High School, Maine West High School
Associate's Degree, Electronics / Computer Technology, DeVry University
Government Affairs Director, World Trade Center Chicago Illinois
Married, Bridgett Provenzano
On the Record
Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?
I’m running for the McHenry County Board for one reason: to be the public’s watchdog. Too many in government have forgotten that it’s the public’s money we’re spending, but it’s the only thing on my mind as I make decisions that affect the lives of McHenry County residents. I will continue to work to reduce the scope and reach of government to get it out of the way so our families and businesses can thrive. I have over 25 years of business experience, and I will continue to use that experience to support McHenry County small businesses in order to encourage expansion and create jobs for our talented residents. I have 30 years of government and political experience, and was recently re-elected to the Board where I serve as Chairman of the Law & Justice Committee as well as a member of committees on Transportation, Legislative & Government Affairs, Building Projects, Disaster Planning, Local Emergency Planning, the Stormwater Commission, and the Child Advocacy Center. Finally, I have strong relationships with our State and Federal officials which I will continue to use to ensure our county receives our fair share of funding in order to improve our transportation infrastructure.
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?
Unfortunately the executive form of government referendum is nothing more than a political power grab conveniently disguised as reform. Currently the operations of the County are conducted by a professional hired by the Board of individuals elected by their fellow members of the community to make such decisions on their behalf. Should we move to an executive form of government, the day-to-day operations of McHenry County government would be run by a politician rather than an educated and experienced administrator. In addition, making such a move would place too much control in the hands of one person and strip power from the people’s duly elected representatives.
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.
No, I do not support spending taxpayer money to lobby against reforms of the property tax laws. We must protect property taxpayers from excessive government spending and taxing whether property values are increasing or decreasing. The PTELL legislation is outdated and needs immediate review and I will work with our State Representatives to develop protections for when property values are rising AND falling. The only sure way to keep taxes low or to cut taxes is to elect conservative candidates that will pledge to cut the size and cost of government.
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.
Absolutely. I led the fight to reduce the size, scope and cost of County government. That’s why I fought and voted against the County tax levy increase, the 2012 budget, and pay raises for elected officials and employees. In developing this year’s budget, I pushed for a revamped budget development process resulting in a much earlier start date and a series of budget workshops. Pressure generated by these moves and the efforts of some of my fellow Board Members has encouraged staff to develop a budget with no increase in the levy. We are now working towards developing a strategic review of the scope and services of county government with the goal to reduce or re-prioritize our expenditures to cut the cost of government. I promise to ensure we hold the line on spending because I believe the best government is the smallest, most efficient that lives within its means and isn’t burdensome to families and businesses. Those we serve have had to tighten their belts, and with revenues down the county must do the same. We have the unique responsibility of being as efficient, effective, and affordable as possible because we’re not spending our money—we’re spending the public’s.
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?
The county is fairly business friendly, but we must always strive to improve. Specifically as it pertains to the winery business, the concern resulted from the requested concessions to obtain a liquor license which was unprecedented in McHenry County as it relates to allowing liquor consumption outside traditionally zoned areas. To ensure this is not an issue in the future and we continue to become more welcoming to businesses, I am in the process of reviewing the new Unified Development Ordinance to ensure changes made do not hinder the development of business. Putting my 25+ years of business experience to use, I will continue to examine every tax, fee, and regulation imposed by our county government in order to reduce government interference and burdensome red tape so that we can foster a conducive environment for businesses to prosper and create jobs. I will continue to support the county’s revolving loan fund, which provides low-interest capital for business expansion. Most importantly, I will continue to work with local economic development organizations to help McHenry County manufacturers expand their sales base by finding new markets overseas, which I believe to be the quickest path to business expansion and job creation.
Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?
We must improve our transportation infrastructure in McHenry County, addressing both capacity and maintenance issues, as this has an impact on both quality of life and economic development. Too much time is wasted sitting in traffic, and this hurts area businesses and inconveniences our residents. I will continue to utilize my intergovernmental relationships to ensure McHenry County receives its fair share of capital investment from the Federal and State Governments in order to complete high-priority projects like the Algonquin Bypass, the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge, and a full interchange for Route 47 at I-90. I will also continue working with leaders in our adjacent counties to ensure regional solutions work for McHenry County residents. As a member of the Transportation Committee, I will continue to evaluate road construction projects to ensure money is being spent efficiently while working with residents to ensure the road work causes as little of an imposition as possible. Finally, I will continue to support our new network of public transportation options for the handicapped and seniors to ensure McHenry County services and businesses are accessible to all.
Provenzano's Current Race
Kathleen Bergan Schmidt