John Jung Jr.
President and owner, ShurPak Inc.
On the Record
Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?
My experience as a business owner provides me with a strong understanding of the importance of sound fiscal policies and responsibility. It has also taught me to make tough decisions – decisions that are based on the long-term result not the immediacy of short term success. As Chairman of the County’s Human Resource Committee, it was my ability to make these types of decisions that resulted in the institution of policies and procedures that strengthened the county’s fiscal position and improved employee morale and productivity. My ability to make these hard decisions brought me the support and respect of my constituents and elected officials even when they have not always agreed with the decision. My reputation for honesty and integrity is evidenced through my efforts on the County Board. I firmly believe in service and doing what is right even when it is not politically popular or expedient.
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?
I think that a county executive form of government gives too much authority to one individual. The executive has the power to veto any and all legislation passed by the county board. This form of county government creates an extra layer of government adding additional costs that will be paid by the citizens of McHenry County through additional taxes. In reality it creates a county czar with the right to hire and fire employees, and appointing and dismissing people from boards and commissions. Perhaps one of the most serious consequences of the executive form of government is the executive’s ability to hire and retain his own legal counsel at taxpayer’s expense when the county is already represented by the state attorney’s office. In my opinion, this opens the door for Cook County style government in McHenry 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.
McHenry County belongs to an association that uses lobbyists to not only monitor legislation but keeps the county apprised of legislation that may impact county government. I believe that McHenry County should continue to voice its support, lack of support, or take a “wait and see” position on specific agenda items. The current system of capping property taxes worked well when home values were consistently rising. I do believe that some form of legislation is needed to address property taxes in light of declining values.
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.
Due to troubling economic times, I support the county board’s decision to not collect the inflationary tax increase allowed under state law. Only a liar or a fool would unequivocally state what he or she would do a year from now. Hindsight is always 20/20 but without a crystal ball future predictions are murky at best.
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?
On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the most business friendly, I would rate McHenry County as a 6. I would suggest that county department’s improve their explanation of the rules and regulations that are in place. As the county updates its unified development ordinance addressing zoning and development that common sense and flexibility prevail. and that common sense and flexibility prevail.
Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?
1. Groundwater Protection. The County’s groundwater study has shown that there will eventually be a deficit in the quantity and quality of the County’s groundwater. This shortage of water will reduce not only economic growth but it will also reduce our drinking water supply. The County received federal funding for this study and is currently working on a groundwater ordinance to protect our water supply. 2. Preservation of farmland and open space. As McHenry County continues to grow it is imperative that we preserve our prime farmland for its economic benefits and for its use as water recharge areas. The County is currently working on a farmland preservation ordinance that will allow farmers to sell their developmental rights and continue using the land for agriculture. The preservation of open space protects our natural wetlands and native habitats. These natural resources help to protect and improve not just the quality of our water but its quantity as well. The County’s Land First Initiative will require developers to protect environmentally sensitive areas forcing protection and conservation of our most sensitive wetlands and water recharge areas. 3. Transportation and Economic Growth. It is imperative to improve and maintain our transportation infrastructure. Without an efficient transportation system McHenry County will be unable to attract industry and commerce. McHenry County must continue to communicate and foster a spirit of cooperation between itself, business, and municipalities within its borders. In recent years, the McHenry County has worked with its various municipalities and neighboring counties in order to lobby for more federal dollars to improve our County’s infrastructure. This cooperation and regional approach has proven successful in obtaining federal dollars. 4. Assistance for Veterans. With the end of the war in Iraq and the winding down of the war in Afghanistan, returning veterans are encountering a difficulty in finding jobs because of the state of our economy. According to the Veterans Assistance Commission, there has been a substantial increase in requests for assistance. I believe that he County needs to work with organizations like Transitional Living Services and New Horizons to support the re-entry of these heroes to civilian life. We need to realize that those who served in combat may have wounds deeper than their physical injuries.
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