Conservation District Asking for Slightly Less

As I have been trying to get through to folks, something called the “tax extension” is what people (including reporters) should concentrate on.

The extensions of all tax districts in McHenry County can be found on the McHenry County Clerk’s page of the county web site.

It is labeled, “Tax Computation Report.”

The link is here.

By using the control key and “F” key, and typing “Conservation,” I found the part of the report from last year that shows what the McHenry County Conservation District was allowed to request from taxpayers.

It is labeled, “Taxing District CVMC – MCHENRY CO CONSV” and can be found on page 4 of the “Tax Computation Report.”

This shows the detail of what the McHenry County Conservation District requested last year.  The tax year is always one year behind the calendar year, so this shows what was billed last year.  The amount collected is very close to the amount billed.

This shows the detail of what the McHenry County Conservation District requested last year. The tax year is always one year behind the calendar year, so this shows what was billed last year. The amount collected is very close to the amount billed.  The figure in the center of the bottom row, $19,713,015.16 is the tax extension.

While the County Clerk has not published this report for the taxes that will be collected this spring, MCCD’s Executive Director Elizabeth Kessler has provided the following explanation of what will be this year’s bottom line, that is, the extension:

The extension you provided in your email is from the year 2013 and collected in 2014 (FY 2015 Budget).

The extension for 2014 which will be collected in 2015 is $19,650,996.80 (FY 2016 Budget).

The District’s levy extension is less than it was in 2013.

I wish she had not included the word “levy” in her explanation, because the levy can and usually is more than the extension.

When newspapers and tax districts use the word “levy,” they are usually talking about a figure that could more accurately described as a “wish fulfillment.”

In other words, they are saying, “If we could get whatever we want, this is the figure.”

The levy, however, is not what tells taxpayers how much will be extracted from their pocketbooks.

That amount cannot be more than is allowed the Property Tax Cap.

In force since 1992, the limits of the Real Estate Tax Cap (also known by the acronym “PTELL” for “Property Tax Extension Limitation Law”) can be seen below:

The Tax Cap limits since the law was enacted by Governor Jim Edgar.

The Tax Cap limits since the law was enacted by Governor Jim Edgar.

So, for taxes to be collected in 2015, total bills for the tax capped part of a tax district’s bill is limited to an increase of 1.5%.

Next year, as you can see, the limit will be 8/10 of 1%.  (Can you imagine the gnashing of teeth of tax district officials between now and this time next year?)

A taxpayer as seen by the Tax Foundation.

A taxpayer as seen by the Tax Foundation.

This figure does not apply to individual tax bills, however,

It applies to the tax district’s total tax take.

Now, a tax district’s aggregate bill may go up more than the Tax Cap limit.

That’s because bonds that have been issued must be paid back no matter how much the total tax bill must be increased.

If you look at the extension page above, you will see that only the the MCCD’s corporate and insurance funds are subject to the Tax Cap.

The four separate lines for bonds are not.

The extension would have lower except for the enactment of a bill designed to help another district last year.  An article about that legislation is here.

There is a lot of information in this report from the County Clerk’s Office.

By comparing the data in the report for more than one year, one may determine trends for various tax districts.

I have done that some years.

Here is an article from 2012 looking at the increases of in tax bills from various categories of tax districts (including, of course, the biggest ones on the block, the school districts):

Municipalities Cut Tax Take! Fire Protection Districts Cut Even More! Libraries, Sanitary Districts Flat

Addition articles about McHenry County tax bills in which you might be interested can be found below:


On Wednesday, April 22nd, at 8:15, the Finance Committee will consider the Conservation District’s tax request for this coming spring.


Conservation District Asking for Slightly Less — 3 Comments

  1. The Finance Committee needs to remove all expenditures for the Conservation District Police – we have a Sheriff.

  2. Once tax rates reach highest-in-nation-status, there is no rational argument to assume they will not continue higher.

    Woodstock illustrates the death spiral of McHenry County property values.

    Mortgage rates are a bit below 4%, and property tax rates are a bit above 4%.

    Both payments must be made to retain any legal ownership claim in a home.

    Would a homebuyer take on a mortgage rate of 8% to buy a home in Woodstock?

    With the proviso that half of the mortgage rate is floating , and historically rises more than 10% per year?

    Is it logical to assume that property values can ever rise in an area wherein any rise in value is taxed at over 4%?

    As values continue to fall, properties disintegrate and leave the tax rolls.

    Businesses refuse to pay 4% taxes (an absurd rate when national average is around 1.5%) and demand tax concessions or grants of free money or both, so no contributory commercial growth can logically be assumed.

    And no matter how confusing levy, extension, PTELL, etcetera sound, it is very simple: taxing bodies take more money every year.

    As the larger amount of tax money taken is divided up as the responsibility of smaller increments of home value, tax rates rise.

    As tax rates rise, tax rates must rise higher and faster, as a result of the feedback loop described above.

    No county board member or manager has been willing to answer the question: what tax RATE is the maximum you believe sustainable?

    Is that because we have already surpassed it?

  3. Compare and contrast Woodstock IL property tax rate of 4% to this national data:

    According to RealtyTrac study March 2015:
    *Nationwide, the average effective property tax rate for all single family homes in 2014 was 1.29 percent.

    (Woodstock is above 4 percent).

    *States with the highest effective property tax rates were New York (3.01 percent), Texas (2.18 percent), Illinois (2.15 percent), Connecticut (2.11 percent) and New Jersey (2.01 percent).

    (Woodstock is above 4%)

    *States with the highest average property taxes in dollars for single family homes were New York ($15,625), New Jersey ($8,108), New Hampshire ($5,795), Connecticut ($5,646), and Hawaii ($5,024).

    (Any homeowner paying $5000 on their $125,000 Woodstock bungalow should look at that Hawaii stat and consider the future value of their own property based on relative cost of carry).

    States with the lowest effective property tax rates were Alabama (0.40 percent), Wyoming (0.55 percent), Colorado (0.55 percent), West Virginia (0.60 percent) and Tennessee (0.64 percent).

    (Woodstock is above 4%. All evidence supports the assertion that people can be supplied necessary services for staggeringly lower tax rates).

    *Among the 1,042 counties with sufficient tax assessor and home value data analyzed in the report, those with the highest effective property tax rates in 2014 were Westchester County, New York, in the New York metro area (7.53 percent), Bexar County, Texas, in the San Antonio metro area (3.32 percent), De Kalb County in the Chicago metro area (3.27 percent), Passaic County, New Jersey in the greater New York metro area (2.98 percent), and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin (2.96 percent).

    (Aside from the outlier Westchester County (home of the Hedge Fund Managers and Clintons), the highest tax rates in the nation are 25% LOWER than Woodstock Illinois; Woodstock is above 4%.)

    *Counties with the highest average 2014 property taxes in dollars for single family homes were Westchester County, New York ($56,124), New York County, New York ($38,574), Nassau County, New York ($11,587), Marin County, California ($11,422), and Bergen County, New Jersey ($11,159).

    (Any Woodstock IL homeowner with a $300,000 home is paying more property taxes ($12,000) than in Nassau County NY (median home value $456,700**), Marin County California(median home value $912,800**), or Bergen County New Jersey (median home value $414,500**)).



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