Commentary from State Senator Pam Althoff:
Senate Bill 3341 gives McHenry County Conservation District more budget flexibility
Improving fiscal management in Illinois has always been a top priority for me.
I continue to fight for long-term budget solutions and sound fiscal practices, which is why I supported Senate Bill 3341—legislation that increases budget flexibility for the McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD).
In response to concerns about how Senate Bill 3341 would affect taxes in McHenry County, I can assure you the intent of this legislation is not to allow the McHenry County Conservation District to increase taxes, but rather give MCCD more financial flexibility in developing and maintaining property for the purposes of conservation and recreational use.
Senate Bill 3341 does three main things—it corrects an issue recently discovered by an attorney for the McHenry County Conservation District, allows MCCD to set up refunded bonds, and provides MCCD more flexibility in opening up conservation sites to public access.
All conservation districts have the ability to issue non-referendum bonds up to the statutory debt limit of .575%.
However, as McHenry County is the largest conservation district in the state, it has a debt limit of 1.725% in state statute.
Twenty years ago, MCCD received the authority to ask voters, by referendum, to issue bonds. Recently, the McHenry County Conservation District received an opinion from the bond counsel that there needs to be clarification on the intent of the statute, which is to allow MCCD to issue non-referendum bonds up to .575%, just like every other conservation district, and then ask for voter approval to issue referendum bonds that would increase the debt limit above .575%, yet below 1.725%.
By not considering the counsel’s opinion to make the change, as specified in Senate Bill 3341, the McHenry County Conservation District would be penalized for asking for voter approval to issue bonds.
This legislation corrects that and ensures that MCCD retains its good government principles.
While some believe this legislation is comparable to “an identity thief pulling a cash-out refinancing from your home and keeping the cash for themselves,” the better comparison would be “paying down the principal on your mortgage and refinancing to get a better rate long term.”
Senate Bill 3341 passed both the Illinois House of Representatives (91-23-0) and the Senate (48-0-0) this year and awaits final approval by the Governor.
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The bill is on Governor Pat Quinn’s desk.
Here is the link to Governor Pat Quinn’s email account:
Tell him what you want him to do–sign or veto it.