On the Record
Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?
I am running for McHenry County Board to continue to serve the constituents of District 6. There is a very clear need on the part of voters to have elected officials who will work on their behalf to return integrity and credibility to all levels of government and take seriously the concept of “public service”. Careers in business administration and sales have taught me the value of listening to people to hear and understand their perspectives on issues and recognize their concerns relative to their personal and financial well-being. I continue to be self-funding in my campaigns and do not seek or accept campaign contributions. I feel it allows me to represent the people of District 6 without any perception of special consideration expected or given to contributors.
The County Board has resisted calls to make its chairmanship popularly elected. Now, a referendum has been placed on the November ballot that seeks to change the county to an executive form of government. What do you think about the referendum and the board’s resistance to allow voters decide whether they want to elect the board chairman at the ballot box?
The issue of the ballot referendum is a prime example of political gamesmanship using both the citizenry and media as pawns. Voters with whom I’ve discussed this issue overwhelmingly prefer to have board members choose their chairman from amongst the membership; their rationale being that board members are in the best position to choose who will do the best job in that position, giving the full board the ability to perform as a very cohesive unit, taking both talents and personalities into account. Too often governmental units are accused (and rightfully so in many instances) of trying to fix what is not broken. Our County government is working very well when judged on the basis of smooth operation and financial strength. This is not to say that we don’t have a great many areas where operations can be improved, but the method of selection of the chairman is not necessarily the solution in those instances.
Do you support county government using taxpayer money to lobby against state legislation that would have protected property taxpayers from tax increases in years when property values declined? Explain your answer.
I am opposed to the County government hiring lobbyists to influence members of other arms of government, or anyone else for that matter. As a community, we vote to elect Representatives to bring our concerns to the State and Federal governmental levels; those Representatives are both eager and capable of promoting and protecting our local interests.
The County Board is working this year to not collect the inflationary tax levy increase allowed under state law. Will you agree to support a freeze to the county’s levy again next year? Explain.
I have consistently refused to support increasing the tax levy and will continue to do so. I will vote to support only a freeze or reduction in the levy. High unemployment/under-employment rates combined with incredibly high gasoline prices and the increase in grocery prices make it unthinkable to burden the taxpayers with higher taxes of any kind.
Given the obstacles a local couple have had with turning their vineyard into a winery, how business friendly would you say the County Board and county ordinances are? What changes would you seek if elected?
I would say that overall, the County Board is very business friendly, as are County ordinances. The issue with the local couple to whom you refer is that we need a more solid understanding of what will be construed as an “agricultural pursuit” and what is an “entertainment” venue. Approaching the Board for special liquor licensing for a winery -- anticipating that no portion of their final product must be grown here -- and that this “agricultural pursuit” is also intended to host weddings, banquets, parties, and who knows what else, plus a bottling facility on a Township road to handle 50,000 gallons of their fermented product (that’s 250,000 bottles) hardly conjures serious thoughts of farming and agriculture. Promotion of this type of entertainment venue as agricultural in nature appears disingenuous to me, and does not reflect the true nature of our hard working farming families. Bottling plants of this type, in my opinion, should be placed in industrial parks located within municipalities equipped with sewer and water facilities to accommodate water for sanitation of bottles and equipment and disposal of gray water after the bottling process, labeling and cleanup have been completed.
Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?
While the job market and slumping economy are of great concern to all of us, we’re also faced with continuing drought conditions which heavily impact our farming community. Additionally, many people throughout the county are very much concerned about the increase in their property taxes while the actual value of that same property continues to go down. While many of our taxpayers see their income declining, it’s very frustrating for them to see the government demand for their dollars continue to rise. Continued and on-going dialogue is helpful, but encouraging them to get involved in the tax appeal process for their own benefit also helps them gain a better understanding of the how and why of the ever-increasing demand for their money. I continue to urge voters to make contact with candidates to determine how those candidates will vote on tax issues, and use that information when they go to the election polls.
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John Jung Jr.