Fox River Grove
Bachelor's Degree, Accounting/Management
See recent video below of Robert Bless talking about the issues.
On the Record
Why are you running for McHenry County Board, and what qualifications do you bring to the office?
I am running for re-election to the position because I care about the County we live in and hope to make a difference for the future generations. The Board needs members with a broader perspective of peoples needs and how to manage those needs in the current state of our economy. I have served on the Board and its various committees over the past four years and believe I have brought my knowledge, experience and basic common sense in a positive way to contribute to the county’s current state. My background in accounting, management and the law as well as my experience as a business owner allows for a more technical or educated approach to the tasks presented. Although I believe my basic common sense and unbiased approach which I apply when analyzing and voting on the issues presented gives me the ability to look at the needs of our citizens in order to best serve them.
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?
It is my understanding that the executive form of government would allow for a position that would give one person too much power. I think the voters should answer the ultimate question. I am not against a popularly elected chairman. Let the voters decide!
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.
If such expenditures would ultimately pass tax savings to the citizens in an overwhelming amount, then it could be justified as an investment of the taxpayer’s dollars with a substantial return. The ultimate question is, what would be the cost and, what would be the end benefit to the taxpayers. Additionally what would be the risk of the investment of the taxpayer’s money in relation to the potential return. I would keep an open mind as to the arguments that would be presented for and against the proposition as well as the consensus of the public.
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.
Yes. Last year I voted for the levy only because it would have been fiscally irresponsible and poor financial management to do otherwise in the eleventh hour. To reduce the expected revenues in that amount without proper planning and budgeting is purely irresponsible! The County has not achieved the financial standing it currently holds with such reckless decisions. I am all for the freezing of the levy for as many years as we can possibly manage without reducing our reserves and cutting our services. The required planning as we did in the past year and the continued work of our management and staff to reduce unnecessary expenditures will allow me to support a freeze on our levy. It is my position that we continue to keep the good financial management of the county as well as continue to provide the services required by our citizens. This can all be attained with the continued joint effort of our hard working employees and management with the members of our board. We can make this work without cutting services and without raising 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 think there are some that try to over regulate and control all aspects of any changes or growth in the county. I think we need to allow for the changes that will inevitably come over time. There are to many that can not except the fact that we are a growing community and that there will be drastic changes that will affect many of us. We need to allow for growth and the economic development of the county. It is imperative to that the property owners are given the benefit of the laws of our constitution without restricting there ability to make an honest living or enjoying their property. There must be some safeguard put in place that will keep the board from over-regulating and restricting the ability of business owners and property owners from opening businesses and using their property.
Outside of jobs and the economy, what is the biggest challenge facing voters in your district and how would you address it?
I believe the biggest challenge in my district is traffic congestion and transportation, which is a work in progress and is continuing to be corrected with the hard work of our staff and board members. Also as it continually arises and is of great concern would be the property taxes. Although the county does not have the control to significantly reduce those taxes we need to work with the state in some resolution as to the problem.
Bless's Current Race
Anna May Miller
Other Local Races
Kathleen Bergan Schmidt