Fire Protection Districts Are McHenry County’s Tax Increase Leaders

McHenry County Levy Increases Outpace Municipalities

In a previous McHenry County Blog articles Comparing McHenry County Property Tax 2002 Versus 2016 it was discovered that while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased 33.8% from 2002 to 2016, most McHenry County governments’ levies have increased in excess of CPI.

In the graphs below, you can see how different taxing bodies compare in terms of levy increases.

McHenry County has increased property taxes at almost twice the rate of townships governments.

You can read all of the posts in this series at:

Part 1 on McHenry County numbers can be found here: Comparing McHenry County Propery Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 1.

Part 2 on Library & Park district numbers can be found here: Comparing Library and Park District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 2.

Part 3 on Fire district numbers can be found here: Comparing Fire District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 3

Part 4 on School district numbers can be found here: Comparing School District Property Taxes 2002 Through 2016-Part 4

Part 5 on Township numbers can be found here: Comparing Township Property Taxes 2002 Versus 2016-Part 5

Part 6 on Township Road District numbers can be found here: Comparing Township Road & Bridge Property Taxes 2002 Versus 2016-Part 6

 

Friend of Bob Miller Rakes in $24,712.50 in Addition to Salary at Algonquin Township Highway Department

Bob Miller

It paid well for Algonquin Township Road District employee Douglas Helman to be a friend of his boss, Highway Commissioner Bob Miller.

In addition to his salary, Helman received $24,712.50 in so-called miscellaneous income from the beginning of 2013 until he retired at about the same time that Miller’s term as Road Commissioner expired.

$1,050 of that amount was given to Helman after Miller narrowly lost the February Republican Election to McHenry County Board member Andrew Gasser.

Like others who received miscellaneous income, large chunks came shortly before Christmas.

Helman received the highest payroll period amount in his October-November, 2016, check.

It was for $1,900.

Three $500 payments followed in the three periods after that.

The amounts paid and their dates follow:

Serwatka on Lakewood Matters

Lakewood Village President Paul Serwatka continues to be one of the few elected officials willing to give his take on his government’s activities over the internet.

His latest missive is below:

Bringing you up-to-date on recent activities of our village & village board – there are 4 items I want to call to your attention.

Lakewood Text Sign-Up

1 – A Reminder – One of the many new & improved services we are implementing in our village – the Lakewood Police Dept. has recently started a new program called “TextCaster.” TextCaster provides effective day-to-day information about public safety, traffic issues, community events, and emergency communication to Lakewood residents.

A number of residents have already signed up for these text reports and have found them to be quite useful. Most recently this was used to alert residents that garbage pick-up would be delayed until Saturday, due to the snow.

It’s a FREE service. It takes about 30 seconds to sign-up and you can sign-up by simply clicking on  here..

***
RECOGNIZING VILLAGE CLERK – JAN HANSEN

2 – I have spoken quite a bit about performance based compensation of employees vs. the typical past practice of annual 3% raises for everyone regardless of performance, as well as big (usually secret) bonuses that had been typically awarded to upper management every year, also regardless of performance.

In January, I recommended that our board recognize the “above and beyond” work and attitude of our Village Clerk, Jan Hansen.

In July of last year, throughout our flood crisis, Jan stepped up, taking on additional roles, working evenings & weekends alongside me, to help facilitate all of the efforts from responding to resident needs, to helping coordinate with FEMA, the Red Cross and others, to deploying Port-O-Potties, Semi-Tankers, and on and on…

Subsequently, after the departure of our former Chief Administrative Officer, Jan again stepped up and worked many additional hours, evenings and weekends with me, in a myriad of capacities, to keep things running in the village for the 2 and-a-half month interim, before welcoming our new CAO, Jeannine Smith.

I simply could not have made it through this time without the efforts of Jan Hansen.

In acknowledgement of Jan’s stepping-up & going “above and beyond” on behalf of our entire village, the board supported my recommendation, and PUBLICLY, in an open meeting, moved to award Jan a $5000 performance bonus. Jan has been our village clerk for approximately 18 years and this is the first time she has ever been recognized for her efforts.

***
Surplus Police Cars

3 – A Stark Contrast in Administrative Practices – I’ve had a number of residents inquire as to the number of Police Squad Cars our village owns. I had discussed this awhile back with our Chief of Police, Mike Roth, who assured me this was among many things on his list of items to be addressed.

At our last village board meeting, Chief Roth recommended the sale of two surplus police squad cars – to be sold at public auction, based on the Kelly Blue Book value for the vehicles for their age, condition and mileage. Chief Roth’s recommendation was supported by the board and the vehicles will be sold at public auction.

I believe it is worth noting the stark contrast in the protocol followed here as compared to the past practices of our former manager and administration. In one notable example of past practice from last year, under our previous manager and administration, that has since come to light – A police squad car less than 5 years old, with only approximately 40,000 miles, was (arguably prematurely) replaced with the purchase of a new squad car.

As we later learned, this village owned squad car was sold – not at auction – but, to a private party. It sold for $5000 and while it was not sold at public auction, it was purportedly an “arms length” transaction. We later learned that the Kelley Blue Book value for this vehicle was approximately $14,000. Add to this – after this purported “arms-length” sale to this private party, this squad car subsequently came to be owned by the individual who was, at that time, our village Finance Director.

None of the parties involved in this transaction remain employed by our village and I am confident that these types of activities will no longer occur under this administration.

***
COMING SOON: THE HAWKS NEST PUB & EATERY

4 – This item really warrants two headings:

1 – REVIVING REDTAIL
2 – HAWK’S NEST PUB & EATERY – COMING SOON.

1 – Reviving Redtail – In January, the board (minus one trustee) approved the renovation of Redtail Golf Club. (Trustee Rich Ritchie, the sole opposition of this much needed renovation, has vied for building a brand new Golf Club & Police Station on Redtail property, since being elected to the board in May 2017.)

Besides drastic imporvement to the obvious “drab” aesthetics and deferred maintenance of Redtail’s clubhouse, this interior and exterior renovation will cure; non-operational and leaking windows, deteriorated/rotted and leaking siding, faulty gutter/downspouts, non-operational HVAC systems, broken plumbing and bathroom fixtures, damaged & non-operational electric, as well as a number of building and health code violations within the clubhouse.

In truth, much of this work is many, many years overdue, and is a clear indication of substantial neglect as well as a lack of “pride of ownership”. Whatever the reason, it is blatantly obvious that the success and vitality of Redtail was NOT a priority for our past administration!

The Reviving Redtail Renovation, as well as the coming Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery is being spearheaded by trustee Phil Stephan with my full support and occasional assistance. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE that this entire project will be funded with funds generated entirely by Redtail operations, to be used for Redtail purposes!

No property tax dollars or other monies from our General Fund are being used for this essential renovation.

2 – Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery – Coming Soon! – Mark your calendars for this April 8th – Noon to 4:00 and come join us for the Grand Opening of our new Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery! (You will be notified again, You can be sure!)

The Hawk’s Nest will be a brand new, family friendly Pub & Restaurant, Featuring: All New (limited) Menu Selections, New Beverage Selections (alcohol and non-alcohol), New Service-Oriented Management and Equipment, and an All New Customer-Oriented Approach to Business.

As with the transformation of the rest of our village administration – The Transformation of Redtail and the introduction of The Hawk’s Nest Pub & Eatery promises the end of “Business as Usual” at Redtail and marks the beginning of the Redtail Revival.

The success of this renovation, the restructuring of golf club management & staff, and the coming new Hawk’s Nest Pub, promise the generation of revenues never before achieved from Redtail – the ultimate goal being the ability to allocate a portion of these revenues to our General Fund and offset a portion of what would otherwise be property taxes paid by residents.

I promise to to provide updates as we move forward. In the meantime, I hope you will share this newsletter with other Lakewood neighbors and help spread the word of our efforts..

Comparing Township Road District Property Taxes 2002 Versus 2016-Part 6

48.37% Average Increase in Road & Bridge Funds

Today McHenry County Blog is revealing numbers for Township Road Districts.

In summary from 2002 to 2016:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 33.8%.

County Population increased by 10.55%.
County Assessments have increased 29.44%.
Township Road District tax collections increased by 48.37%.

A levy increase more than 33.8% and identifies government bodies that are living beyond the taxpayers’ ability to pay OR the voters approved referendums which increased levies.

  • Dorr Township takes the prize as leader with levy increase of 368.52%, four times the amount as the next highest taxers.
  • Dunham Township residents saw the least amount of increase from their Road Commissioners. At 15.33%, levy increases are well below CPI.

The contents of the table below were extracted from the McHenry County display of property taxes for 2002 and 2016.

Part 1 on McHenry County numbers can be found here: Comparing McHenry County Propery Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 1.

Part 2 on Library & Park district numbers can be found here: Comparing Library and Park District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 2.

Part 3 on Fire district numbers can be found here: Comparing Fire District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 3

Part 4 on School district numbers can be found here: Comparing School District Property Taxes 2002 Through 2016-Part 4

Part 5 on Township numbers can be found here: Comparing Township Property Taxes 2002 Versus 2016-Part 5

Ryan Green Highest in Algonquin Township Road District “Miscellaneous” Pay After Three Miller Family Members

Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Bob Miller gave three family members a total of $86,066 above and beyond their regular salaries since 2012 while they were being paid by tax dollars:

Derek Lee

Anna May Miller

  • Wife Anna May Miller – $31,146

Anna May Miller Took Home $31,146 in “Misc” Income Since 2013

  • Son-in-law Andrew Rosencrans – $24,235

Bob Miller Son-in-Law Andrew Rosencrans Received Over $24,000 in “Miscellaneous” Income from Algonquin Township Road District Since 2013

  • Son-in-law Derek Lee – $30,355

Bob Miller Favors Son-in-Law Derek Lee with $5000 More in Miscellaneous Algonquin Township Road District Income Than His Other Son-In-Law

Miller left office in mid-May last year after being narrowly defeated by County Board member Andrews Gasser.

But the Road Commissioner’s family members were not the only ones to receive hefty unexplained “miscellaneous” income payments over the four-plus years.

Ryan Green received $24,035.

As you can see below, the largest amounts entered his checking account around Christmas shopping time.

Shannon Teresi Campaigning for County Auditor Appointment

McHenry County Auditor Pam Palmer resigned last month.

Her top assistant was Shannon Teresi, the woman now running the office.

She has an impressive resume, published previously.

Last night she attended McHenry County Board member Michael Rein’s Woodstock fundraiser.

That’s where I found the card (enlarged below) that is being distributed on her behalf:

A card promoting Shannon Teresi’s candidacy for McHenry County Auditor.

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks has asked for applications and, presumably, is interviewing candidates.

Nancy Gonsiorek

Before asking for applications, there was a Northwest Herald story indicating that former Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 Board member Nancy Gonsiorek wanted the job and agreed with Franks that the elected office of Auditor should be abolished.

Jack Franks

The abolition argument did not sit well with those who believe that government needs checks and balances.

Many saw it as just one more effort of Franks to centralize power.

Teresi is asking for the support of County Board members.

If Franks nominates the one he appeared to endorse in the NWH article, he will have to gain a majority of County Board votes to put her in office.

Shannon Teresi

Failing such a majority, Franks probably submit another person’s name.

Or he might just refuse to do so in a fit of pique.

That would leave Teresi in charge of the office until whoever is elected in November to fill out the two-year term took office in December.

The person selected by the McHenry County Republican Central Committee.

Five people applied for the post.

Poll on Roskam Election, Odds Quite Good Roskam-Financed

Sean Casten addressing McHenry County Democratic Party in October.

From the questions asked, it is unclear whether the Congressional candidate financing the effort was incumbent Peter Roskam or one of his two prospective Democratic Party candidates

  • Sean Casten
  • Kelly Mezeski

All three have enough money in their campaign funds to pop for a poll.

The automated survey was taken by Central Market Research, a company affiliated with Axiom Strategies of Kansas City, according to Columbia Daily Tribune, a Missouri paper.

The firm started works for Republican candidates, so odds are really good that Roskam financed the poll.

Peter Roskam

The Tuesday night survey sought the following information:

  • Intention to vote for congressional candidate
  • Republican or Democrat
  • Favorability on Trump
  • Favorability of Pelosi
  • Favorability on Ryan
  • Favorability on Roskam
  • Favorability on Mezeski
  • Favorability on Casten
  • Something else about Ryan
  • Comparison of Ryan with Mezeski
  • Comparison of Ryan with Casten
  • Should Member of Congress work with Trump?
  • More important to work with Trump or be a check and balance
  • Good to have control of White House, Senate and House in same party?
  • Time for a change?
  • Economy getting better or worse in your area?
  • Will new income tax bill raise your taxes?
  • Roskam emphasizing local issues, e.g., opioid crisis and several others, favorability
  • Something with my notes only show as “R”
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Conservative, moderate or liberal?
  • Race, white, black or Hispanic
  • Education

Comparing Township Property Taxes 2002 Versus 2016-Part 5

Townships Average 37.20% Increase in Tax Levy

Today McHenry County Blog is revealing numbers for Townships.

In summary from 2002 to 2016:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 33.8%.

County Population increased by 10.55%.
County Assessments have increased 29.44%.
Township tax collections increased by 37.20%.

A levy increase more than 33.8% and identifies government bodies that are living beyond the taxpayers’ ability to pay OR the voters approved referendums which increased levies.

  • Greenwood and Richmond Townships are the top tax increasers at more than 79%.
  • Alden, Coral and Marengo Townships are at the lower end of tax increases, all have stayed below CPI with levy increases less than 15%
  • Heartland Township has actually reduced their levy since 2002—with a reduction of 1.89%

The contents of the table below were extracted from the McHenry County display of property taxes for 2002 and 2016.

Part 1 on McHenry County numbers can be found here: Comparing McHenry County Propery Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 1.

Part 2 on Library & Park district numbers can be found here: Comparing Library and Park District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 2.

Part 3 on Fire district numbers can be found here: Comparing Fire District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 3

Part 4 on School district numbers can be found here: Comparing School District Property Taxes 2002 Through 2016-Part 4

Bob Miller Favors Son-in-Law Derek Lee with $5,000 More in “Miscellaneous” Algonquin Township Road District Income Than His Other Son-in-Law

The employee who got the highest amount since 2013 of what is labeled as “misc” income on Algonquin Township Road District payroll records was Highway Commissioner Bob Miller’s wife and administrative assistant Anna May Miller.

Anna May Miller

Anna May Miller received $31,146 over four-plus years in unexplained payments from the beginning of 2013 until her husband’s term ran out as a result of losing a close February, 2017, GOP Primary Election race to McHenry County Board member Andrew Gasser.

Anna May Miller Took Home $31,146 in “Misc” Income Since 2013.

Son-in-law Andrew Rosencrans pulled in $24,235 during the same period.

Bob Miller

Bob Miller Son-in-Law Andrew Rosencrans Received Over $24,000 in “Miscellaneous” Income from Algonquin Township Road District Since 2013

But that was about $5,000 less than the Miller’s other son-in-law Derek Lee, who was paid $30,355

Derek Lee

As with all three Miller family members, Lee’s largess peaked right before Christmas.

Unlike his brother-in-law Rosencrans, Lee received sizable payments during the summer and his near-Christmas were considerable larger.

Lee is married to attorney Rebecca Lee.

See also

2-13-18 Looking at Miscellaneous Income Paid Algonquin Township Highway Department Employees Since 2012

2-14-18 Anna May Miller Took Home $31,146 in “Misc” Income since 2013

2-15-18 Bob Miller Son-in-Law Andrew Rosencrans Received Over $24,000 in “Miscellaneous” Income from Algonquin Township Road District Since 2013

David Gervais Sworn In as McHenry County Circuit Judge

David Gervais being sworn in as a McHenry County Circuit Court Judge by Chief Judge Michael Sullivan.

Crystal Lake attorney David Gervais was sworn in as McHenry County’s newest Circuit Court Judge Thursday.

Gervais was selected by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas and will be assigned to Traffic Court replacing appointed Judge Tiffany Davis, who was sworn in last September.

In a long speech, he outlined how he had wanted to be an attorney since 8th grade and the work it had taken to earn enough money to attend college and, later, law school at Chicago Kent School of Law.

I am hopeful his remarks will be posted on YouTube in the near future.

Dave Gervais before someone passed him a box of tissues.

The video will be too long for most people to view, but those who want to know what kind of a judge Gervais will be would do well to listen to it.

Certainly, attorneys practicing before him will look before an important case.

And how often does one see a Judge shedding tears?

After the talk, members of the public were allowed to comment.

Former lawyer associate Tom Leahy sent me the remarks he made, which are published below:

I’m Tom Leahy. I’ve been a McHenry County lawyer since 1972; and was privileged to be a member of Dave Gervais’ law firm since 2004 – until I recently retired.

In 2004, my prior law firm dissolved because of the retirement of one of my partners.

Then, Dave graciously invited me to join his firm.

I gladly accepted since he was well-respected, and I was only 57 and not ready to retire.

I thought I’d practice law for 4 or 5 more years.

Somehow, that 4 or 5 years stretched into almost 14, and the bet at the firm became: who would leave first, Dave or I.

David Gervais

Appropriately, Dave’s appointment to the bench made our departures virtually simultaneous.The Law Office of David R. Gervais was a wonderful place to practice law.

Dave, the staff, and lawyers he brought to the firm were smart, ethical, conscientious, dedicated and compassionate; and they shared Dave’s philosophy that the clients always came first.

We have been through a lot together at the firm, during those 14 years.

We experienced some difficult personal losses; but we also shared many happy milestones… and, I got to know Dave well – like a brother.

He really is a lawyer’s lawyer.

He has practiced law for 36 years and has a deep respect, love for, and dedication to it.

He was always enthusiastic about the whole complex process of meeting with clients, hearing their stories/ problems, handling and worrying about their cases, yet confident he could help them.

Dave had a special knack for calming client’s anxieties, earning their trust, and guiding them to the right decisions.

He also knows how to listen well.

He has a quietly stubborn persistence, and an acute sense of fairness which served his clients well.

His advice was always sound and he was not afraid of difficult cases.

He has been a credit to our profession.

Tom Leahy

I have a lot more I could say about Dave, especially his fierce pride in his French ancestry and all the French memorabilia at the firm (not to mention his other accomplishments, interests and abilities).

But I’m reminded of some profound advice I received once from Judge Condon during a motion to strike argument, and I still remember his words clearly: “Mr. Leahy, I’ve heard enough, your motion is denied.”

So, I’ll just add: Dave is a pretty remarkable person; and I’ll close with:

Judge Gervais is a good man, he’s loyal and generous.

He will be an excellent judge; he has the temperament, experience, intellect and the heart … he cares.

Finally, I’d like to congratulate Dave on being a great man …and thank him for being my very good friend.

Here’s to the French!

Gervais also alluded to his French name and demonstrated his sense of humor by ending his talk with

“Let eat some cake.”

After shaking a lot of hands in the standing room only courtroom, many in the audience went up to the jury room and ask some cake.

Beth Marcello

Beth Marchello, a long-time friend and former law client, expressed her appreciation at Gervais’ kind words about his education.

She met Gervais when she approached him to allow one of two of her McHenry High School students who wanted to become legal secretaries to work in his office a day each week.

Gervais took them both on.

His decision may have come from having been in a similar program  while a senior attending Crystal Lake Central High School working for Algonquin Township Assessor Forrest B. Hare (with my little sister Ellen).

A former colleague who came from Michigan for the ceremony told of Gervais’ as a perfectionist.

The example she used was of an Illinois Supreme Court brief she wrote.

“You can do better,” he repeatedly advised her.

And, she explained, they won the case.

She told lawyers in attendance that they better be prepared when they appear before the new judge.

Drug & Sex Abuse Arrests in McHenry

A press release from the McHenry County Sheriff:

Sex Abuse Charges Lead to Two Arrests; Drug Charges Added

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force (which includes Task Force Officers from Lake in the Hills PD and McHenry City PD) and the U.S. Marshals Service Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force announced the arrests Thursday of Joseph McCormick, 33, and Amber Cechini, 27, for selling illegal drugs in the McHenry area.

In the morning hours, members of the two Task Forces and detectives from the City of McHenry Police Department served an arrest warrant on McCormick for 3 counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse.

The warrant was obtained after an investigation by the City of McHenry Police Department and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office into complaints of sex abuse and illegal drug activity.

While serving the arrest warrant for McCormick at his residence in McHenry, detectives observed evidence of illegal drugs and rapidly obtained a search warrant.

A search of the residence resulted in the seizure of 9.3 grams of methamphetamine; 8 Alprazolam pills; packaging materials; multiple items of drug paraphernalia; and $2,015 in cash. The estimated street value of the illegal drugs totaled $1,000.

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office encourages anyone with information regarding criminal activities to contact either the McHenry County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-762-STOP (7867),

The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office Tip Line at (815) 338-2144, or the tip line email address;

[email protected] Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the offender(s).

Joseph McCormick

Arrested:  Joseph M. McCormick, Male, 33, McHenry, Illinois

Charges:

  • Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine (class 1)
  • Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine (class 2)
  • Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (class 4)
  • Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (class A)
  • 3 Counts – Aggravated Criminal Sex Abuse (class 2)

Court Date: To Be Set

Bond: $70,000.00

Arrested: Amber A. Cechini,  Female, 27, McHenry, Illinois

Charges:

  • Unlawful Delivery of Methamphetamine (class 1)
  • Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine (class 2)
  • Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance (class 4)
  • Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia (class A)

Court Date and Bond: To Be Set

The charges against these individuals are merely allegations against them. All defendants are
presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Wilbrandt Takes on McClellan in Judge Mailing

Appointed Judge Robert Wilbrandt has mailed out what political observers would characterize as a “hit piece.”

Knowing that when one woman is on the ballot running against three men, Wilbrandt’s mailing points out what he considers weaknesses of opponent McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan.

It’s content is below:

Robert Wilbrandt uses this side of his post card to characterize Mary McClellan’s background in unflattering terms.

Comparing School District Property Taxes 2002 Through 2016-Part 4

63.98% Average Increase for School Districts

Today McHenry County Blog is revealing numbers for School Districts

In summary from 2002 to 2016:

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has increased by 33.8%.

County Population increased by 10.55%.
County Assessments have increased 29.44%.
School District tax collections increased by 63.98%.

A levy increase more than 33.8% and identifies government bodies that are living beyond the taxpayers’ ability to pay OR the voters approved referendums which increased levies.

Three McHenry County school districts increased property taxes over 100% in fourteen year time.

  • Riley CCSD #18 topped the list at 122.17% increase
  • CCSD #300 in Hampshire, Carpentersville and parts of Algonquin & LITH saw a 101.79% increase
  • Huntley CCSD #158 residents saw a 100.07% increase in property taxes
  • McHenry CCSD #15 increased taxes 99.87%

The contents of the table below were extracted from the McHenry County display of property taxes for 2002 and 2016.

Part 1 on McHenry County numbers can be found here: Comparing McHenry County Propery Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 1.

Part 2 on Library & Park district numbers can be found here: Comparing Library and Park District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 2.

Part 3 on Fire district numbers can be found here: Comparing Fire District Tax 2002 Versus 2016-Part 3

McHenry County Jail Inmate Probably Dies of “Perforated Duodenal Ulcer with Spillage of Fecal Contents into Abdominal Cavity”

A press release from McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski about the death of McHenry County Jail inmate anr Spring Grove resident Jody Fortino, aged 48,  after being taken to Centegra Hospital in McHenry.

The Coroner reports “no evidence of foul play or trauma was found.”

The McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team issued the following press release:

McHENRY COUNTY MAJOR INVESTIGATION ASSISTANCE TEAM INVESTIGATES THE DEATH OF WOMAN INCARCERATED AT THE McHENRY COUNTY JAIL

On Wednesday morning February 14th, 2018 the McHenry County Sheriff Office (MCSO) requested the assistance of the McHenry County Major Investigation Assistance Team (MIAT) to conduct an investigation into the death of a forty-eight year old female who was in the custody of the McHenry County Jail.

MIAT was subsequently activated and assigned to conduct a full independent investigation in accordance with Illinois State Law.

At the time of this release the name of the deceased female inmate is being withheld pending release by the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

The task force will work cooperatively the McHenry County Coroner’s Office in order to ensure an accurate cause and manner of death is determined.

At this time the circumstances surrounding the investigation are not suspicious in nature but the investigation remains ongoing.

When further information becomes available MIAT will release further details in conjunction with the Coroner’s Office.

MIAT is committed to maintaining the integrity of the independent investigations they conduct.

No further information will be released by MIAT at this time.

McSweeney Working to Defeat Rauner-Madigan Teacher Pension Shift to Local Property Taxpayers

David McSweeney

State Rep. David McSweeney took up the fight to prevent the enactment of the shift of burden for teacher pensions from state taxpayers to local real estate tax payers.

He has introduced House Resolution 27, which

“States the opinion of the Illinois House of Representatives that the proposed educational pension cost shift from the State of Illinois to local school districts, community colleges, and institutions of higher education is financially wrong.”

Yesterday, he was actively seeking co-sponsors.

Here are the sponsors so far:

Rep. David McSweeney – Sam Yingling – Jerry Costello, II – Jay Hoffman, Norine K. Hammond, Allen Skillicorn, Bill Mitchell, Linda Chapa LaVia, Brandon W. Phelps, Stephanie A. Kifowit, Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, Katie Stuart, Terri Bryant, LaToya Greenwood, Sue Scherer, Deb Conroy, David B. Reis, Natalie A. Manley, John Cavaletto, C.D. Davidsmeyer, Charles Meier, Randy E. Frese, Michael Halpin, John Connor, Daniel J. Burke, Emanuel Chris Welch, Anna Moeller, Tony McCombie, Will Guzzardi, Litesa E. Wallace, Peter Breen, Carol Ammons, Monica Bristow, Natalie Phelps Finnie and Kelly M. Burke.

Michael Rein’s Mardi Gras Fundraiser Tonight

Tonight is Michael Rein’s fundraiser for his race for a 2nd term on the McHenry County Board.

Michael has been a vocal member of the Board, continually seeking ways to reduce spending.

In 2016 Rein was assigned to the Human Resources, Internal Support, Public Health & Community Services Committees along with the Stormwater Management and Senior Service Grant Commissions.

Invitation to Michael Rein’s 2018 Mardi Gras fundraiser.

The event will be located at

The Loft on the Historic Woodstock Square
110-1/2 N. Benton St.
Woodstock, IL

Bob Miller Son-in-Law Andrew Rosencrans Received Over $24,000 in “Miscellaneous” Income from Algonquin Township Road District Since 2013

Irregular payments ranging from $100 to $1,500 were added to regular paychecks of Algonquin Township Highway Department employee Andrew Rosencrans since 2013.

Rosencrans is one of former Road Commissioner Bob Miller sons-in-law who worked for his father-in-law until both were fired by Andrew Gasser right after Gasser was sworn into office as Miller’s successor.

Bob Miller

Excluding the $24,235 in what is identified as “misc” income on payroll records obtained by McHenry County Blog through a Freedom of Information request, Rosencrans earned $274,289 over the approximately fifty-three month period.

Similar to miscellaneous payments made to his mother-in-law, Anna May Miller, her husband’s administrative assistant, Rosencrans’ largess peaked just prior to Christmas. Anna May Miller Took Home $31,146 in “Misc” Income Since 2013.

Base pay for was $2,200 to $2,300 per pay period during the last four and half months Miller was in office.

Pre-Christmas payments for the holiday before Miller lost the February Republican Primary Election totaled $3,700.

The payments continued after the election loss.

Rosencrans received $1,200 in similar unexplained payments as his father-in-law’s term expired.

Melissa Victor Makes Issue Out of Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser Legal and Computer Forensic Audit Bills

Algonquin Township Trustee Melissa Victor took exception to paying two of Algonquin Township Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser’s bills.

Trustees Melissa Victor and David Chapman challenged two of Road Commissioner Andrew Gasser’s bill.

She argued that attorney Robert Hanlon’s bill should not be approved, nor should the one to pay for a forensic audit of the Highway Department computers.

“I don’t believe the case [against Local 150 of the Operating Engineers] has any merit,” she said.

“$40,000 is way too much.

“We need to put a stop to it.”

With regard to the computer examination, Victor said, “We need to know if it’s Mr. Gasser’s role to investigate.”

Attorney Jim Kelly observed that he did not know what the forensic audit was for, but that duties of township officials were specifically stated in the Township Code.

Senior Trustee Dan Shea said,

“My experience is that we really don’t have the authority [not of pay] if there’s enough money in the line item.”

Trustee David Chapman refused to second the motion not to pay Hanlon’s legal bill, but said,

“We need to draw a line in the sand.

“A quarter of a million dollars needs to stop.

“I’m not comfortable with not paying…the legal bill, but this is it.”

Andrew Gasser

Road Commissioner Gasser was allowed to speak.

“I have a duty as Highway Commissioner to look for every single record.”

He pointed out that CCleaner had been used to wipe out the hard drive.

“Two drives were actually removed and I would never have know this without [the audit]>

“When you find somebody deliberately pulling out a hard dive and replacing it…it’s completely within my authority.”

On the motion not to pay the legal bill, the vote was tied with Victor and Chapman voting in favor and Shea and Supervisor Chuck Lutzow voting on the other side of the question.

“The Clerk doesn’t break the tie?” Chapman asked.

“No,” answered attorney Kelly.

“What happens next month if there’s a $40,000 bill?” Victor asked.

“We don’t pay it,” Chapman replied.

Township Clerk Karen Lukasik then complained that she did not have the original forensic audit.

Gasser explained that all had been sent the computer PDF.

“All I have is the PDF and you have that.”

Gasser offered to print off a copy for Lukasik.

With regard to Hanlong’s legal bills, Shea explained, “My concern is that if we don’t pay, he’ll go into court and sue us.”

“That’s right,” said Gasser.

After the discussion audience member Mike Tauler explained that CCleaner is “a commeon tool.  It does not any sort of secure delete.  It’s used for cleaning up registry files, temporary files and cookies?” (See correction in comment section.)

Rachael Lawrence did not attend the meeting.

= = = = =
Read about the forensic audit here.

Governor Rauner’s Budget Address

Governor Bruce Rauner outlined his budget today.

Governor urges pension reform, $1 billion tax cut

FY19 budget to fund top priorities through expense control, cost shifts

SPRINGFIELD (Feb. 14, 2018) — Gov. Bruce Rauner today urged the Illinois General Assembly to make comprehensive pension reforms and use the savings to give the people of Illinois a nearly $1 billion tax break. The prompt came during the governor’s annual budget address to legislators where he laid out his fiscal plan for 2019.

The plan Rauner submitted will produce a surplus provided legislators agree to contain expenses and shift responsibility for paying local pension costs.

“If we can agree on the fiscal framework set out in our FY19 budget,” Rauner said, “we will plug a $2 billion hole in the state’s pocketbook, avoid new taxes, fund top priorities, and start the long process of paying down our bill backlog with cash instead of credit.”

The FY19 surplus budget does not bank on the so-called consideration model for state pensions. But the governor challenged legislators to adopt the model and cut Illinois taxes by nearly $1 billion.

“Let’s make these reforms to grow the economy faster and make the Amazons and Apples of the world take notice,” Rauner said.

“Our FY19 budget sets out to make the structural reforms that will get us moving in the right direction,” he continued. “It reduces government expense but not customer service. It shifts responsibility for the cost of services to the people who buy those services. And it recognizes that we will never have balanced budgets if government grows faster than our economy.”

Schools to pay their own pensions costs

Under the governor’s plan, school districts and universities would begin to pay their own pension costs, resulting in savings of $591 million in FY19. The pension cost realignment would be phased in over the next four years in 25 percent per year increments. The phase-in is designed to help local governments adjust to the new payment plans.

“School districts would be able to offset the costs with increases they receive from the new school funding formula,” Rauner said. “We will also give local government the tools they need to reducetheir costs, including the power to consolidate or dissolve units of government and more flexibility in contracting, bidding and sharing services.”

Universities will get $101 million from the state to offset the first-year pension expense.

Rauner said another $470 million would be saved by right-sizing state employee health plans so government workers assume more of the cost of their health care insurance. Today, the state pays for platinum-level health plans for every employee. The premium is just over $18,000 per year per employee, or 35 percent higher than private-sector premiums.

“State government needs to do what every employer in Illinois has done over the last 10 years: Get itshealth care costs under control,” Rauner said. “Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for government employee health insurance policies that are richer than the ones they can afford for themselves.”

The proposed budget includes a provision for the sale of the Thompson Center in Chicago for $300 million, a move that nets $240 million after paying expenses to move employees to new, more productive work locations.

Rauner is again asking the General Assembly to reduce workers’ compensation insurance rates, a move that would save the state $20 million in FY19, spark new business activity and create thousands of jobs.

Plan includes record K-12 education funding

With the savings, Rauner intends to spend a record $8.3 billion on preK-12 education, including $350 million of new money distributed through the more equitable funding formula. Since 2015, Rauner’s first year in office, preK-12 funding has risen a cumulative $3.7 billion. Early childhood education will get $454 million, up 55 percent since 2015.

The governor’s budget brings an end to funding reductions for university and community college systems. It adds $100 million in capital funds to meet deferred maintenance needs. It maintains MAP grants at FY18 levels and lays the foundation for increased MAP funding in the future. It allots money to offset the first year of pension and group health costs that come as a result of the shift of pension cost responsibility.

The FY19 spending plan retains service levels for health and human services. Child care, for example, will continue to be funded at 185 percent of the federal poverty level. Service for the aging will be delivered at the same level but at less cost. The cost savings will include adjustments in managed care and better alignment with actual demand. Medicaid spending will total $14.2 billion to provide care for 3.1 million eligible patients.

Rauner’s FY19 plan promises to increase IDOT funding levels with $2.2 billion in pay-as-you-go appropriations for its annual road program. It adds $511 million for infrastructure improvements. If the FY19 budget is approved, the administration’s new transportation infrastructure spending since 2016 will total nearly $10 billion.

The administration has been actively engaged in conversations over the last year with the White House and the U.S. Department of Transportation about an infrastructure program.

“As the plan announced this week works its way through Congress,” Rauner said, “we will work closely with our Illinois Congressional delegation to maximize the return on Illinois’ investments in its infrastructure.

Public safety spending takes into account efficiencies from reduced prison and juvenile populations plus job and life skills programs adopted by the Department of Corrections. Rauner also has prioritized funding to fight the opioid epidemic and for cadet classes that will add up to 300 new state police troopers.

Video of the budget address will be available here.

The full budget may be viewed here.

Legislative reactions that have been received follow:

Sen. Althoff reacts to Gov. Rauner’s State Budget Address

Springfield, IL… State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) releases the following statement regarding Governor Bruce Rauner’s State Budget Address:

Pam Althoff

“Today, the Governor presented the General Assembly with his budget plan along with statutory changes that together create a balanced budget. Not only is his FY19 budget plan balanced, but it does not include a single tax increase.

“Not everything the Governor presented today I will agree with, and certainly not everything he presented will the Democrat majority agree with, but his plan lays a good working foundation for the General Assembly. By engaging with each other in an understanding manner, we can work out our differences and pass a budget that is not only balanced but one that legislators on both sides of the aisle can get behind.

“The Governor has made the tough choices. Some of those choices I don’t necessarily agree with, but nonetheless, he did his job and created a balanced budget. It’s now time for the General Assembly to undergo the standard negotiation process.”

GOVERNOR KICKS THE CAN TO LOCAL TAXPAYERS

Allen Skillicorn

Today Governor Bruce Rauner proposed the largest property tax hike in Illinois history. The Governor is banking on passing almost $1.3B to local municipalities and in turn to our property taxes. This isn’t just kicking the can down the road, it’s kicking the can to local taxpayers who are already being taxed out of their homes.

Speaker Michael Madigan has been waiting for the opportunity to implement this pension shift for years and he has now found the perfect tool to do so in Governor Bruce Rauner, who has again demonstrated that he isn’t in charge by bending to Speaker Madigan’s will.

I am committed to continuing the fight for real and substantial cuts to spending, not higher property taxes for as long as the people of the 66th District grant me the privilege and honor to serve.

Here are State Senator Dan McConchie’s thoughts:

David McSweeney

State Rep. David McSweeney commented,

“Governor Rauner proposed another unbalanced budget that relies on high taxes. The phony Rauner budget also includes the Madigan pension cost shift that would cause a massive increase in property taxes.”

This has been received from State Senator Karen McConnaughay:

Sen. McConnaughay reacts to Gov. Rauner’s State Budget Address

Springfield, IL… State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) releases the following statement regarding Governor Bruce Rauner’s State Budget Address:

Karen McConnaughay

“The Governor presented a Fiscal Year 2019 budget plan that along with some cost-saving statutory changes, is balanced and lays a working foundation for the General Assembly.

“It’s certain that not everything the Governor presented in his plan will be agreed upon by lawmakers on the other side of the aisle.

“In fact, there are parts that I don’t agree with; however, I recognize the hard choices the Governor had made to ensure that he was providing the General Assembly with a balanced budget.

“Over the last couple years, the Governor has continuously made these tough decisions—decisions that the Democrat majority has failed to make. Instead of fulfilling the General Assembly’s responsibility to pass a balanced budget, last year they enacted an FY18 budget over the Governor’s veto that left the state with a $600 million budget hole.

“The Governor’s proposal is just the start of a long negotiation process that the legislature now has to undergo.

“But, by engaging and collaborating with lawmakers from across the aisle, we can work out our differences and provide the people of Illinois with a balanced budget that they deserve and so desperately need.”