Bachelors Degree, , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Juris Doctor, , American University
Married, Christine M Gottemoller
On The Record
What role can the County Board have in talking to other local governments, especially school districts, about holding the line on property taxes?
The best the county can do is continue to set an example for the schools to follow. The County has not raised rates to keep up with the cost of living for the past three years and even reduced the levy this year. If the schools followed suit we would not have a district with 100% of its annual school funding in reserve. The long term we can only reduce the taxes by cutting government or expanding the base. The county is cutting but we need to do more to expand the base. We often discuss at the McHenry County Council of Government and with other officials about the need for holding the line on taxes and growing the base. It is one of the things we must continue to do in order to keep McHenry county a great place to live.
What are your priorities for the next four years if elected to the chairmanship?
The number one priority is to reduce taxes by increasing the economy with job growth. I will continue to pursue job creation through the following programs: Comprehensive Economic Development Study we can move forward with the goals and objectives in this plan. Enterprise zone creation. We have received approval of our first enterprise zone to encourage job growth within and between the towns of Harvard and Woodstock. Collaboration and the Fiber network. Installation is ongoing and we can develop public private partnerships for access to high speed fiber network that is ten times faster than anything in McHenry County. Economic Development incentives. Just last week we began the process of standardizing economic incentives so that when a town like McHenry asks for help so one of their employers could create more jobs we can do it. Strengthening regional alliances with neighboring counties to bring jobs in agriculture, healthcare, transportation, metals and other cluster industries to the area. Improving our transportation corridors so that industry and agriculture can get their products to market.
The County Board has talked for years about working to make McHenry County more friendly to business. While many of the hurdles that businesses face come from Springfield, what more can the county do?
Although we do not control the state issues, we can and are doing some great things at the county. Under my leadership during the past year we streamlined building permits and trimmed a full 6 weeks off of the permit application process. We are developing an economic incentive program to encourage new companies to locate here and have existing companies expand here. We are working on our transportation network and have improved many of the secondary roads by removing bottlenecks to make getting products to market easier for the local businesses. We have been working with the Economic Development Commission and the work force network to encourage training programs for needed job skills trqaining at McHenry County College. All of these efforts are intended to encourage future employers to come to McHenry County.
With land acquisition set to begin later this year, where do you stand on the proposed widening of Randall Road?
I am in favor of improving the traffic congestion at Randall and Algonquin. Being the most populated county in the United States without direct access to the interstate system means our secondary roads are vital to our economy. The Randall Road and Algonquin Intersection is the most congested in the county. It still operates with only a single lane left hand turn lane. The congestion is so bad that many drivers use other alternatives such as rte 31 or 47 to avoid traveling on it. It has taken several years to find a proposal that meets both the needs of the Municipalities and the retail outlets in the area. After much debate all of the groups agreed to the existing proposal. The land acquisition is underway and will take some time to complete. No matter how long it takes we still need to improve the overcrowded intersection.
What are your thoughts on the future of Valley Hi Nursing Home? Should it continue to be county operated? Should it continue to collect a property tax levy? Why or why not?
Valley High Nursing home was approved by a referendum of McHenry County Voters to provide care for our seniors who have no other resources. Out of 125 beds, some 100 are currently used by Medicaid patients. Prior to 2010 Valley Hi was operating at a loss. However, in 2010, the county created a new management team and board to overview the facility. They have done such a great job they are now operating with a multi-million dollar surplus. We need to funnel that surplus back to the taxpayers of McHenry County. We have asked our legislators to propose legislation allowing this to happen. If it fails in Springfield, I will bring a referendum before the County Board to use the reserve before levying any more taxes.
What is your position on the proposed full interchange at I-90 and Route 23 in Marengo? Would it be a true economic engine or will Route 23 end up like Randall Road?
Building the Intersection of Interstate 90 and State Rte. 23 is the only opportunity for direct access to the interstate in McHenry County. The Illinois Department of Transportation is scheduled to rebuild the Rte. 23 overpass in 2018 and the only thing missing are the on and off ramps we need for access. We have partnered with the town of Marengo to do the first phase of engineering. We should have cost estimates and land acquisition estimates by late spring. Whether we can build them is a question of finance. I will continue to pursue partnerships with other governmental entities to share the future cost of construction. As far as an economic engine, the County’s 2030 plan and the Marengo Comprehensive plan both call for the property to be developed with industry and manufacturing uses, NOT homes. Randall road became a traffic jam because it is the main artery to several thousand households in that area of McHenry County. We can avoid that problem by not building factories not homes. This intersection is 20 minutes from the Rockford airport and 40 minutes from Ohare Airport. It promises to be a great location for the manufacturing of high value small items.
What can be done to achieve meaningful government consolidation? What specifically can be done in McHenry County?
At the county we have been taking the approach of sharing government services as a means of consolidation. There are over 112 different services that we share with other government entities or the private sector. These services range from bringing in meals to the inmates in McHenry County Jail to using private entities to clean the catch basins on the streets. These services can be done at much less expense and lesson the burden of government on taxpayers. As for meaningful consolidation you will find that much of the problem lies with the creation of certain districts at the state legislature. For instance, the Crystal Lake Rural fire protection district raises tax money each year then signs a contract with the Crystal Lake Municipal fire district to provide service. If you wanted to consolidate these services, it would take Springfield to rewrite the state statute. As for township consolidation, I voted against the referendum because it was based on misleading the public. Under the current statute it is guaranteed to raise taxes not lower them. I cannot in good conscious support tax payers paying more money to townships just so we can say we have fewer of them.
How would you differentiate yourself from your opponent?
My position is that we must lower taxes for our citizens and to do so we have to grow the economy in McHenry County. That means we need to promote primary jobs. In order to bring those jobs to the County, I have spent the past few years rewriting the Unified Development Ordnance, promoting the Comprehensive Economic Development Study, and collaborating with the neighboring counties from Will to Ogle to promote common interest job growth. Finally, I support the development and expansion of our secondary roads to enable the factories and farms in McHenry County to get their products to market. All of these programs will make it possible for private industry to grow and increase the tax base for McHenry County. This is the only way to reduce taxes over the long term. If elected I will continue to pursue economic development for McHenry County. In the meantime, my opponent is opposed to any and all road expansion and in his previous position on the Park board voted tax to the max each year.