51 Days Since Mayor Aaron Shepley Raised the Crystal Lake Sales Tax 75%

So, I went looking for Crystal Lake’s audit at the Crystal Lake Library.

As I wrote earlier, it wasn’t there, even though the very same audit included the audit of the library itself.

So, over to city hall I went.

I’ve looked at a lot of audits in my life. I served on the Legislative Audit Commission in the 1970’s. I even looked at some in the 1970’s for the City of Crystal Lake at the old city hall before it was sold off without public bidding.

Selling off public property without public bidding seems to be popular in McHenry County, by the way. That’s how the county board sold the old highway department building and the western part of the county fairgrounds. That’s where the Jewel shopping center is.

But, back to the most recent audit.

I was wondering how dire the city’s financial circumstances were.

The city must have been in real trouble for the majority of the city council to follow Mayor Aaron Shepley’s lead and hike the city sales tax 75%, wouldn’t you think?

So, click on the page that I have posted here. It’s a summary page entitled

“Summary of Expenditures”


Look at the bottom line.

No really.

It’s not a figure of speech. It’s where you see how much money the city had at the end of April, 2007. Click on the image and enlarge it.

The estimate listed is almost $16.6 million.

The year before it was $17.6 million.

The year before that $15.7 million.

Looks pretty healthy, doesn’t it? Especially, when one looks at the annual budget of $21-22 million.

At the end of April this past year, the city was projecting it would have almost $15 million in the bank.

A bit of a drop, but, hey, that’s what you hire a professional city manager and staff for.

Economize.

Make the expenditures match the revenue.

But Mayor Shepley declared, “…there is no waste.”

Mayor Shepley and all but one councilman, Jeff Thorsen, took the easy way out.

They raised taxes.

And that easy way out is exactly what Mayor Shepley and his followers on the city council did.

They voted for a sales tax hike that is estimated to bring in an extra $4.7 million.

Even if there were a $1 million short fall, why hike taxes by almost $5 million?

Oh, I forgot.

Lots of the money is going to be used for the very same purpose for which the Route 14 Vulcan Lakes Tax Increment Financing District was passed—developing recreational opportunities at Vulcan Lakes.

More will go to a senior citizen center.

Now that I’m a senior citizen, I’m trying to figure out why I need a center.

What else?

It must be so unimportant I can’t remember.

Looking it up, I see there was $100,000 for economic development. Anyone want to bet that pittance won’t offset the negatived economic incentives of the 75% city sales tax hike?

Oh, I forgot.

The “I Shop Crystal Lake” stickers will make the difference.

Tomorrow: How large should the end of year balance be for Crystal Lake?


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