Longmeadow Parkway Statement

Friends,

Today in the Northwest Herald you can read an article about Mayor Schmitt of Algonquin and a picture he put up.  I was quoted in that article and I feel I need to formally make a few statements because we do not need rumor and innuendo.

  1. First – while some people called for Mayor Schmitt to resign – I did not.  In fact, while the mayor and I do not see eye to eye on everything, I do respect him and in fact I addressed him as “the honorable” in my statement.  He has been elected as the Mayor of Algonquin since 2002.  The people of Algonquin re-elected him and I look forward to working with the mayor on many road issues.
  2. My statement that was read did NOT attack the Village of Algonquin, the mayor, or any trustees.  While I did say that politicians were driving this decision I never belittled, humiliated, or other wise “attacked anyone.
  3. Forgive me, but my gosh it was a simple photoshop of a bee.  Have we, as a people, as a society of intellectuals, and as a community become so hyper sensitive that we cannot tolerate differing points of view?  While I personally would not have done that Mayor Schmitt’s actions did not violate anything.  It doesn’t violate anyone’s constitutional rights.  Perhaps he has now motivated some people to become more active in politics locally.

I have decided to post my statement which was read below so that everyone knows where I stand.  For the record I have never been for the Longmeadow Parkway.  There are very few capital projects that I have been “for”.  My statement is below:

April 25th, 2017
Andrew Gasser
McHenry County Board District 1
Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner – Elect

RE:

To the honorable Mayor Schmitt, honorable members of the Village of Algonquin Board, and to fellow citizens:

I regret I cannot come before you to speak tonight as I have a meeting I cannot reschedule. I need to lend my voice to the most serious issue of the Longmeadow Parkway, which will impact all of us, whether we live in Kane or McHenry County.

Friends I cannot in good conscience support this project. While we all agree for the need of responsible growth and development it is my opinion that politicians have forced this project upon us. It is clear the public continues to send an entirely different and opposing message.

My opposition is three fold:

One: The use of eminent domain in McHenry County is wrong. As a McHenry County Board Member I have always voted against the use of eminent domain. Never have I personally supported a road project that has used eminent domain. Who are we to judge what is “fair market value”? Who are we to judge when we can deprive Americans of their liberty and property? Is there a need for eminent domain? Yes. Should we use eminent domain in this instance? No!

Two: I realize that most TEA Party Conservatives are often dismissed as against “the environment” – I am a TEA Party conservative and I am environmentally conscious. I am keenly aware of our responsibility and duty in regards to environmental impact.

This project:

• Literally paves over sensitive environmental wetlands and further endangers protected species
• Intrudes on the natural beauty of the Fox River
• and strips away invaluable water recharge areas in McHenry County.

As a former member of the Planning, Environment, and Development Committee on the McHenry County Board I have intimate knowledge of just how critical our water situation is. It is our duty as elected officials to protect our precious and limited resources. Every year, development chips away at aquifer recharge areas that provide water to over 88,000 people southeast McHenry County, in Algonquin Township, and the villages of Cary, Fox River Grove, Algonquin, and Barrington Hills. Barrington Hills, with its 5-acre minimum lot size, is boon for Algonquin, Fox River Grove, Cary, and Crystal Lake so why are we trying to diminish a scarce resource?

Three: We simply cannot afford another toll road in our area. According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, McHenry County residents pay the 29th highest property taxes in the United States.

Don’t laugh Kane County… you are 32nd!

In a time when every single family I know is tightening our belts and doing more with less – grandiose road projects are being pushed forward. Sometimes the justification voiced is that “it’s not our money – its federal or state money”.

I cringe.

While McHenry County enjoys an AAA bond rating, the state of Illinois has declined to junk bond status, and our country is nearing $20 trillion dollars in debt.

What is done is done.

We cannot turn back what was completed in Kane County.
We CAN come together and protect McHenry County.

I strongly urge you all to NOT support this project any longer and I invite you to call me directly at (850) 866-0155 or email me at andrew@andrewgasser.com, should you wish to converse on this serious issue further.

Be Blessed,
Andrew Gasser
McHenry County Board District 1
Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner – Elect

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In other news bee keeping in McHenry County is on the rise!  I hope to have a hive in my yard this year as a test run!

The McHenry County Transportation Committee, some highway commissioners, and residents had a great time on the McHenry County Transportation Committee tour of McHenry County’s Non-Dedicated Roads.  For the entire trip I sat along side Bob Miller, “Iron Mike” Lesperance, and Donna Kurtz.  We had a great chat and dialogue.  I cannot wait to hear the rumors on this one.  I do not run hate and bitterness and neither should anyone else.  I refuse to.

-Thank You “R”.

Three Election Promises Kept

I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who voted in the February 28th election.  We made it.  Frankly, I asked all of you to “trust me” with my campaign for Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner.  I made many promises and now it is time to start fulfilling those promises.  The first three promises I want to fulfill are:

  • I promised I would not take the Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Healthcare Plan
  • I promised I would not take the Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner politician pension plan (IMRF)
  • I promised I would not be a double dipper and hold two elected offices at once

I am keeping my promises to you.

I just received this in the mail and I will be dropping it off tomorrow at the township.  As you can see I have declined the politician pension plan.  Politicians taking defined benefit retirement plans are bankrupting Illinois.  I also refused the politician healthcare plan.  This is not a cadillac plan… it is more like a Lamborghini Aventador.  I will keep my VA healthcare plan as an honorably retired US Air Force Officer.

I also resigned from the McHenry County Board effective May 14th, 2017.  You can read about it here in the Northwest Herald.

I do not say these things to boast.  I say these things because a few were so vocal and critical of me accusing me of “not telling the truth”.   I am telling you all the truth.  As my friend Demetri says, “the proof is in the pudding.”

Hold me accountable as I continue to ask you for your support and your trust.  Please trust me… but verify.

Finally, I would like to squash the rumor about Mr. Miller and I arguing at Bill Prim’s fundraiser.  I bought him a Heineken and we talked shop like two responsible men.  Bob has asked me to call him with any questions I have – and I have.  There will be those who continue to feed off of the drama and innuendo but I urge you to put it all aside.  We all want a vibrant township.

 

A Quick Note

There is a lot of gossip around the watercooler about what is going to happen to the employees at the Algonquin Township Highway Department on May 15th.  Before addressing this I would like to put forward the core values that together we will instill at the township:

  • Integrity First
  • Service Before Self
  • Excellence in All We Do

If you are an employee there and you want to know what I am thinking feel free to call or email me.  I want to hear from you.

Lets stop the gossip.  It doesn’t matter who is starting it or spreading it – we all have a responsibility to stop it.  This is why I am writing it here for EVERYONE to see.

For the record Bob has never called me or emailed me unless I FOIA’d it.  That is ok.  We will get through it and we will build upon what we have.  How can anyone know what I am doing when I have not been asked?

I look forward to hearing from you.   You can email at andrew@andrewgasser.com or you can call me at (850)866-0155.

Together we will make the Algonquin Township Highway District the premiere highway district not in McHenry County… but in Illinois.

Be Blessed,

Andrew
Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Elect

Property Tax Cut for McHenry County Introduced

It is a big deal.

It is always an honor, a privilege, and something I never take for granted – to serve all of you on the McHenry County Board.  This morning we had the opportunity to present a revolutionary resolution before the McHenry County Board – a resolution that will substantially cut taxes in McHenry County.

This is not the 100 percent solution but more of a 90 percent solution.  We heard from many board members, publicly and privately, of things that will need to be tweaked in this resolution.  It now moves to the Finance and Audit Committee on April 6th where this resolution will be marked up and voted upon.  Final approval will hopefully be April 18th.

This resolution is bi-partisan.  I am honored to have worked on this resolution with our Chairman Jack Franks, county board member John Reinert, and county board member Dr. Paula Yensen.  There are no sacred cows and all silos are under scrutiny.  All of us put aside politics and came together as a cohesive team to make things happen.  There are other county board members who want this to happen as well and need we need their constructive inputs as well.

I could literally list EVERY county board member here.  We are all excited.  Below is a copy of the resolution. We want to hear from you with your ideas and comments.  We need your feedback.

See you all on April 6th at Finance – here is the text of the resolution as proposed today:

RESOLUTION TO REDUCE THE McHENRY COUNTY FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGET AND PROPERTY TAX LEVY BY 10 PERCENT

WHEREAS, Illinois taxpayers pay higher property taxes than the vast majority of other Americans; and

WHEREAS, high property taxes have a deleterious effect on the economy and harm small businesses; and

WHEREAS, in 2016 the State of Illinois saw a larger population decline than any other state; and

WHEREAS, McHenry County’s population has declined since 2010; and

WHEREAS, 91 percent of voters from the Village of Cary recently supported a non-binding referendum calling for all future property tax levy increases to require voter approval; and

WHEREAS, 92 percent of voters from the Village of Lakewood also recently supported a non-binding referendum calling for all future property tax levy increases to require voter approval; and

WHEREAS, 91 percent of residents from the Village of Fox River Grove recently supported a non-binding referendum calling for all future property tax levy increases to require voter approval as well; and

WHEREAS, McHenry Township, Grafton Township and the Algonquin Township Road District each recently reduced their respective property tax levies by 10 percent from the previous year; and

WHEREAS, the McHenry Township Road District recently reduced its property tax levy by 11 percent from the previous year; and

WHEREAS, the McHenry County Board authorized a property tax levy totaling $79,344,078 on November 15th, 2016; and

WHEREAS, the McHenry County Government Fiscal Year 2018 begins on December 1, 2017; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the aggregate total of all property taxes levied by the County of McHenry, Illinois during Fiscal Year 2018 shall be reduced by at least ten (10) percent, or $7,934,407, from $79,344,078 in Fiscal Year 2017 to less than $71,409,671 in Fiscal Year 2018; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Annual Appropriation Ordinance of McHenry County, Illinois authorizing county expenditures during Fiscal Year 2018 shall be similarly reduced by at least $7,934,407; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an ad-hoc Committee on Tax Reduction shall be created, composed of: the County Board Chairman, who shall serve as committee Chairman; the Chairperson of each standing committee, with the Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee serving as Vice-Chairman; and Misters Kearns and Wilbeck; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Committee on Tax Reduction shall work with the County Administrator to develop property tax levy reduction proposals on or before June 30, 2017; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that discussion of the Committee on Tax Reduction’s property tax levy reduction proposals shall be placed on the agenda of the County Board’s Thursday, July 13, 2017 Committee of the Whole meeting; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Committee on Tax Reduction shall make final recommendations to the County Administrator based on County Board member feedback prior to August 24, 2017; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the County Administrator shall develop a budget based on the Committee on Tax Reduction’s recommendations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the fiscal year 2018 budget shall be presented to the full County Board for 30-day review no later than the Thursday, October 12th, 2017 Committee of the Whole meeting.

DATED at Woodstock, Illinois, this 18th day of April, A.D., 2017.

 

_____________________________
Jack D. Franks, Chairman
McHenry County Board

ATTEST:

_________________________________
Mary E. McClellan, County Clerk

Property Tax Relief Front and Center Tomorrow Morning

Friends and Neighbors,

When you elected me to be your McHenry County Board Member I promised I would do something about property taxes.  Tomorrow we start the process of this as it will be introduced to the county board under new discussion.  This will then move to the Finance and Audit Committee which will debate and discuss this on April 6th.

I hope you all can listen in or attend our meeting tomorrow.  We have a great going in game plan that specifically calls for the reduction of the COUNTY PORTION of our tax bill.  This is all the county board can control.  We must be vigilant on who we elect to our other municipal bodies.  As we know we have many contested elections for school boards, village boards, and other races throughout McHenry County.

You can read an older resolution here.  It is public information that has been FOIA’d at least twice.

Tomorrow we will release the resolution for the public and invite comment.  I will keep my promises to all of you.

Thank You Algonquin Township

Friends, this past Tuesday we sent a very strong message that we can control our own local governments.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you and chance to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

I want to thank Bob Miller.  It was a tough campaign.  Very difficult.  You made me a stronger, better person Mr. Miller and for that I thank you.  I look forward to working with you in the next few weeks.

We will build upon what is in Algonquin Township, there is a lot of great stuff there, and we shall make it better.  I shall not let you down.

Be Blessed,

Andrew