Time to Think about Next Spring’s Elections

Nancy Gonsiorek

Nancy Gonsiorek

While attention is being focused on this November’s elections, filing for next spring’s municipal, school, junior college, park district and lesser districts happen shortly after the election.

At the Republican Party’s Headquarter’s Grand Opening last Thursday night, Crystal Lake Grade School Board member Nancy Gonsiorek told me that she is not running for another term.

She has served two and thinks that is enough, that it is time for new blood.

With seven on the board, there will be at least two vacancies.

School boards spend the bulk of the property tax dollars in McHenry County–$531,992,680.66–when junior colleges are included.

That’s out of a total of $797,394,337.99 on McHenry County tax bills this year.

Virtually all school districts take every dime they are allowed by state law.

The Property Tax Cap allows local governments to obtain 1.5%, plus new buildings.

Below is a table showing what was requested last year (called the “extension”) for countywide governments, junior colleges and school districts, plus what will be requested of taxpayers this year.  (Remember that the property tax cycle is always on year behind, so the 2012 extension was collected in 2013 and the 2013 extension will be collected this year.)

Tax District 2012 Extension 2013 Extension % Change
McHenry County 78,535,191 78,627,451 0.12%
McHenry County Conservation District 19,565,165 19,713,015 0.76%
Elgin Community College 4,368,547 3,984,898 -8.78% McH Co only
McHenry County College 26,917,740 26,922,036 0.02%
Grade School Districts
Nippersink (Richmond-Spring Grove) Grade School Dist 2 10,779,926 12,101,943 12.26%
Fox River Grove Grade School Dist 3 5,552,780 5,551,436 -0.02%
McHenry Grade School Dist 15 46,121,592 47,596,924 3.20%
Riley Grade School Dist 18 3,672,942 3,747,447 2.03%
Cary Grade School Dist 26 21,997,245 22,505,622 2.31%
Harrison (Wonder Lake) Grade School Dist 36 4,411,171 4,489,751 1.78%
Prairie Grove Grade School Dist 46 9,966,783 9,934,965 -0.32%
Crystal Lake Grade School Dist 47 69,275,174 70,715,547 2.08%
High School Districts
Marengo Grade School Dist 165 6,593,399 6,705,516 1.70%
Marengo High School Dist 154 9,535,261 9,775,357 2.52%
Crystal Lake High School Dist 155 70,415,851 71,672,171 1.78%
McHenry High School Dist 156 25,581,470 25,385,979 -0.76%
Richmond-Burton High School Dist 157 10,375,229 10,678,728 2.93%
Unit School Districts
Johnsburg Unit School Dist 12 19,949,096 20,707,035 3.80%
Alden-Hebron Unit School Dist 19 4,246,359 4,056,732 -4.47%
Harvard Unit School Dist 50 13,729,426 14,116,821 2.82%
Wauconda Unit School Dist 118 6,649,265 6,723,377 1.11% McH Co only
Huntley Unit School Dist 158 49,948,610 51,621,632 3.35% McH Co only
Woodstock Unit School Dist 200 58,177,080 58,706,774 0.91%
Barrington Unit School Dist 220 4,868,733 4,238,905 -12.94% McH Co only
Carpentersville Unit School Dist 300 47,967,724 49,090,325 2.34% McH Co only


Time to Think about Next Spring’s Elections — 4 Comments

  1. The following document describes the entire property tax process including tax cap exceptions.

    Bond debt service for instance is outside the tax cap.

    Exceptions are why taxes can increase more than the tax cap.

    Illinois Department of Revenue.

    Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) Technical Manual

    Just because taxes are not increasing much is not necessarily a good indicator that taxpayer interests are being served by the taxing district.

    The overall financial health of the taxing district includes various factors depending on the taxing district.

    Eight major categories to consider:

    Unfunded pensions.

    Unfunded retiree healthcare.

    Unpaid bills (State of Illinois a notorious offender).

    Non referendum bonds issued (should be legal only under extreme emergency, not nice to take people’s money without asking permission).

    Refunding existing bonds to extend debt service (lengthen the payback period to reduce current payments).

    TIFs (money diverted to TIF district which would otherwise go to taxing district).

    Current salary and benefit increases.

    Current spending (are costs competitive).

    Various other hide and seek, and/or kick the can games to keep current taxes low and maintain a good PR image.

  2. Following up on yesterday’s comment about the overall financial health of the taxing district.
    Look what shows up today.

    As noted by Wirepoints.com, look what appears in the June 2014 edition of Governing the States and

    Finance 101 – The Special Series.

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Public Finance.

    “There’s no sure-fire way to get fiscal policy right. But there are a few simple ways to get it disastrously wrong.”

    by Liz Farmer.

    This is part of the ongoing Finance 101 series that breaks down the basics of public finance for public officials.

    1. Balancing the Budget with One-Time Fixes.

    2. Ignoring the Long-Term Consequences of a Deal.

    3. Taking on Too Much.

    4. Misapplying a Temporary Windfall.

    5. Shortchanging Pension Obligations.

    6. Making Unrealistic Projections About Rate of Return.

    7. Ignoring Financial Checks and Balances.


  3. The schools suck every last dollar we have left for stupidity like buying iPads for students.

    They waste our money, line their pockets, and no one in government wants to be the ones who say no to their requests for increasing taxes.

    W A S T E! W A S T E! W A S T E!

    And still the children come out of those schools talking like they don’t know anything.

    The worst misuse of taxpayer money in the history of our country.

    Oh, I forgot to say what’s politically correct….

    But, it’s for the children….Yeah, right.

    At $13,000 per McHenry County student, per year, that’s more than some universities.

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