McHenry County website to make ordinance lookup easier

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WOODSTOCK – Trying to find a particular ordinance on the McHenry County government website can be like trying to navigate a maze.

The main page has no link to ordinances. While the county health ordinance and the Unified Development Ordinance can easily be found on the health and planning departments’ respective pages, finding most others requires navigating a number of links and requiring knowledge of the ordinance numbers or the dates in which they were passed.

A County Board member, its chairman and the state’s attorney announced that the problem is going to be fixed by spring.

County staff and the staff of Republican McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally are working with the county IT department to create an easy-to-read online book of all county ordinances, the office of Democratic Board Chairman Jack Franks announced Friday.

The problem was brought to Franks’ attention by board member Mary McCann, R-Woodstock, who has raised the concern in the past.

“After Mary McCann informed me that most county ordinances, which local taxpayers are required to follow, are extremely challenging to find online, I was stunned,” Franks said.

“Sadly, she is 100-percent right, and we need to fix this as quickly as possible,” Franks said.

The online code book is expected to be up by May 1.

Kenneally, who is the county’s highest law-enforcement official, called access to the letter of the laws and ordinances people must follow “a basic principle of liberty and self-governance.”

“Putting county ordinances up online in a well-organized, convenient setting will make participating in county democracy a simpler process for our constituents and make our government more accountable to them,” Kenneally said.

McCann called the lack of easy access to online county ordinances “deeply concerning,” but said that she was heartened to see Franks and Kenneally now making it a top priority. Both the new chairman and the new state’s attorney took office in December.

Online

You can learn about McHenry County government and its functions at www.co.mchenry.il.us.