is the ICE jail bed program that costs McHenry tax payers millions annually. Finally, I will work with County, other government agencies, and the private sector to promote “public private partnerships” to build profitable businesses and business infrastructure in McHenry County.

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