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Lots of Comments on Township Government — 23 Comments

  1. The county is leading the effort yet does not have a section of its website devoted to township consolidation with all the facts and figures.

    Neither the county nor the McHenry County Citizens for Township Consolidation (www.mcc4tc.org) websites have spreadsheets with all the facts and figures.

    The county board packet includes spreadsheet data included in pdf documents which is nice but the county also needs to include the actual spreadsheets in xls or xlsx format; because the data in the pdf (Adobe) document cannot be sorted and analyzed on a computer, one can only read the data, and no one has the time to rekey data from a pdf document to Excel.

    So the consolidation effort for those reasons is being poorly conducted.

    You cannot expect a taxpayer to hunt and peck and request and FOIA data and perform all sorts of analysis because they are not paid to do so and the savings on their tax bill will never be great enough to justify the time spent.

    That is in a nutshell why we are in this predicament of high taxes that should be even higher but the true cost using the laws that have been past is hid from taxpayers using various techniques such as kick the can down the road in terms of unfunded pension and retiree healthcare liabilities, bond debt, and unpaid bill backlog, and deferred maintenance on facilities, the extent which varies by taxing district.

    The consolidation effort is following the law but it’s not being done in a taxpayer friendly fashion.

  2. Sure have to hand it to Walkup, he’s outnumbered 50-1 by all those who have their snouts in the trough, but he battles on!

    Just simply a clear thinking, common sense man. Such an Illinois rarity.

  3. Well, D.J. I do not have my snout in a trough. I do have a stake in monitoring for potential increases in my tax bill and Township Consolidation as proposed will do just that.
    No problem with your statement: “Just simply a clear thinking, common sense man. Such an Illinois rarity.” But he has been misled in my humble opinion.
    For Mark: Send me an email at [email protected] I have most of the data you need in the form of spreadsheets and happy to share.

  4. Thanks D.J. Facts are stubborn things, you know.

    btw, to an earlier post, I do live on an as yet unincorporated parcel surrounded by the CL but I still can’t get a library card.

    Folks should not come down on Evert. He is one of the good guys. It’s some of the other ones in my neck of the woods you need to be concerned about.

  5. To be clear, I think the township officials in the more rural townships are doing a good job for what they are being paid. It’s just that the system under which they are operating has inherent inefficiencies.

    Why for example, on God’s Green Earth, do you have two township offices four blocks apart in Harvard, or a township the size of Burton? I think you could walk completely across Burton Township in maybe an hour.

    The more populated townships, however, are a different story. Nunda processes about 24 public aid cases a YEAR and has Supervisor AND secretary who make a combined salary of over $120K the last time I checked. That’s $5000 per applicant if that is all they do.

    Then they will jump to tell you the other things they do (I doubt they clean the bathrooms themselves in Nunda, but who knows), but what you then need to do is analyze those functions and you will see that they are either unnecessary (Easter Egg hunts), or could be done more efficiently in another way (hiring a landscaping company to mow the cemeteries).

    This is the 21st Century folks! I just saw a video of a flying car! I threw out all of my quill pens a long time ago (still have turkey feathers here tho if anybody wants one. You will have to pluck it from the turkey yourself). I have a device in my pocket that I can use to talk to anyone in the world at any time, and which contains the total repository of all human knowledge on the planet (which I mostly use to look at cat memes, but that is another story).

    Why don’t we take another look at the 19th Century’s solutions to things and see if they still work for us today. What’s the harm in that?

  6. Mike walkup…if Everett is one of the “good guys” why is he fighting, along with the rest of the township officials, to keep the voters from being able to make their choice known on the ballot?

  7. The referendum would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. Referendums cost money – taxpayer money. Why would anyone vote to increase their property taxes?
    I am actually not ‘fighting’ anyone or anybody in this instance. I am attempting to educate those who want to be educated.

  8. Mr Everett. There is no cost to print extra lines on a ballot…wrong again…and excuse everyone out here.who sees through your fake “concern” for taxpayers money…you’re really on the struggle bus today!

  9. Thanks Ev for your efforts.

    We need to flesh out both sides of this issue so the public can be informed. I know I am learning all the time.

    I don’t see the taxpayer dollars being wasted on printing a few additional lines of information on ballots that are already going to have 17 GOP Presidential candidates and who knows how many Democrats on them though.

    Don’t tell me the townships are going to be spending taxpayer dollars defending themselves are they?

    Other than that, which would be illegal, what exactly are the “taxpayer dollars” that do into the ‘costs’ of the referendum?

    Maybe the Clerk can give us precise information on that.

    While you are educating, can you educate me on how many public aid recipients you had in the last year you were Hartland Supervisor, did you have a staff person to help you, did you have to fill out forms, were these people already applying or eligible with the state or some other entity for some type of benefits, how much time did it take per applicant, how much money was distributed per applicant, and how was it determined that they were ‘residents’ of the township?

    Thanks.

  10. In typical township fashion, Adam Metz, in today’s n/w heralds letter to the editor , conveniently forgot to mention two things as he tried to build up townships…

    that he is a former Richmond township supervisor and that he only mentioned the cost of of the road district and not the town fund where his check comes from.

    No wonder he’s opposed to consolidation.

    Evidentially he’s also an opponent of democracy , trying to take away the right of voters to decide for themselves. That’s township government for you.

  11. Trucken561: Your post appears confusing

    Is Adam Metz a former supervisor but still receiving checks from the Town fund?

  12. For this proposed referendum to be successful, the voters in both or three townships involved in any attempt to consolidate townships MUST approve the consolidation.

    The problem with consolidation is that ONE of the Townships in every scenario will be subject to an INCREASE in their taxes!

    People are already leaving McHenry County at a higher rate than any other County in the State.

    Taxpayers have already contributed to the effort to Consolidate Townships.

    The maps which were produced, the spreadsheets County staff prepared for the meetings, time spent by County staff to collect the data in the spreadsheets, the cost of the meeting room itself, the ‘open house’ for the 3 – 4 scenario presentation, the attendance and input from the State’s Attorney office relative to the Consolidation effort, time spent with GIS to obtain road mileages etc.

    Are these costs minimal?

    Yes.

    But, they are costs.

    Adding the referendum to ballots will require time to be spent reviewing language (more lawyers) etc. etc.

    The Townships have nothing to defend.

    Townships are doing what is required by law and what the local residents want them to do.

    What I did as Township Supervisor has nothing to do with the Consolidation effort.

    I can tell you this, since the economic slump, Hartland Township has led the way relative to actually reducing the dollar amount of their tax levy unlike the County Board of which you are a member.

    If anyone wants to be educated on Illinois General Assistance I suggest you go to this link:

    http://www.illinoislegalaid.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.dsp_content&contentID=87

  13. My analogy:

    a. The State of Illinois is losing population. One of the main reasons is our State Constitutional requirement (approved by the voters) that GUARANTEES an unsustainable 3 % per year increase in public sector pensions.

    Solution: Revise the Constitution to make that a requirement for ALL pensions.

    b. Some Township residents of Algonquin, McHenry, Nunda and Grafton (townships with 75 % of the assessment parcels) have voiced several complaints about their Township elected officials.

    Solution: Join those Townships with others who do not have the same problem.

    County Board members who represent the residents from those Townships (mostly urban) have already forced the 2030 plan and the UDO on the balance of the County (mostly rural).

    The County Board constantly forces Conditional uses on all Townships detrimental to the residents in unincorporated areas.

    Now a so-called Citizens group with apparent support from the County Republican party wants to impose larger units of government to create the same problems throughout the County!

    Some say, they want the voters to vote on Consolidation of their Townships.

    Consolidation which the Task Force has shown will raise the property taxes for at least one Township in every proposal.

    Great idea!

    Mayflower Movers loves this group!

  14. I am of the opinion that the people involved in this effort to Consolidate townships have a responsibility to the taxpayers to come up with some facts.

    To the best of my knowledge they have only provided the following:

    Reduction from 136 to 64 elected officials $1,300,000

    Reduction of 10% of employees and salaries $775,000

    10% saving on benefits for elected officials and employees $150,000

    10 % saving on duplication of equipment, buildings, etc. $1,800,000

    Total $4,005,000

    The document which contains the above information also contains a rant about GA and the Assessors but no other data pertinent to the claimed ‘savings’.

    The numbers do not include the following:

    Future Township Boards will increase salaries to be commensurate with the jobs – .

    IMRF cost to the taxpayers will increase.

    Services will increase.

    Examples:

    If one Township has bus service, it will expand to serve both or three townships.

    If one Township has an extensive recycling program it will expand to serve both or three townships.

    If one Township has programs for senior citizens it will expand to serve both or three townships.

    If one Township has a Parks program it will expand to serve both or three townships.

    If one Township has a food pantry, it will expand to serve both or three townships.

    Staff costs will increase, they will increase due to higher wages and more benefits.

    The proposal which advertises a cost reduction to the taxpayers of a total $4,005,000 contains a line:

    10% saving on benefits for elected officials and employees $150,000

    The reduction for elected officials was already included in the line which claimed:

    Reduction from 136 to 64 elected officials $1,300,000

    As mentioned above, “Future Township Boards will increase salaries to be commensurate with the jobs”.

    Although in total there may ultimately be some reduction in tax dollars spent for Township officials, the additional costs brought on by consolidation will more than offset any reduction.

    One claimed ‘savings’ is for a reduction of 10% in the number of employees.

    Anyone who has experience with Townships is well aware that there will be no reduction in the total of Full Time Equivalent employees but there will be a decrease of part time employees and an increase in full time employees which will include an increase in salaries and benefits.

    By providing expanded services to both or three townships, staff will need to be increased.

    Consolidation of staff will also increase the odds of the creation of collective bargaining units.

    The last claimed savings is 10 % saving on duplication of equipment, buildings, etc. $1,800,000.

    Have no idea how this would be accomplished.

    I would project an increase in the cost of buildings and equipment.

    Currently, McHenry Township Road Districts tend to participate in an unofficial ‘hand me down’ process.

    Townships will a larger EAV buy new equipment.

    When the equipment gets some age on it, a Township with a lower EAV will buy the piece of equipment.

    Consolidation of Townships will create larger Road Districts who ALL buy new equipment.

    Currently Road Districts with a larger EAV buy specialized equipment (eg. goose neck mowers, bucket trucks) which Townships with a lower EAV ‘borrow’.

    Consolidate Townships and they will all buy that specialized equipment.

    Consolidation will result in multiple buildings owned by the new Government unit.

    This will cause a demand for a NEW centralized building for the Road District and a NEW building to contain adequate facilities for the services which are now available to residents of both or three townships.

    There is a way to have more efficient, lower cost of government in Illinois but consolidation of Townships is definitely not the answer.

    The answer has to come from Springfield and / or elect different people to local office.

  15. Heres a thought in response to Everet’s supposition…the consolation referendum passes thereby allowing the election of new township officials who will be better managers of public money.

  16. Watcher1940, will you be running next election no matter what the outcome is?

  17. Here is the levy for the County for the past four years:

    2014 $78,966,290.30
    2013 $78,627,450.00
    2012 $78,535,191.00
    2011 $78,285,064.00

    Each year there was an increase.

    Slight increase but there was an increase.

    Hartland Township and some other government units reduced their levy.

    Even the Conservation District reduced their levy this year.
    The tax computation reports are available on the County

    Clerk web site.

    https://www.co.mchenry.il.us/county-government/departments-a-i/county-clerk/taxes

    The County has access to many other types of revenue which Townships do not.

    The County has full time employees to work on obtaining grants from other tax sources.

    Townships do not.

    Even if you could run a slate of candidates for a Consolidated Township and maintain reduced salaries, all of the other opportunities for increased expenditures still exist.

    Consolidation is not the answer.

    The answer lies in Springfield.

  18. As usual, the voices against Townships and the local control they represent consist almost entirely of current insiders, past insiders, and wannabe insiders with grudges to work out against particular people.

    Anyone notice how Mike Walkup and his cohorts NEVER bring up the fact that Townships account for less than three cents out of the tax dollar, while our precious SCHOOL DISTRICTS account for SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT?

    Of course, taking on the school districts and their union armies would require some actual stones and a REAL willingness to stand up for the taxpayer…

    Any takers, McHenry County insiders?

    Nah…

    I didn’t think so…

  19. Robert: Your comment: “taking on the school districts and their union armies would require some actual stones ” is spot on! Instead of addressing the real problem – organized labor in the public sector – the Consolidation supporters (including the County GOP) chose a segment of government with zero unions and is working to make that segment easier to turn into union shops! I say County GOP due to the list of people who have signed on in support of the Consolidation effort.

  20. Come to September 22 Woodstock D200 school budget appproval meeting.
    You will hear a body of source cited evidence questioning D200 debt and spending policy.
    You will hear peer comparison spending data.
    There will be detailed analysis of D200 deafening silence on Lakewood tif Cross- border tax dump.
    The predictable application to extend Woodstock tif an additional 12,years will be mentioned.
    Shocking statistics about Woodstock’s 5% property tax rate, and the stunning portion of household income that represents will be presented to the school board.
    The board may then vote on a budget which makes their priorities clear: pay raises and spending increases outlined in the budget, after EAV dropped again, from $758 to $719 million.

  21. Btw, keeping levy flat is meaningless data unless another reference point is included.

    Think of a plane viewed from earth at a great distance: it’s pace is slow enough for the eye to” follow.

    But a mosquito whizzing by at close range may appear to be travelling at a faster clip.

    Mchenry County EAV has declined and declined and declined.

    A flat levy may appear to be ‘slower’ spending, but the tax RATE has been accelerating.

    Spending is supposed to be relative to value of those legally obliged to fund that spending ( in other words, EAV).

    When that value declines and spending fails to decline in tandem, spending is actually increasing.

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