Current Issues

Below is a summary of my stance on some of the most pressing issues in McHenry County:

Consolidation of Units of Government

Today, Illinois has about 2,000 more taxing units of government than any other state. When done properly and with a full understanding of impact, consolidation can benefit taxpayers. However, consolidation should not be done just for the sake of consolidation. Detailed research of the impact on taxpayers must be an important part of the process.

The Gottemoller Solution: Consolidation only makes sense when taxpayers see a reduction in taxes without having to absorb a reduction in levels of service. Intergovernmental agreements for shared services is another effective way to achieve efficiency, and I am proud to say that McHenry County actively seeks out ways to share services and save taxpayers money.

Taxes and Bonds

Many of us have recently seen our home values decrease while our property taxes continue to increase.

Not only does this hurt homeowners, but climbing taxes in a declining housing market will eventually hurt our bond rating enough to raise the costs of borrowing.  When the County’s bond rating is reviewed one of the elements considered is the percentage of house value that is being taken each year for taxes.  When the tax percentage gets too high the bonding companies worry the bonds may not be paid back so they raise the interest rates and lower the bond rating.

The Gottemoller Solution: As a member of the County Board member I have repeatedly voted against  property tax increases.  In addition, I made the motion on the board floor to eliminate the position of County Recorder. This fall I will vote to reduce the total amount of taxes the county will collect by more than 10%. This translates to $8 million or more that will remain in taxpayers’ pockets.

Jobs

As an attorney, a great deal of my practice is devoted to zoning issues throughout McHenry County.  This extensive experience has provided me with a thorough understanding of how zoning can promote different types of development in different areas of the county. The 2030 zoning plan does a fine job of preserving farmland and environmental resources but does little to promote job growth in the county. The plan designates almost nothing in unincorporated McHenry County for Commercial and Industrial growth with the exception of South of Marengo along Route 23 to I -90.

The Gottemoller Solution:During my first term as a County Board Member I was appointed Chairman of the Planning and Development Committee.  We were given the task of rewriting the Unified Development Ordinance.  I proposed changes to the County Zoning Ordinance that would encourage job growth by allowing property owners to use their existing outbuildings to start home based businesses.  Instead of over-regulating and discouraging the use of these outbuildings, landowners should be able to use these buildings to start small businesses and companies that could be the jobs of the future.

Recreational Vehicles/ Campers Restrictions

A group of citizens lobbied the county board to seek a provision that would prohibit storage of recreational vehicles and campers on personal property. I opposed their attempt to limit homeowners’ ability to story their own recreational vehicles on their land.

The Gottemoller Solution: I voted against any and all restrictions for homeowners regarding the storage of their recreational vehicles and campers on their property.

Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a growing problem in Illinois and in the suburban area. There have been businesses in this county that have been shut down because they were fronts for trafficking activity.

The Gottemoller Solution: I voted to add provisions to the Unified Development Ordinance to protect McHenry County citizens from the dangers of human trafficking by regulating Massage Parlors, which are some times used by criminals as a gateway to prostitution.

Agritourism

Agritourism is a very important issue in McHenry County. Parents can take their children to a Pumpkin Patch or an Apple Orchard where they choose their favorite pumpkin to carve, eat cider apple donuts, make their way through a corn maze, experience a Hay Ride, and often see farm animals for the very first time. Other families make their yearly trek to a Christmas Tree Farm in subzero temperature to cut down the perfect Christmas tree. Unfortunately, there are some who want to impose unfriendly business practices on these seasonal family-friendly businesses.

The Gottemoller Solution: I led the effort to make changes to the Unified Development Ordinance that are designed to encourage these types of businesses and promote agritourism throughout McHenry County.