It is often said that if you do not know, or understand history... you are doomed to repeat it.
That is not a pleasant concept as we watch our great country spinning out of control over a battle between those ”wanting,” and those “producing.” Those “wanting” seem to be winning this battle as we watch our TAX obligations continue to grow!
Over the years I have held elected positions where, more often than not, I have witnessed “public servants,” deliberately intent on growing McHenry County Government. While some honestly believed they were acting in the best interests of their constituent’s… most were ensuring a voting constituency to perpetuate their future elections.
Their tool is taxation… OUR money!
It is important that those I ask to support my candidacy for the McHenry County Board know where I stand on issues facing our county. While the following issues are but a few of those concerns, they give you a window into my knowledge, beliefs, and thought process.
Remember one thing, I have always been, and will always be, available and welcoming of your thoughts, suggestions and disagreements over any issues. Only through spirited discussion can we win the battle and preserve the county and country we love. Contact me at email@example.com or by telephone at 815-338-2207.
With that in mind; I, along with input from folks across the county, agreed that “revenue” (more tax dollars) was not the problem. Simply put, most know that problem is spending.
Following those discussions, I drafted, “A Document Proposing Cost Reductions for McHenry County Government.” The document was presented to the board chairman at the Sept. 15, 2015 County Board Meeting.
This document outlines 7 examples where county officials could find and reduce the costs of county government by millions of dollars. The document is intended as a starting point to engage and delve into reducing services and programs.
Often these services and programs are duplicate services being provided by private business or other agencies. Not only are they already being provided, they are services aspiring entrepreneur could, and should, be providing. Also suggested was the elimination of targeted services and programs.
I ask that you read all, or parts of the document. The comments and suggetions are as important today as they were when it was laid on the county board chairman’s desk.
To date, your county board has ignored the possibilities presented.
Nov. 2017 we heard huge kudos from the chairman and county board for surpassing the original "Cut 10" reductions and claiming to have lowered the "levy by 11.2%."
On this website, on the page "T to T Newsletters," you can read a "T to T cut 10" Newsletter outlining the smoke n' mirrors used by the board to claim that they actually cut the levy by 11.2%.
This is such a classic example of our real problems and why you need to become involved. Make your opinions known to those who have the power to continue raising your taxes.
You will have another bite at the political apple come 3/20/18. Push your candidates running for this and every elected office; do not let them skate with platitudes and bullet points in their campaign material and discussions. Make them accountable to you and every taxpayer in McHenry County.
While McHenry County has wrestled with this problem, they have yet to bring other government offices, and associations representing those offices, to join together and fight back against mandates.
Most pushback, and reluctance to do anything about the problem, comes from government officials themselves. Many use mandates as a means of beginning new programs under the guise of “being told they have to do it.” It gives public officials and bureaucrats cover for growing government then demanding you and I fund it!
Until the public stands up to their elected officials to stop these mandates, things will remain as is and our taxes will continue to grow beyond our ability to pay for them.
Grants are tax dollars, taken by government then doled out in chunks to those with “connections” or to those who can write the best grant applications. Your elected officials hire “grant writing experts” to ensure they find and collect every cent they can lay their hands on.
In the late 1990’s, McHenry County began accepting Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars. At some point over the years, the federal government slipped into the fine print of the CDBG regulations a clause requiring the county to add a “Community Development Division (CDD).” When the issue was “discovered,” the county board was told that if they decided not to add this new division, they would be required to return over 3 million dollars in grant funds already received and spent by county government. Like good soldiers, they complied and another department was added.
Since 2008, through federal MANDATE, McHenry County has been in the housing business. This means… your county has been in the business of buying, rehabbing, renting, selling and “monitoring” private properties. Many see this as direct competition to private builders and developers; and we pay for it.
Fast forward to 2015; once again, the federal government has changed the rules for all the grants being accepted through the Community Development Division (CDD) of the county. This new mandate requires counties, through zoning laws, to “build affordable housing.” Not only is the federal government mandating counties to build these housing units, it says that ALL LOCAL taxpayers, in addition to any grants received; you and I, the TAXPAYERS of McHenry County, will pay for these developments as well as future management and upkeep of the properties.
A township (Westchester) in New York state has been taken to federal court for refusing to accept this new mandate. Last I heard, the case is on-going.
While not a popular thing to say, it should be known that even elected officials from our district (Dist. 6-western McHenry County) were instrumental in furthering these efforts. As approved, the UDO allows nearly anything to be done on agricultural property. Losers are the communities, neighbors and all taxpayers as we deal with the unintended consequences of these actions. Adding insult to injury… we are told to “live-with-it!"
A zoning ordinance is, by definition, intended to protect the health, safety and welfare of the residents. Personal interests and profit were the driving force behind this current UDO (Zoning Ordinance).
I make that statement including your elected county board members, and unfortunately, many who have announced their candidacy for office. To these folks, it is a bother to listen to taxpayers. The attitude is that we are dumb and could not possibly understand the issues.
The Randall Road Corridor (highway expansion) is a classic example. There are so many flaws in these plans it is hard to know where to start in explaining them. In fact, I will refer you to a gentleman, Stephen Wilson, a “taxpayer” who has done a fantastic job researching and addressing this subject. Check out the archives on the McHenry County Blog for some of Mr. Wilson’s work.
It is something you need to understand and voice your concerns over. Two or three years ago it was suggested the project would cost in excess of $115,000,000 in taxes. Everything being proposed for the project is based on grossly unrealistic population projections. Fact is that the population numbers have gone down; and further, with the current “population exodus” from Illinois, there is a serious question over whether there will be any new growth to project for years.
All these years, and millions of dollars already spent for a project that when completed, would save 90 SECONDS in time for the west bound turn lane at Randall and Algonquin roads. This interchange is the underlying goal of the entire project!
It is our responsibility as voters to question these folks and to figure out what they really know; what hands on experience they have; and what they can, and will do once elected.
Paid for by Ersel C. Schuster, Candidate