Mary Margaret Maule

Demographics

Democrat

50

Johnsburg, IL

High School, College Prep, Warren Township High School

Bachelor's Degree, History, International Relations, Old Dominion University

Master's Degree, Business Adminstration, College of WIlliam & Mary

High School

Consultant, Self

Married, Jack Maule

Aeysha , 26

Terrance , 24

Ian, 22

On the Record

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

I am running for McHenry County Board because I believe I can be a voice for the people of my district. I have been very active in my community in many ways, from working with Veterans with the Voice of Veterans project, serving on the board for CASA,to joining the Johnsburg Athletics Boosters. I believe that to build a vibrant community, you need to take part. After working with small businesses throughout the county for five years with the Small Business Development Center, I feel I bring an understanding of how economic development through collaboration and an understanding of our regions resources can happen. I would bring to the board an understanding business development and financials.

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 support the referendum. I have heard overwhelmingly from the citizens of district 4 that they want a stronger voice in their county government. I have heard from numerous members of the county board that the community doesn’t understand the referendum and I find that to not only be inaccurate, based on my conversations, but a bit arrogant. This referendum will change the way we do government. The sitting board had the option to but a referendum that would only shift the power to elect the County board chair from the 24 members to the community at large, and they voted against it. My research has found numerous examples of counties that have a county executive and they are efficient, and effective. There are county executive in 45 states, including Indiana, Wisconsin And Missouri. Our current administrator does a phenomenal job and we are fortunate to have him. I hope he chooses to run for the position if the referendum passes.

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 tax dollars for lobbyist. McHenry County is fortunate to have representation that works cooperatively and is accessible to the members of the county board. We elect these representatives to act on behalf of our community. Taxes paid to the county are intended to pay for services provided to the citizens of the county and engaging a lobbyist is difficult to defend. The county is facing declining revenues as the result of declining home values, the same as home owners facing declining household income due to job loss or increase costs of living. These are difficult times and decisions need to be made about how to use our limited resources.

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 do support a freeze. As I walk district four talking with people, I see abandoned homes and homes in foreclosure. As a county, increasing the tax burden will reduce money from the local economy. We need to look to other means to mange our budget, such as limiting overtime, reducing operating expenses through increase use of web-based record keeping and delaying non-essential capital investments such as noncritical software updates.

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 board is a policy and procedures board and overall I do not see their policies as anti business. Many of the common complaint s from small businesses, such as their tax burdens are not in the control of the county board. The delay of the winery was, in my opinion an example of overstepping. The winery was a new industry for the county and required consideration of the long term implications. But there are numerous examples of how to successful integrate a winery into your community in many of our surrounding areas. Mr. Hammerand’s objects were heavy handed and short sited. I would like to see a stronger partnership with the McHenry County Economic Development Corporation and local municipal Economic Development Professionals. I would like to see a regional approach to business attraction. And I would like to see some increase cooperation between the business community, the county board, the economic development professionals and the education community. Increased communication can only help our community leverage our resources.

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

District 4 is one of the mature areas of the county. Many of the cities are facing declining downtowns and limited choice for where to shop. More importantly, there is a loss of community identity. I would like to begin to engage my community on how to invest in their downtowns. The discussion needs to include how to support, invest and revitalize our downtowns so that we add to our tax base but also provide a place where our community can live. A place we can bring our family, meet our neighbors and become engaged. There is evidence that supports an engaged community is more economically stable and attractive to potential businesses. The County Board with their investment to the MCEDC can be the starting point person for hosting those discussions. Using the McHenry county revolving loan fund can also be used as a tool for reinvestment. Geneva in Kane county is an excellent example of how to revitalize a downtown. It requires cooperation between governments, the business community, and the citizens.