Carolyn Schofield: Candidate Profile
McHenry County board District 2
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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
City: Crystal Lake
Office sought: McHenry County board District 2
Family: Married, three children
Occupation: Candidate did not respond.
Education: Bachelor of Science in General Engineering with emphasis on Environmental Quality, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 1994
Civic involvement: McHenry County Council of Governments Water Policy Task Force Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Commission 1999-2009 2009 Crystal Lake Jaycee Distinguished Service Award McHenry County Youth Sports Association- Secretary District 47 Volunteer Glacier Ridge Elementary PTA Vice President Lundahl Middle School PTO Vice President Salvation Army Volunteer Girl Scout Troop Leader
Elected offices held: City Council, Crystal Lake, 2009- Present Republican Precict Committeeman, Grafton 8 Grafton Township Republican Vice-Chair
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No
Key Issue 1
It is projected that by the year 2030 areas within McHenry County will have nearly depleted their water supplies. The low level of precipitation over the past winter and summer months continues to exacerbate this problem. Groundwater protection strategies, programs, policies, and education need to be immediately implemented to reduce the potential of this negative impact on the quality of life. Educating and encouraging residents to utilize water conservation methods is essential. As a Crystal Lake City Council member I conceptualized the rain barrel incentive program in which residents can apply for a rebate if they purchase and install a rain barrel within Crystal Lake. I also assisted in the planting of the County?s first community rain garden outside Crystal Lake City Hall. This has been used as an educational tool to inspire others to focus on keeping our groundwater supply within our community rather than allowing it to vacate through the sewer systems. Moving forward we also need to consider future growth. Concepts such as cluster housing and multi-story buildings should be encouraged to limit the amount of required infrastructure and thus the impervious surface area. The use of native plantings, bioswales, and other innovative conservation tools by developers should be encouraged. With the knowledge we have through technology and studies, the County needs to take an active role in groundwater protection so that the current projections for our future supply will be altered.
Key Issue 2
With these tough economic times we need to refocus our efforts from new development to maintaining, enhancing, and retaining existing developments. Current infrastructure should be surveyed and prioritized to identify areas that need improvement and expansion to accommodate current trends. Focus should be placed on areas that could provide easier access to encourage redevelopment and attract new businesses and residents. In conjunction, creating economic development incentive programs similar to those in Crystal Lake would also be beneficial to attract and retain businesses. Programs may include things such as permit fee reductions, monetary rewards for fa?ade improvements, interior improvements, and/or job creation. Finally, utilizing this time of slow development to review and solidify ordinances and land use/zoning would be beneficial. A Unified Development Ordinance is in the process of being developed. Focus should be placed on the completion and formal adoption of the UDO prior to an upswing in the economy.
Key Issue 3
Aging infrastructure and planning for future needs should be one of the top priorities. Long term existing infrastructure improvements and enhancements should be fully identified in order to budget accordingly. This is needed to facilitate prioritization of other projects that are not as detrimental to quality of life.
McHenry County has managed the recession without a budgetary crisis like those in other counties. How do you ensure the county continues on that path and that reserves aren?t depleted? Are there specific budget areas that need more attention?
The County budgeting process was a main topic of discussion during the February Primary. Credit should be given to the County Finance Committee for their quick response in addressing public concerns regarding this process. The new process will allow more time to examine the various proposals and select potential options within the budget to then present to the board. During this process the budget should be closely examined. Services should be inventoried to identify those that affect quality of life and are required by state statue. An evaluation to ensure these services are being provided in the most cost effective manner through optimizing staff utilization would aid in the process. Strict adherence to policies on pay increases and active measures to control growth of personnel are necessary now and moving forward. Re-evaluating health care insurance options could lead to a significant savings overall. Focus should be placed on optimizing personnel and their benefits while maintaining a high level of service.
Does the McHenry County Board have a good transportation improvement plan? Please be specific and suggest whether you think anything is missing or should be scrapped.
The County transportation improvement plan does include critical aspects such as economic development, agricultural preservation, and intergovernmental coordination. Continually updating the plan and seeking public input addresses current trends and fosters a collaborative approach. Working with municipalities and the public to pool resources and determine needs is vital for a successful transportation plan. One area for improvement would be the development of a master bike plan. Working with municipalities to incorporate bike lanes or paths into new roadways and improvements would be ideal to address not only vehicular traffic but non-motorized traffic as well. To ease the burden on taxpayers, the County and municipalities should continue to seek out and utilize grant funding for traffic improvements. At times this may force creativity and innovation but will led to the maximization of public funds as well as traffic efficiency.
Does the county need to address its ethics policies? Why or why not? If so, how?
Ethics policies have been utilized a great deal within the County. There is a commission dedicated specifically to this area. One concern that recently surfaced was the lack of education or clarity of the ethics policies. Occasional training and reinforcement of policies may be beneficial. Also placing greater emphasis on the adjudication capabilities of the Ethics Commission and potentially shifting some of the policies requiring litigation back to the adjudication process may relieve the taxpayers of excessive legal defense and prosecution fees.
Assess McHenry County?s efforts thus far in terms of groundwater preservation and protection. What needs to be done now and in the future?
The County has developed a detailed Groundwater Protection Action Plan that has been adopted by numerous municipalities within the County. As a Crystal Lake City Council member I introduced and fully supported this plan at the Council level. Now that the County Board has formally adopted the plan they need to take the lead on incorporating the programs within it. A key component to make this plan successful is to work with municipalities to collaborate efforts. For example, I initiated the potential regulation of coal tar sealants within Crystal Lake. Through discussions with other local municipalities we have found that it would be more productive and effective for the County to coordinate the implementation of such regulations. A joint effort would create a more competitive and cost effective environment for the sealant industry and consumers. Moving forward the County needs to work closely with municipalities to implement policies and educate the public on ways to protect our valuable resources.
Assess how the county health department approached the whooping cough outbreak. What should have been done differently?
When the first cases of whooping cough surfaced the health department informed the media and school districts and appeared to follow the appropriate channels of communication. With a child at an affected school, I experienced first hand the prompt and thorough response provided by the school district. As a parent of young children I, as do most parents, follow the pediatricians recommended immunizations and remind my children of proper hygiene techniques. The health department did remind us all to follow those same rules.
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