McHenry County Board Chairman and State Representative Jack Franks is about to chair his first substantive County Board meeting.
In the agenda package as item 48 (page 529 of 721) that Franks published is the following tax hike increase (note the title of the resolution does not mention that it will raise taxes):
Resolution Authorizing an Amendment to Ordinance #O-201611-12-045 Providing for the Levy of Taxes to Account for Additional New Property Growth as Reported by the Townships, and an Amendment to Ordinance #O-201611-12-046 Setting the Annual Budget and Appropriations for the County’s FY 2016-2017 to Adjust the General Property Tax Revenue and Expenditures to Account for the Property Tax Levy Adjustment.
WHEREAS, on November 15, 2016 the County Board of McHenry County, Illinois passed Ordinance #O-201611-12-045 providing for the levy of taxes, and Ordinance #O-201611-12-046 providing for the budget and appropriations for McHenry County, Illinois for the fiscal year December 1, A.D., 2016 through November 30, A.D., 2017; and
WHEREAS, in the calculation used for the levy of taxes, the new growth estimate was projected at $41,345,981 by the County Assessor with acknowledgement that not all Townships had filed their projections; and
WHEREAS, on November 18, 2016 the County Assessor received the final outstanding Township filings and determined the new growth projection used for the Townships had been understated by $6,965,052, which equates to a loss of tax revenue to the County in the projected amount of $80,000; and
WHEREAS, the Finance and Audit Committee Chairman, County Administrator, and Associate County Administrator are now requesting that Ordinance #O-201611-12-045 be amended to adjust the General Fund Tax Levy by the additional $80,000, restating it to a total of $44,431,303; and
WHEREAS, with the amending of Ordinance #O-201611-12-045 by $80,000, Ordinance #O- 201611-12-046 will also require amending to account for the additional General Fund Property Tax Revenue in the County’s FY2016-2017 budget.
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois that Ordinance #O-201611-12-045 is hereby amended to increase the General Fund Property Tax Levy from $44,351,303 to $44,431,303 for the purpose of collecting property taxes on the additional new property growth reported by the Townships; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, by this County Board of McHenry County, Illinois that Ordinance #O-201611-12-046 is also hereby amended to adjust the FY2016-2017 budget/appropriation as follows: Revenue: OCA 990005-7010 Non-Dept. Capital Projects – Property Taxes $80,000 Expenditure: OCA 990700-6810 Non-Dept. Capital Projects – Fd Bal. Enhancement $80,000 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the County Clerk is hereby authorized to distribute a certified copy of this Resolution to the County Auditor; the County Clerk; the County Treasurer; the County Assessor; the Associate County Administrator – Finance; and the County Administrator. DATED at Woodstock, Illinois, this 20th day of December, A.D., 2016.
The boldface part of the resolution was not in the original.
The matter was discussed on Monday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
“We’re levying more taxes?” asked Huntley Jim Kearns.
He also wondered why the money was earmarked for capital expenditures.
Mike Skala, Chairman of the Finance Committee for the past two years and tapped by Franks to do so for another two, said,
“I thought it was important to have new property growth pay taxes.
“We’ve always wanted to have new growth captured.
“It’s a small dollar amount compared to out total budget [$79 million].”
Answering the question of why the money was targeted for capital projects, Skala said it was “my choice.”
Kearns then asked if the township assessor was late.
County Administrator Peter Austin echoed Skala’s comment that “the budget policy was to capture new growth.”
“What happens if we don’t capture that growth? Does that township benefit?”
“Yes,” replied Skala. “That’s what happens.”
“It didn’t used to be an issue [when the County Board took all the money that the Tax Cap would allow, that is, whatever the Consumer Price Index had increased],” Austin added.
“If taking the CPI,” Skala said, the county could “balloon levy.to collect every cent they are entitled to.
He pointed out that the County Board’s budget policy was to take new growth.
“If we’re a little under, we lose it.”
Skala then added that he favored “getting rid of our township assessors and going to a county assessor.”
“I agree with everything you said,” Chairman and State Representative Franks said, concluding discussion on the topic.
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Skala is incorrect in saying that property in the township that estimated too little new construction would benefit.
Real estate taxpayers all over McHenry County would benefit, because there would be more assessed value available to pay the $79 million county levy.
Not much money would be saved, but all would benefit.