Eric Hendricks: 2022 candidate for McHenry County Board District 3
City: Lake in the Hills
Occupation: Attorney, Franks, Gerkin, Ponitz, & Greeley, P.C.
Previous offices held: Precinct Committeeman
Q. Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you?
A. Political issues feel both more polarizing and more ridiculous than they ever have in my life. The state hasn't had a balanced budget for approximately 20 years now, taxes are through the roof (especially our property tax burden), and it seems like governments in Illinois only have a one-track mind: spend more and kick the can down the road as much as possible.
I believe people should attempt to make positive changes where they can. I don't come from a connected political family and I haven't inherited billions, but local office isn't something where you need either of those things. If you have the support of your family, friends, and neighbors, you're already halfway there. I've met some fantastic people since I've decided to throw my hat in the ring for McHenry County Board -- District 3 and I know that with their support we can make McHenry County the "light in the darkness" and set an example for the rest of the state.
Q. If you are an incumbent, describe your main contributions. Tell us of any important initiatives you've led. If you are a challenger, what would you bring to the board and what would your priority be?
A, I graduated with honors from Northern Illinois University with a degree in finance and worked as an accountant before becoming an attorney. I think my education and work experience will help me when reviewing sometimes complicated documents and evaluating important items such as the county budget, not to mention help me better anticipate the practical effects measures might have on members of both my District 3 and McHenry County as a whole.
As far as my priority, the McHenry County Board sets a budget and taxes accordingly (including a portion of residents' property taxes). I plan on searching for ways to reduce taxes; arguably more importantly, I promise I won't vote in support of, and will oppose, ANY tax raises in my first term should I be fortunate enough to win.
Between businesses and residents being hammered by COVID-19, the resulting government regulations related to COVID-19, and record inflation, it's the least politicians could do.
Q. Describe your position regarding the balance between county spending and revenues as it exists today, then describe the chief threats you see looming and how the county should deal with them.
A. This is a more complicated question than can be answered in 200 words. The general idea for any budget is to not spend more than you have. Households across the county are able to do this every day, but its something that government seems to have a hard time understanding.
McHenry County has done a good job of providing balanced budgets and keeping spending increases in check. That being said, there is always room for improvement. An easy example: fiscal 2021 McHenry County expenditures look to be on track for ~$183 million. Fiscal 2022 McHenry County expenditures is budgeted to be $215.8 million. A roughly 18% spending increase seems excessive considering residents and businesses having had to struggle through COVID-19, current inflation eating away at the savings and earnings of individuals, etc.
Chief threat: inflation will inevitably lead to growing calls for tax increases or, in lieu of, reduce the ability of McHenry County to get the same "bang for its buck" going forward. Q. How do you rate the county government on transparency and the public's access to records? If it's adequate, explain why. If you think improvements are needed, delineate them.
A. Improvement can always be improved, although I do think McHenry County is much better than a significant amount of counties in this state. For example, you can easily find McHenry County's budgets, McHenry County Code of Ordinances, etc., online.
I have have heard numerous people request that the times of meetings be moved to after the work day so citizens can more easily attend. That certainly seems reasonable and something I'm interested in looking into myself. I also wish the items being discussed/voted on would be more accessible so residents could more easily be informed about the issues happening locally.
That's why, if elected, I'll post a brief summary on social media of items being voted on. This would include my position on the items, if any, and my rationale for said position.
Q. What, if anything, should be done to improve automation and customer service in county offices? What steps should be taken to make that happen?
A. That's something I'll have a better understanding of if elected. I think the best thing the McHenry County Board can do is to just emphasize the importance of serving the county and making things as easy as possible on McHenry County residents.
People have better things to do than dig through volumes of documents, go through a complicated process to get or do something, or keep track of what XYZ local politician is doing.
That's why automation, fantastic customer service, and transparency by officials and agencies are important.