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updated: 9/21/2012 4:31 PM

Larry Smith: Candidate Profile

McHenry County board District 6 (Independent)

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  • Larry Smith, running for McHenry County board District 6

    Larry Smith, running for McHenry County board District 6




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.

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BioKey IssuesQ&A



City: Harvard


Office sought: McHenry County board District 6

Age: 57

Family: Wife of 28 years, Karen Adult Daughter, Sarah

Occupation: Property Manager, Real Estate Broker, Director of Insurance Company

Education: University of Wisconsin Northern Illinois University

Civic involvement: Harvard Moose Lodge

Elected offices held: Candidate did not respond.

Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: No

Candidate's Key Issues

Key Issue 1

Government Spending and Taxes. We need to strive to make our county government as efficient as possible to get the most out of every tax dollar spent. We need to get back to the idea that government is there to provide essential services. We need to prioritize the services that each department provides. Each department needs to review and justify their budget from square one to eliminate any waste or duplication of services. As the economy improves, if more services are warranted, the additional services can be considered at that time.

Key Issue 2

Role of County Government. County government has continued to grow in size and scope. The creation of new departments and new divisions within departments, along with the size of and scope of their actions, have all increased. This inevitably increases their budgets and spending which leads to higher taxes. We need to reduce the size of county government. I am disappointed that the majority of our current board members did not believe the voting public would understand the difference between a referendum that would make the Chairman of the Board elected by the people, as opposed to a referendum that would create a county executive position with significantly different powers than the county board chairman. There has been continued support for a popular election of the chairman and I believe the board should have approved the proposal to put a referendum with this option on the ballot.

Key Issue 3

Creating an Environment of Understanding, Cooperation, and Communication. This should start with better communication between the board and their constituents, and continue with other elected officials at all levels of government. The animosity between some of our elected officials is stifling the opportunity for better government for the people, and serves to make our government less effective.

Questions & Answers

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?

We can keep the county on a path of fiscal responsibility and insure that the reserves are not depleted by demanding accountability from all departments. The financial report presented at the county board meeting on August 21st indicated that the department heads were accomplishing just that. This is commendable and I hope this will continue with a renewed interest in cutting costs while providing necessary services. Budget areas that concern me, and which I believe may need more attention, are: ? Our fiscal year 2012 budget is approximately 18% larger than in 2008, yet: o Highway Engineering and Consulting costs have more than doubled, from $4,245,074.00 to $9,040,000.00. o Grants to agencies have nearly doubled from $2,059,074.00 to $4,032,311.00. o Miscellaneous Commodities have more than tripled from $58,817.00 to $180,017.00. o Overtime pay continues to be near $2 million, with $1,774,146.00 budgeted for 2012. o Health care for prisoners continues to be near $2 million, with $1,728,116.00 budgeted for 2012. When I see these kinds of numbers in our county budget, it raises more questions than it answers. Some of these expenditures may very well be justified. If elected to the board, I will be asking questions regarding these and other expenditures to make sure they are justified.

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.

I believe the transportation improvement plan is off course for the needs of our county. There is a consistent under use of the public transportation system. This indicates to me that the general populous of McHenry County is not ready to embrace the public transportation system as it is currently operating. I do not believe the public transportation available to the constituents of District 6 is financially responsible or viable, given the rural nature of our District. I do not favor government subsidized public transportation routes based on employment opportunities. This is, in effect, a subsidy to private industry as the government subsidized public transportation system provides the transportation for their workforce.

Does the county need to address its ethics policies? Why or why not? If so, how?

I believe ethics policies should be continually reviewed and improved. The McHenry County Ethics Commission provides a resource and venue for the public to express their concerns or complaints. Ethics education is important, as board members are often put in the position of making decisions which the public may construe as unethical. The Ethics Ordinance is very specific. I believe it would be beneficial to the board and the public if the board had mandatory ethics education similar to that which is required of many private professionals licensed by the state.

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 a Groundwater Protection Action Plan. I believe this issue needs to be at the forefront of all zoning and development decisions. We also need better communication and coordination between governmental bodies. For example, a recent road project on State Highway 47 North of Woodstock resulted in tons of material that was ground off the highway being deposited on Freeman Road North of Hebron. This material obviously contained many contaminants and the area in which it was deposited is identified as an area with a ?High Potential for Aquifer Contamination?. Based upon my personal observations, I have many concerns as to how and why this was done, and what the ramifications to the aquifer will be. I will continue to investigate this matter. Our open lands and water recharge areas need to continue to be protected from over development. I will be attending the National Groundwater Association?s expo and annual meeting in December, at my own expense. This will give me an opportunity to take advantage of their educational seminars and to network with some of the leading authorities on groundwater preservation. I hope to learn some specifics as to what further steps we should be taking to protect our groundwater resources.

Assess how the county health department approached the whooping cough outbreak. What should have been done differently?

I believe the McHenry County Health Department did a good job of monitoring the whooping cough outbreak. The decision to make vaccinations mandatory to attend school could not be taken lightly. As a parent, I am always deeply concerned about vaccinations and the potential for allergic reactions or other side effects. In that the outbreak continued and did not subside, I believe the Illinois Department of Public Health made the correct decision to move forward with the vaccination requirement to prevent future outbreaks of this illness.