Legislative Committee Deliberations on MCCD Tax Hike Proposals

I was going to get up early Thursday to attend the McHenry County Board’s Legislative Committee re-consideration of endorsement resolutions of Pam Althoff’s two bills to allow the Conservation District to raise taxes (one needing voter referendum approval, one not).

But, with House Sponsor Mike Tryon making it clear that he is not going to call the bills for a vote in his chamber, the Legislative Committee members are off the hook today.

You still deserve to see what the discussion was on the two proposals, so below you can see the minutes from the first time the proposals were discussed:

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Legislative Committee Deliberations on MCCD Tax Hike Proposals — 10 Comments

  1. Non-referendum bonds should only be used in case of extreme emergency such as a natural disaster or something catastrophic.

    Too many governments in Illinois issue non-referendum bonds on a regular bases, every so many years.

    Now that EAV went down due to the recession governments have been on a non-referendum bond spree which increases taxes.

    Boards should have a policy prohibiting non-referendum bonds, even if state law allows non-referendum bonds.

    It’s not polite to take peoples money without asking them first.

  2. Is conserving taxpayer dollars a primary goal of the McHenry County Conservation District?

    Look at their Mission Statement and Vision.

    “Mission Statement

    McHenry County Conservation District exists to preserve, restore, and manage natural areas and open spaces for their intrinsic value and for the benefits to present and future generations.


    By the year 2020, McHenry County Conservation District will be a premiere public agency in the country for preserving, protecting and managing open space. Residents will have developed a personal responsibility for their local environment, gained a greater appreciation for their natural world and invested into ensuring its future protection.

    Achieving this vision will: Inspire respect for the land; Promote sound environmental practices; Promote the long-term viability of the county’s biodiversity; Provide opportunities for responsible use of the land in concert with natural resources; Promote environmental stewardship; Provide quality experiences that promote green, healthy and balanced lifestyles; Connect children to nature and; Foster public and private partnerships.

    Promoting Conservation, Education and Recreation

    McHenry County Conservation District owns or manages over 25,000 acres of open land diverse with woodlands, prairies, wetlands, ponds, creeks, and rivers. Thirty-three sites are currently open to the public year-round featuring trails, picnic shelters, camp sites, fishing sites, rare plant and animal examples, educational facilities, and more. In addition, within the District’s sites there are 17 dedicated State Nature Preserves.”

    No mention of being fiscally conservative.

    No mention of the taxpayer.

    Just a grandiose vision.

    Nothing wrong with a grandiose vision but it should be balanced with those funding the development of that vision.

    It would be nice MCCD to give taxpayers a taxpayer budget forecast of how much taxpayers can expect their property taxes to be hiked in the next 5 years.

    Of course a taxpayer can look at their bills for the last 5 years and use those hikes as an estimate for the future.

    The MCCD site mentions how the districts is funded.

    “Funding for the District is a result of its ability to levy an annual tax not to exceed 1/10th of one percent of the assessed valuation of the county and is based upon a duly adopted budget and appropriation ordinance on which there has been a public hearing. Supplemental monies may be made available through state and federal open space or recreational grants.”

    The MCCD site does mention a referendum bond.

    “When McHenry County Conservation District successfully passed, by voter approval, a $73 million Bond Referendum in 2007, the goals were to first purchase and protect natural areas, significant wetlands, endangered and threatened species habitats, and link existing sites.”

    Not enough.

    They want more money.

  3. MCCD is trying to get around debt limits through legislation.

    That is not the correct approach.

    A referendum is the correct approach.

    Both Referendum debt and Non-referendum debt are debt, and both should be counted in the debt limit.

    Why would doing so be an unintended consequence.

    Refunding bonds is also debt and should also count towards the debt limit.

    MCCD seems to be using creative writing to create an unintended consequence to get more money from voters, with or without voter approval.

    If MCCD wants money over and above the tax cap, MCCD should have a tax rate or bond referendum.

  4. Why would you want to make it easier for the government to get your money?

  5. Would a citizen- initiated referendum be possible, to force liquidation of MCCD assets?

    Isn’t McHenry County well in excess of State statute capping debt at 2.87% of assessed value?

    While I understand there are loopholes that have allowed debt to mushroom, isn’t there a point at which we homeowners should seek protection from some bigger bully than our local rulers?

    What about initiating a bankruptcy on belhalf of the county?

    It is clear from McConnaughay’s statement that her indifference for the wellbeing of county citizens is only exceeded by her contempt for our intelligence.

    What can we do to legally protect ourselves from her and hers?

  6. Mark: Thank you for educating us on the long history of unbounded spending of MCCD.

    Facts carry the day.

    Ms. Althoff and McConnaughey are closet liberals.

  7. Connect the dots: Koehler, Hackmatack, McHenry Conservation Foundation, uneducated McHenry voters, etc.

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