Property Tax Hike Becoming County Board Top Issue – Part 2

The new 2012 map for the McHenry County Board. Click to enlarge.

After an overly long set-up yesterday, today we move into what office seekers who attended the McHenry County Young Republicans’ Candidates’ Forum said about the County Board’s having decided to maximize the amount of money it will take out of our pockets this summer.

Before beginning, let me remind you of those incumbents who voted to increase the tax levy so the tax take from property owners will be as high as allowed by state law.

Those running for re-election are in boldface type.

  • Robert Bless
  • Scott Breeden
  • Sue Draftcorn (a switch)
  • Mary Donner
  • Jim Heisler
  • Tina Hill (a switch)
  • John Jung
  • Donna Kurtz
  • Mary McCann
  • Pete Merkel
  • Anna May Miller (a switch)
  • Marc Munaretto
  • Kathy Bergan Schmidt
  • Ken Koehler

Candidates were allowed two minutes to introduce themselves. Some used the time to emphasize the tax hike issue.

Friday night it was Joe Gottemoeller, Nick Provenzano, Mary Alger, Sandy Salgado, John Hammerand and Ed Varga, (I was taking photos, so if I missed someone, let us know in the comment section.)

Nick Provenzano

Mary Alger

The tax issue surfaced in some of the opening comments.

John Hammerand

“I voted ‘No’ on the tax increase,” District 3 incumbent Provenzano said in his opening.

“I’m here to put the brakes on…raising taxes,” said Tea Party candidate Mary Alger, running in District 3.

“I voted ‘No’ on the tax increase,” District 4 incumbent Sandra Salgado chimed in.

And that was all before the tax hike question was asked.

Carolyn Schofield

Sandy Salgado

Crystal Lake City Councilwoman Carolyn Schoefield praised the process set in place to immediately begin an effort to see how the budget could be cut. She explained that her city “dipped into our reserves to lower the tax levy,” but noted, “the reserves are not limitless.”

“I voted against the budget increase,” John Hammerand said.

“If there’s money to be spent, we use it.”

District 4’s Ed Varga of Richmond:

Ed Varga

“I was upset about hearing about the tax levy, the last minute nature of it.

“Just go to each department and say, ‘You’ve got 5% less to spend.'”

Joe Gottemoeller

Having served on the McHenry County Board of Health, he pointed to an outside audit that said the local health department did more with less than any other Chicago area health department.

Joe Gottemoeller, a challenger in District 3, expanded on his opening remark by answering, “No” and pointing out that property taxes had increase from 2% of a home’s value to 4% since 1994.

“Government has to tighten its budget.”

Tom Wilbeck

“I’m not looking for increasing the tax levy,” explained District 2 challenger Tom Wilbeck. “That’s what got me involved on the very last day.”

He told that people asked, “Are you going to raise my taxes?” as he went door-to-door soliciting petition signatures.

Mary Donner

Incumbent Mary Donner of District 3 said, “I guess you get to hear frankly (from one in the) peanut gallery who voted, ‘Yes.'”

The Finance Committee member explained that the Committee started working on the budget in May. She pointed to mandates, e.g., courtrooms for two new judges.

“We are the smallest unit government [at least the smallest Illinois county] that has a Triple A bond rating.”

District 3 incumbent Nick Provenzano reiterated that he had voted against the $2.7 million increase. He pointed out that the Board had taken “an addition $1.2 million out of the tax reserves.

“That was a mistake.

“We need to relieve staff of some of the high level decisions. We have to stop spending where we don’t need to.”

Sandy Salgado

District 3’s Tea Party Republican, Mary Alger, said, “I would not have voted for the increase in taxes. I’ve looked at the notices that are tacked on houses.”

“I did not vote for the tax levy,” District 4’s Sandra Salgado repeated. She told of excesses in the budgets of “political figures.”

Salgado was told by a colleague, “That’s a great question, but you’re not the one to ask it.” She said the question involved “over $600,000.”

She said she “put a stop to elected officials salaries” going up.

Mary McClellan

“The office pays what it pays,” she observed. [Most county officials get about $100,000 a year.]

District 3 challenger Mary McClellan, first on her ballot, had this response:

“A resounding, ‘No.’

“Hold any County Board member responsible for the votes they made.”

Donna Kurtz

District 2 incumbent Donna Kurtz said,

“I voted for the tax levy because I believe in fiscal responsibility.

“We had labor contract’s and inflation of 1.5%. and that [was] what the tax levy [increase] was [for].

“Others wanted to use money earmarked for capital to pay for the [operating] expenses. That was [irresponsible].

Linda Murphy

Linda Kvidera Murphy of District 4 put in her two cents worth: “I also don’t support the increase in taxes. I think County Board members should be held accountable [for their votes].

Jim Heisler

“I did support the tax increase,” admitted District 2 incumbent Jim Heisler.

He explained he started out in opposition to the increase, but “wages got us corralled where we couldn’t back out of it.”

Crystal Lake Park District Commissioner Mike Walkup, a challenger in District 3, expresses his opposition to the hike.

Michael Walkup

“I agree with Cal [Skinner]. Set the number you have and [make] that number the [levy].

“The economy is not going to get better quickly,” he predicted.


How to Cut a Budget, Plus How to Provide Political Camouflage for Incumbent McHenry County Board Members“]

District 3 aspirant Jim Schlader was the last Friday participant to answer the tax question.

Jim Schlader

“People I talk to out on the streets are asking whether they’re going to but food or [pay taxes].

“I would not vote for that increase.”

Missing from the event were District 2 candidate Ken Koehler, the Chairman of the McHenry County Board.  Koehler voted for the tax hike.

Among the missing from District 3 was former Board member Linda (Lyn) Orphal.

Not taking part from District 4 were incumbent Sue Draffkorn, plus challenger Robert “Bob” M. Martens, Sr.  Draffkorn voted in favor of the tax  hike.

= = = = =
What District 5 and 6 candidates said Saturday night tomorrow.


Property Tax Hike Becoming County Board Top Issue – Part 2 — 7 Comments

  1. Couple of thoughts from a District 2 voter:

    1. Voting for Schofield and Wilbeck

    2. How does Koehler stay in office? It’s not just Illinois voters who send corrupt and taxing Democrats back in office. Chairman Koehler is a Republican version of what goes on in Chicago and Cook County.

    Forget re-election, his handling of the Bianchi inquisition, blind support of an out of control sheriff, the failed deal where he positioned himself to sell land he owned to Metra as an insider deal — that’s not grounds for not voting for him, those are grounds for impeachment. If it were an option.

    3. Supported Kurtz last time, but I’ve yet to see her stand up as she did on the MCC board.

    Supporting the tax increase is a strike and if she has made efforts to support honest and transparent government or stand up to the county powers and fight for change, darned if I’ve seen it. Doesn’t matter as she is a shoo-in for re-election. All we can do is let these “representatives” (HA!) of ours know that we are watching.

  2. Any politician that irresponsibly votes to increase taxes loses the votes of my family.

    Sorry Mr. Jung, if I have to more with much less, then you should be able to also.

  3. Wilbeck? He sent me a letter asking for money. No Bio etc. Who is this guy, he may or may not be O.K. but he is a big ? Mark

  4. Did you know that as a Township Trustee Jim Schlader, sitting in as the temporary Supervisor, orchestrated the increase of the levy against the proposed budget of Supervisor John Heisler, who was out of town that night?

    That’s right, he had the chance to run Township government for the day and he ignores the recommended levy with no increases in taxes and instead works with his colleagues to overturn that budget levy with their own tax hike.

    Does he think we weren’t watching?

    Now he goes to a County Board forum claims to be against tax increases. Maybe he get confused with the question at the forum?

    Why is it ok to raise taxes at the Township level but not the County?

  5. Sorry, please indulge one more thought.

    How does Mike Walkup claim to be against tax increases and a wise custodian of tax dollars when his record on the Park District board was one of seeking tax hikes?

  6. Just got my tax bill! It has increased 9.64% over last year!

    What the heck is going on?

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