McHenry County Board Township Consolidation Task Force Chairwoman Carolyn Schofield made her report to the County Board Tuesday morning.
[This might be a good time to urge voters to attend school board meetings to urge the boards not to tax to the maximum allowed under the Real Estate Tax Cap. That’s where the real money is, of course.]
Township lines would not be manipulated [as I suggested in my proposal to create a new Crystal Lake Township that residents could then ask the Illinois General Assembly to allow voters to abolish by referendum..]
Map 2 leaves Algonquin Township along, reducing the number of townships from 17 to 8.
In Map 3, the four largest townships are left alone, while the smaller ones are consolidated.
Schofield explained that the Task Force, with the help of Jim Hurley, had acquired a lot of information on townships.
Schofield seems a bit confused about the road money that goes directly from Township Road Districts to municipalities.She indicated that it had something to do with road miles, while it is dependent instead on assessed valuation.
Referring to the information gathered, she said, “It is a great deal of information. That was my main [goal].”
She explained that “It was a little challenging to work our way through this.
“Kind of hit a wall at this point.
“The center of the challenge was to show cost savings.
“There was no clear way to analyze [that].
“There was no clear cost savings and service efficiencies that could be presented.
“100% of where these cost savings lie are dependent on future elected officials.
“One of the levies [when two townships consolidate] is always increasing.”
Looking at two townships, one with pension benefits and the other without, she said both would end up with Illinois Retirement Fund benefits or everyone would not have benefits.
After Schofield finished her presentation, Chairman Joe Gottemoller pointed out that the issue was not set up for debate, that would come at a later date.
Ken Koehler asked, “When it comes to taxpayers, there are going to be winners and losers and we don’t know what it will be.”
Schofield admitted there would be “winners and losers in each [proposal].”
She said she favored statutory change that would require the levy of merged townships to be the lowest tax rate.
Koehler wanted to know if townships decided to merge, could they do it on their own?
Koehler asked for a legal opinion on the matter when no answer was forthcoming.
“The County Board could directly vote on it,” she said, referring to other scenarios [such as my proposal to create a Crystal Lake Township].
“To me it seems that there were no clear cut savings,” Nick Provenzano observed.
“What was the vote count to move this map to the County Board?”
“It wasn’t a vote counting body,” Schofield replied.
Provenzano wondered how with no consensus and no cost justification how the Task Force reached a decision of what to present.
Referring to the cost saving aspect of the question, Schofield said, “We weren’t given that task to determine what the savings [would be].”
Only two portions of the map have consensus.
She had previously explained that one was the merger of Burton and Richmond Townships (which would make them the same size as Algonquin, McHenry and Nunda) and Chemung and Dundam (covering most of Harvard).
“The point of this Task Force was to get more information and present it to the public.
“I think we are in a much better position today than we were before.”
Gottemoller praised the work of the Task Force:
“I think you guys did a yeoman’s job in bringing this forth.”