Ken Koehler’s County Board Accomplishments
Ken Koehler has served on the County Board since 2000 and as Chairman of the County Board since December of 2004. Since taking over as County Board Chairman, the county’s portion of your tax bill has decreased in three of the last five years. The list below highlights some of the many improvements that have occurred in McHenry County during Ken’s tenure as County Board Chairman.
· A groundwater study showing future depletion of groundwater in the area was completed. A Water Resource Manager position was created to protect the quality and quantity of the county’s groundwater.
· An intergovernmental Groundwater Protection Program was created. The program is responsible for the creation of model policies to govern the protection and conservation of the groundwater supply.
· As part of the groundwater protection effort, the Illinois State Geological Survey and the Illinois State Water Survey are performing scientific studies to monitor the aquifers. The data will be used to provide baseline information and to drive future decisions.
This program addresses runoff and recharge issues in the county.
This plan includes chapters on open space, preservation and groundwater protection. It is complete and will soon be available for public review and comment.
Facilities for the Future
The Courthouse was remodeled to accommodate the creation of the new 22nd judicial circuit in McHenry County. This remodeling included the construction of additional courtrooms without any financial help from the State (an unfunded mandate).
A new Valley-Hi Nursing home was built to replace the old, deteriorating building. The new facility provides greater efficiencies of service and eliminated ongoing health safety issues that were prevalent at the old site.
The 3rd floor of the jail was completed using mostly Federal dollars. The additional space will serve the county’s needs as the population of the county grows.
The new centrally-located facility has increased the number of pets that are adopted and has resulted in fewer cases of euthanasia. Opportunities for volunteerism have increased, which helps to keep costs down.
The new public health facility provides better care and resources for women, infants and others who need public health services.
This building will now provide easy access for patrons and a drive-up facility for making payments.
A Facilities Master Plan was developed. The plan is a proactive, forward-thinking document which addresses future county facility needs. As part of this plan thirty acres north of the existing county government campus were acquired to handle needs over the next 30-50 years.
Relations with McHenry County’s Federal delegation were expanded and professionalized. This improves McHenry County’s position to receive Federal money for county projects.
This annual document outlines McHenry County’s needs and it is taken to Washington D.C. by Chairman Koehler, who lobbies national legislators for funding for McHenry County projects.
Through improved Federal relations, more of McHenry County tax dollars are staying local. Millions of tax dollars have been returned to McHenry County for important projects in areas such as:
The manual was revised and updated to reflect current standards and procedures. The new manual corrected an issue of excessive leave taken by some employees.
More than $1 million was saved by transitioning to a self-funded insurance plan for county employees.
The payroll department was moved to the County Administration Office, improving the efficiency and oversight of the department.
The relationships with local and regional legislators have created an effective voting bloc in Springfield with regard to legislation that helps McHenry County residents.
This group has become a powerful lobbying group in Springfield. This group, put together by the McHenry County Economic Development Commission, has successfully created awareness of our county’s traffic issues and the need for State funding to improve our roads.
The plan serves as a guide for providing optimal public service to McHenry County residents.
Procedures were put in place to measure the outcomes and successes of the current strategic plan. The status of those goals is reported to department heads and county board members.
· The County web site has been updated and improved to make it more user-friendly.
· Paperless agendas cut costs and set a good example of environmental awareness.
· County ordinances and resolutions are now available on-line.
· The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department was formed to serve all county offices, departments, and county municipalities.
· An Integrated Justice System is being implemented. This will allow all law enforcement and judicial departments to use the same documents, promoting higher efficiency, less duplication, and more accuracy.
· The County borrowed/bonded $50 million so road improvements could be done sooner and at a lower cost (construction costs rise faster than interest rates).
· The County enjoyed great success with the Federal delegation on the 2005 SAFETEA-LU, which is an authorization for receiving funds for road projects.
· The widening of Algonquin Road from Randall to Route 47 was completed under budget in 2009.
· Funding for the widening of Rakow Road has been secured. This project is set to begin in 2010.
U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood visited Lake in the Hills in November and got to see the congestion at the intersection of Randall and Algonquin Roads firsthand. Koehler made the request for $85 million in new Federal Dollars.
Valley-Hi Nursing Home
· The new facility was completed and a successful move took place. Inefficiencies regarding patient transportation within the facility, nursing station placement, etc. are being corrected.
· A management audit is in progress and cost savings opportunities are being identified.
· By examining the patient mix and policies, revenues are beginning to improve. This will help to help offset the costs of this tax-supported facility for the indigent.