Yvonne Barnes

Demographics

Republican

53

Not available

Bachelor's Degree, Business Administration/Marketing, Indiana University

Other, Public & Environmental Affairs/Urban Planning, Indiana University

Associate's Degree, Data Processing/Systems Analysis, Triton College

Business Consulting/Technical Communications, Barnes TechCom, Owner

Not available

Bryan, 23

Allison, 21

Megan, 21

Emily, 19

Nikita, 17

Daniel, 15

Colleen, 14

On the Record

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

My years as a village trustee and County Board Member were productive and helpful to many people. My elected official knowledge, professional business and government consulting experience, and community involvement contribute to understanding issues that are important to people throughout the county. As a Board member, I will be in a position to assist more individuals and groups as I work to make wise budget, zoning, transportation, public safety , and other administrative decisions. I am a proven citizen advocate who believes in open communication, citizen participation, and decisions which are in the best short and long term interests of the residents.

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 will vote no to the referendum and I encourage others to do the same. The executive form of government is dangerous. The current system, while far from perfect, provides for more participation from Board members and the public in the decision making process and the end results. The system we have now allows for accountability and consequences from work performance. The executive form of government creates individual power and control – exactly the situation most Americans do not want to experience with federal, state, or local government. I fully support an advisory referendum to allow voters to decide if they want the Board Chairman position to change to a county wide election.

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 do not support using taxpayer money to lobby against any legislation that hurts property taxpayers. Taxpayers are experiencing great hardship due to declining property values, rising food and gasoline expenses, medical bills, unemployment and more. Taxpayers deserve to have Board members who will make decisions that benefit residents, not decisions that cause greater hardship. Budget decisions should be made with greater attention to line items and a full understanding of all that is included in each item. Furthermore, the decision to use lobbyists for any reason needs to be analyzed and evaluated before entering into future contractual agreements. Elected representatives and staff can perform much of the work lobbyists complete without an additional expense for services.

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 agree to support a freeze to the county’s levy next year due to current conditions of the economy. Next year is expected to be a continued struggle for individuals and businesses. An increase to the county’s levy would not be appropriate. The issue should be a moot point if additional cuts to the county budget are implemented. Governmental entities need to reduce expenditures just as individuals and companies have been doing for a lengthy period of time.

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?

This specific experience labeled the entire County Board as not supporting business development. Until this situation, the County Board was perceived as business friendly. Now to restore the reputation for assisting businesses, the Board must improve relationships and streamline various processes. The County should examine conflicting or confusing ordinances and provide clarification in the Unified Development Ordinance which is almost complete. Additionally, the County should show leadership as a coordinator among different groups which promote business. The Economic Development Corporation, tourism bureau, and workforce development unit could combine goals and resources. Duplication of services should be eliminated. This would reduce costs and add greater value to efforts. Expansion of existing programs such as “shop local” campaigns and agritourism efforts could lead to more jobs and opportunities for local residents and also benefit existing businesses. The County Board should provide direction, example, and leadership in this area. Finally, County Board members need to put forth effort to not only support local businesses, but also make it a priority to attract and secure new businesses which create jobs, increase revenues, and reduce the number of unused sites and buildings.

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

Maintaining the quality of life we desire is the greatest challenge. Many of our residents continue to be challenged in their day to day living with an inability to pay for and obtain basic necessities. The county must provide services at an efficient cost and not use tax increases to fund services. A tax increase or unnecessary spending causes residents to have even fewer dollars to pay for their personal needs. I will commit to researching and analyzing each Board decision and each citizen’s issue with the end goal of making decisions based on facts, common sense, and understanding. I am dedicated to bringing government to people through personal contact, open communication, hard work, and full inclusion of the public.