Tucked away in the McHenry County Board agenda for its last meeting was the proposed budget for the year starting on December 1st.
Last year, at the instigation of McHenry County Board member Mike Walkup, the County Board took $3 million out of the budget, lowering it by $3 million from $79,289,016.04 to $76,289,016.04.
That was a 3.6% reduction in property taxes paid for county government.
The proposed budget for next year is $79,344,078.
At the August Finance and Audit Committee meeting, Walkup called for the abolition of the Valley Hi taxing authority, which would happen if the County Board zeroed out the Valley Hi tax levy for two years in a row.
Jack Franks, labeling himself as a “Tax Fighter,” but able to point to no actual tax cuts and remaining silent on three tax hike referendums on the ballot right now, almost agreed with Walkup’s position at his Algonquin Town Hall Meeting at the end of August.
He finally fully supported Walkup’s position three weeks ago.
So, in this year’s elections, every member of the all-Republican Board could campaign saying they had voted to cut taxes.
There was no roll call vote. Chairman Joe Gottemoller called for a voice vote, thus protecting any members who might have been tempted to vote against cutting the $3 million out of the budget.
When the budget came up before the Board, Gottemoller pointed out that Board rules didn’t allow amendments.
“I’m not comfortable with the idea that we’re going to put it (presumably the $3 million or so that otherwise would have been put in the Valley Hi fund) somewhere else.
“We’ve done that for the last decade.
“Unbeknownst to anyone else [we’ve] diverted it so other purpose.
“I don’t think we should perpetuate that and by taking it and putting elsewhere, then it becomes a shell game.”
Walkup suggested submitting a bottom line showing $76,604,078 for the proposed tax levy of $79,344,077, about $2.75 million less than what shows in the budget.
The consensus of the Board seemed to be to increase the budget from this year.