Anna May Miller
Administrative Assistant, Algonquin Township Road District
Married, Robert J. Miller
On the Record
Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?
My reasons for running for McHenry County Board have not changed since my first election. I have lived in McHenry County for thirty-six years; I have raised my family here and they have returned to McHenry County to raise their families. I am committed to ensuring the quality of life we enjoy and protecting the future for all McHenry County residents. The experiences garnered from thirty years as a small business owner, as well as my years as a public servant have provided me with the skills and knowledge to prove myself a strong advocate for my constituents.
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 do not support the County Executive form of government. I am troubled by the unprecedented power this would provide to one person. McHenry County has created a board with rules and procedures arrived at by consensus. These rules have led our county to financial stability, a fair balance of power and accountability. During the redistricting process the board considered and dismissed the idea of electing the Chairman by an at-large vote. The position would have enjoyed many of the same privileges of a county executive and there was not support for this direction. Finally, I don’t agree that there exists a resistance to allowing the voters the ability to decide this process. It is my remembrance that recent discussions detailed the timing of placing that question on the ballot.
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 a county board candidate and also a thirty- six year resident and McHenry County property taxpayer. If there was a simple solution to freeze property taxes and continue to address critical public services; i.e. education, infrastructure, mental health and public safety I would most decidedly support it. It is my understanding that the county or any level of government cannot use public funds to lobby for or against any initiative, only to provide education. Referring specifically to Representative Frank’s legislation, I believe he tried to utilize an oversimplified approach to tax reform to garner widespread political appeal. Without an organized plan to compensate for the revenue impact his legislation lacked support from his peers and was overwhelmingly defeated.
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 was among a significant number of McHenry County Board members that supported a different approach to covering the budget shortfall from operating reserves rather than extending the levy during last year’s budget and levy process. I believe we realized the outlying financial implications to that action. This year during early budget discussions the board has sent a strong message regarding any tax levy increase. As an elected representative of the residents of McHenry County, I believe it is my responsibility to represent their interests, concerns and perspectives. We; along with all other units of government, need to hold the line on tax increases. We must continue to look at ways of decreasing operational expenses, managing personnel costs and sharing resources rather than simply increasing the levy.
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 agree that the couple did encounter an arduous process with their application. Part of that laborious undertaking was attributable to the fact that they were the first to propose such a business. The county had no “winery” license in our liquor ordinance; hence no ability to offer zoning for the request. I share their frustration with the time element in the process for amending the ordinance. I believe that there are instances in our health department, zoning, sign and access management ordinances where we have the opportunity to apply a “common sense” approach that would result in improved interactions with the business community.
Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?
Transportation has been and will continue to be a large challenge in our district. With the largest percentage of the county’s population within our area we face some of the most intense congestion. Route 31, Algonquin Road, Randall Road and Route 14, to name a few of our problem areas. I encourage the county to continue aggressively pursuing federal and state funding for projects already planned and undertaken. I also advocate continued coordination between our municipalities and the county with a desire to coordinate solutions from a regional perspective. Public transit is another important component in the transportation issue. There are areas within our district with little if any public transportation opportunities. I would like to see the county continue and extend its partnership with Pace to provide expanded service to these areas.
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