Las year, at the instigation of Algonquin Township Trustee Larry Emery, the Town Fund’s levy was cut 1%.
Not much, but in the right direction.
This year, by a 3-2 vote the Township Board voted to keep the tax levy constant.
Arguing against cutting the amount of real estate taxes to be collected were Supervisor Dianne Klemm and the only holdover Trustee, Dan Shea.
Joining them in passing the levy was one of the three insurgents, Melissa Sanchez.
Trustees Larry Emery and Russ Cardelli voted, “No.”
Listening to Shea, I thought I was back in Grafton Township, where various Trustees over three years, when Linda Moore was trying to freeze the levy, argued that not taking the maximum increase allowed by the Tax Cap law wouldn’t save people enough to make any difference.
He pointed out that cutting the levy by 1% last year saved him 31 cents on his $5,100 tax bill.
Emery, who floated the idea of cutting the levy $100,000, said his proposal would save each person $3.
“That’s sounds good,” Cardelli said upon hearing Emery’s suggestion.
Of course, virtually every tax district taking the maximum amount possible is the reason that McHenry County is the 29th highest property taxed county in the United States of America.
Specifically, Shea pointed to bills introduced in Springfield, but not passed, that would, if passed impose unfunded mandates on township governments.
He also argued that the big property taxpayers would have to pay income tax on any tax cut and that money would go to Springfield or Washington, rather than stay local.
“This lawsuit could cost us a lot of money,” he added, referring to the tax protest suit filed in November.
“You’re killing people the people in the future,” he asserted.
Although the increase in the Cost of Living allowed a 8/10 of one percent inflationary increase for tax districts this year–which Algonquin Township did not take–Shea argued that the real inflation rate was 1.8%. He said the lower prices for oil was artificially depressing the inflation rate.
“I personally have never seen area people beating on this door to save 31 cents,’ Shea said.
And, that tiresome argument heard in almost every tax debate from elected officials or administrators:
“If you reduce the levy, you can’t recapture it.”
True enough, but, of course, not taxing to the max means the taxpayers save that amount forever.
Klemm argued against cutting the levy, even though she agreed to shift $100,000 of it from the General Assistance Fund to the Town Fund (the two are considered together in the levy) with these arguments:
- “Who knows what our lawyer’s bill [on the tax protest suit] will be?”
- The Township might decide to construct a building where local food pantries could store “overload.”
- Money was needed to repair the 41-year old septic field (which is under a parking lot) and make sure the well is operational.
She did note, “Last year we did bite the bullet [by not taking the inflationary increase and cutting the levy by 1%].
Emery said that the bank had enough money in the General Assistance Fund to last 17 months.
Also attending the meeting were County Board members Donna Kurtz and Michael Walkup.
Both spoke about the need for township government to economize.
Republican Primary Election candidate for State Rep. Allen Skillicorn was also in attendance.