Mary McCann





Bachelor's Degree, Chemistry, Barat College

Master's Degree, Education and Chemistry, University of Chicago

Owner of McCann Berry Farm, Retired Self Employed Professional Project Manager, former Chemistry teacher

Married, Bob

On the Record

Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?

I am running to represent the residents and business of District 6, who deserve balanced representation that addresses the issues and ideals of rural McHenry County. The diverse demographics of District 6 needs representation by someone who, can separate ‘needs’ from the ‘wants’ in spending, who has a working knowledge of region-wide issues such as flooding, stormwater, agribusiness and community issues; who advocates for commonsense regulations, and who works well with other Board members to address issues and concerns of businesses and residents in the District. I bring to the Board 28 years of local agribusiness experience, a technical background, and organizational development experience. My technical background and ability to work with technical information, especially on the emerging environmental issues affecting the county, is unique among current board members. This is particularly valuable since District 6 has so many sensitive areas and a very vulnerable watershed. I currently am the only board member who has a connection to the agricultural community.

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 referendum is for an Executive form of Government, which is a great deal broader than electing a Board Chairman. A vote for Executive Governance is a vote for a well-financed politician to run the county. Such an election will pave the way for special interest influences. A Countywide election would allow the most populated areas to elect the Executive, who will oversee the unincorporated areas. District 6 includes 75% of the unincorporated areas. An elected Executive is not a member of the Board. The Board will elect a chairman to work with the County Executive. Looking long term, and recognizing the resources D6 has, an elected Executive will not likely be sympathetic to the unique resources and valuable rural character of the County.

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.

The County, as part of its membership in McHenry County Council of Governments and its partners, has a lobbyist in Springfield to track legislation, and to present a consensus position when elected officials are not available to communicate directly with legislators. It is important that local units of government be vigilant of Springfield activities, as recently indicated by discussions in the State Legislature to transfer state pension responsibilities to local property taxes.

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 will work to hold the line on expenses and to improve organizational efficiencies to provide the necessary level of services without increasing county taxes. Over the last several years, I have worked to improve efficiencies and advocated for such projects as an integrated permitting system which will greatly improves inter-department communication and tracking, and reduces the amount of paper tracking, thereby, improving service delivery and public communication while reducing operational costs.

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?

There are a number of County Board members who refuse to recognize alternatives to large grain farms or subdivision in the unincorporated areas. This is a confusing position since other businesses, appropriately sited on ag lands, create jobs and bring in tax revenues to supplement property taxes. These businesses also pay enhanced property taxes. I will continue to advocate for businesses that enhance farm experiences, and compliment the rural community. Additionally, I will continue to advocate for updating the stormwater ordinance and address conflicts and requirements within the public health code.

Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?

Property Taxes are the biggest issue for voters. Citizens and elected officials must look for solutions that make it affordable for seniors to stay in their homes. Inherent in this issue is the lack of correct information about county taxes and the Illinois tax system. County government can’t fix the system, but they can lobby for the changes taxpayers are asking for. I will do my best to see that citizens are better educated on how the Illinois tax system works, and why the philosophy of local control leads to high property taxes. I will encourage citizens to make concrete suggestions to state legislators to design a more sustainable tax system for Illinois.