Harvard Mayor Explains April Tax Referendum

Harvard Mayor (previously incorrectly identified as an Alderman because of his email address) Michael Kelly explains tax referendum:

The tag line of this post [Harvard Seeks Voter Approval to Escape Tax Cap] and subsequent comments clearly do not understand the issue and the referendum which is being presented to City of Harvard residents.

There will be two questions on the ballot concerning this referendum:

“Shall the extension limitation under the Property Tax Extension Limitation law for the City of Harvard, McHenry County, Illinois, be increased from the lesser of 5% or the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index over the prior levy year to 15.7% per year for 2018?”


“Shall the City of Harvard, McHenry County, Illinois increase the maximum tax rate to allow for upgrades of the park and recreation system; improved maintenance, design and aesthetic enhancements and modernization to park facilities with additional activity programs to .233% of the equalized asses value of the taxable property therein instead of .075%, the maximum rate otherwise applicable to the next taxes to be extended?”

The language of the referendum as required by statute is impossible for the average tax payer to easily discern what it means, or what it is for.

A Referendum Committee will seek to educate voters to understand exactly what the referendum is asking of Harvard tax payers.

What isn’t disclosed here is that the added tax by this referendum will be a “Net Zero Sum Game”.

This is because the previous Harvard City Pool referendum will be completed, reducing City of Harvard tax bills.

The Pool referendum generated $300,000 annually to pay off the cost to build the pool.

If voters do not vote for the referendum, they will see a decrease in their tax liability because the pool referendum is expiring.

If voters vote Yes for the referendum, the referendum will generate the same $300,000 annually.

$150,000 will go to the Harvard Diggins Library for building maintenance (new roof, etc.) and additional upgrades to the library.

The other $150,000 will go to the Parks and Recreation department for improvement of the City Parks – an issue which Harvard Residents CLEARLY STATED THEY WANTED in focus groups and surveys as determined in the formulation of the Harvard Parks System Master Plan which was approved last year by the Harvard City Council.


In a nutshell:

  • If Harvard voters vote YES, their tax bill remains unchanged by the referendum because it will replace an expired pool referendum and they will get the upgrades they asked to be completed to the City parks and the library.
  • If Harvard voters vote NO, their tax bill will decrease because of the expired pool referendum, but they will not get the upgrades needed for the library and city parks.

= = = = =
The referendum language for Harvard on the County Clerk’s web site:

“Shall the extension limitation under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for the City of Harvard, McHenry County, Illinois, be increased from the lesser of 5% or the percentage increase in the
Consumer Price Index over the prior levy year to 15.7% per year for 2018?”

= = = = =
Just released from the Civic Federation:

“… the largest ten-year increase in effective tax rate was in Harvard in McHenry County, where estimated effective tax rates rose by 89.0%, from 2.34% in 2005 to 4.43% in 2014.”


Harvard Mayor Explains April Tax Referendum — 20 Comments

  1. ‘A PowerPoint presentation was prepared to solicit responses to a series of questions central to formulating the master plan’

    I’d like to see those (presumably slanted) questions along with details on who actually participated in the focus groups and took the surveys.

  2. Harvard should be renamed Guadalaharvard.

    How many residents are illegal aliens?

    And how many crimes do they perpetrate on the indigenous population?

    An old political hack, named LeFew, once told me that in 25 years, the town would be “unrecognizable.”

    that rat was right, his gloomy prediction has come to pass.

    But why didn’t rats like him try and stop it!!!???

    Here’s what you can look forward to, after the “tipping point’ is soon reached:


  3. Effective tax rate is the tax rate applied to the fair market value of a property.

    Fair market value is also known as fair cash value, and is the estimated sales price of the property.


    As opposed to the Tax Rate on a property tax bill which is about 3x the effective tax rate.

    Th tax rate on a property tax bill is higher primarily due to the fact that in Illinois, for the purpose of property taxes, property is assessed at 1/3 the fair market value.

  4. Harvard also had a referendum in 1998 for $20,701,244 to build Crosby Elementary School, which is just off Marengo Road.

  5. Crosby Elementary School is 66% Hispanic, 31% white, and 2% two races or more.

    65% receive free / discounted lunches at Crosby.



    Looking at the NCES website (government website) for Crosby Elementary School for 2014 – 2015 school year:

    Crosby Elementary is for Kindergarten through 3rd grade only.

    786 students

    4 Asian / Pacific Islander

    2 Black

    522 Hispanic

    241 White

    17 Two or more races

    – 52 classroom teachers

    Student teacher ratio 15:1 (the number of kids in a classroom may be higher for a variety of reasons).

  6. From the following report

    Civic Federation

    Estimated Effective Property Tax Rates 2005 – 2014: Selected Municipalities in Northeastern Illinois

    December 28, 2016


    Effective Property Tax Rates: 2013 vs. 2014

    McHenry County

    All Types of Property

    Municipality – 2013 – 2014 – percent change

    Harvard – 4.09% – 4.43% – 8.2%

    Woodstock – 4.68% – 4.21% – (10%)

    Algonquin – 3.63% – 3.43% – (5.5%)

    Barrington Hills – 2.60% – 2.82% – 8.3%


    Those were the only municipalities from McHenry County listed in the report.

    The report used a few selected municipalities from Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.

  7. Dear Mr. Kelly: My home has lost value to the point where I am ‘stuck’ here.

    I cannot recover what I put in.

    I realize the mayor left his job so he could participate in the building of a brewery (interesting – Nolan / Brewery).

    Obviously he must have a few dimes in his pocktt.

    I do not!

    When one puts all the units of government together in Harvard, the average tax rate is about 13 % of the assessed value of the property.

    You are a party to taxing me out of my home!

    So, you say you have have the opportunity to reduce my property tax because the swimming hole is paid for, why are YOU not lowering my property tax instead of asking my to approve what amounts to a NEW tax which over time will increase my total tax bill?

    How about asking for patrons of the parks to pay for the parks?

    Let the patrons of the Library pay for the new roof!

    Start charging more for access to porn sites on the internet!

    Increase the fees for using the meeting rooms in the library!

    Do not follow the example set by the County!!!

  8. From the following report

    Civic Federation

    Estimated Effective Property Tax Rates 2005 – 2014: Selected Municipalities in Northeastern Illinois

    December 28, 2016


    Effective Property Tax Rates in Selected Collar County Communities: 2005 – 2014

    McHenry County

    Municipality – 2005 – 2014 – Change 2005 to 2014

    Barrington Hills – 1.98% – 2.82% – 42.6%

    Algonquin – 2.14% – 3.43% – 60.2%

    Woodstock – 2.30% – 4.21% – 83.1%


    Property taxes have been hiked.

    What’s not included in that report, is pension contributions have also been hiked, yet still the pension underfunded liability (in dollars) has grown.

    The State Constitution has a taxpayer guarantee to pay pensions, irregardless of effective property tax rate, pension contributions, or pension unfunded liability.


    The biggest fiscal problem in Illinois is underfunded pensions.

  9. Jack Franks the self proclaimed tax fighter who claims he has never voted for a tax hike, voted for pension hiking legislation that became law while he was a State Representative.

  10. Adding Harvard to the above list.

    Municipality – 2005 – 2014 – Change 2005 – to 2014

    Harvard – 2.34% – 8.2% – 89%

  11. School districts pull this same scam all the time.

    They’ll sell a bond issue as some sort of temporary tax increase, but they don’t want to give up the money when the bonds expire, so they’ll ask for a “cost free” tax increase to capture the money that was going towards paying off the bonds.

    They don’t want the taxes to go down, because then the Sheeple would start getting radical ideas like it’s actually their money.

    I really hope the people of Harvard vote this down.

  12. Our Mayor, pro-tem, goes online to clearly explain the tax referendum coming up and, inevitably, someone has to play the race card.

    Well, guess what, our teachers care about teaching all children, our churches welcome all people, our city is concerned with all residents, our library services all people, our swimming pool welcomes all people, and our volunteers do good things for all people.

    So, stop it!

    Our racial statistics in Harvard do not make us any better or worse than the town than you live in.

    I thank, Mike Kelly, for trying to explain a complicated voting choice and putting it out on this Blog

  13. Also, were the Harvard residents CLEARLY TOLD in the focus groups and surveys how much the improvements would cost them.

    If so, please provide the document to the blog to post or put it on the Harvard website with the path to the document.

    It’s easy to say you want something in a focus group or survey or anywhere else if there is no price attached to the item.

  14. One other point.

    What is the City of Harvard plan to fully fund its police and IMRF pension funds.

    The unfunded liability in those pension funds are taxpayer IOUs to the pension funds that have a state constitutional protection.


    City of Harvard

    Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) 2016


    Measurement Date December 31, 2015.

    $1,883,093 Unfunded Liability (Net Pension Liability) / $10,749,382 Total Pension Liability = .175, which means the IMRF pension is 82% funded.


    Police (Downstate Police Pension system)

    Measurement Date April 30, 2016

    The police pension fund is 53% funded.

    The unfunded liability (taxpayer IOU tot he pension fund) is $8,454,495.


    $1,883,093 IMRF unfunded liability (taxpayer IOU to the pension fund)


    $8,454,495 Police unfunded liability (taxpayer IOU to the pension fund)

    $10,337,588 IMRF & Police unfunded liability (taxpayer IOU to the pension fund).


    So what is the City of Harvard plan to fully fund pensions, given that as of December 31, 2015 for IMRF ($1,883,093) and April 30, 2016 for Police ($10,337,588), taxpayers owed a total of $10,337,588 to those pension funds.



    Taxpayers owe the City of Harvard $9,628,178 for bond principal and interest for fiscal year ending 2017 through 2031.

    A complete year by year annual debt service schedule is not included in the CAFR.

    Rather, years 2022 – 2026 are presented as one figure for principal and another for interest.

    And years 2027 – 2031 are presented as one figure for principal and another for interest.

    A complete year by year annual debt service schedule should be provided to taxpayers.


    Pension unfunded liability (taxpayer IOU to the pension funds): $10,337,588

    Bond Debt Service (taxpayers IOU for bonds): $9,628,178

    Total taxpayer pension and bond IOUs to the City of Harvard: $19,965,766.


    Taxpayers should be provided a complete picture of a funding plan of $19,965,766 for pensions and bonds.

  15. Another point.

    The new library opened in 2001.

    In what year is it projected the library will need a new roof?

    What is the projected cost of the new roof?

    Where is the line item detail of how the referendum money will be spent.

  16. And where is the Jack Franks plan to reduce the property tax levy of the City of Harvard by 10%?

    And what is the Jack Franks position on this referendum.

    Now that Jack Franks has been elected, he has failed to deliver his plan to reduce property taxes in every property taxing district in McHenry County.

    A plan he said he would deliver on his first day in office.

    His first day in office was December 5, 2016, when he took his oath of office.

  17. McHenry County Blog

    Cutting Property Taxes Jack Franks Style

    September 12, 2016

    The article contains a letter from Jack Franks to Township officials

    Here are the contents of the letter:


    Jack D Franks

    McHenry County Board Chairman

    [Those previous two lines were imprinted on the letterhead]

    July 15, 2016

    Your help and support throughout my campaigns is what made my time in Springfield possible.

    I want to thank you for all you have done.

    Representing the people of McHenry County in the State Legislature has been one of the great honors of my life.

    Now I face a great challenge and once again I am asking for your help.

    As you may know, I decided not to seek reelection to the General Assembly and instead am running to become Chairman of the McHenry County Board.

    I made this decision, in consultation with my wife Debby, because we believed I could do more to help out the people of McHenry County as the Chairman of the Board instead of as a Representative in Springfield.

    Our property taxes are out of control.

    While I have been leading the charge against tax increases in Springfield, its local government decisions that are the driving the huge increases we all face.

    The centerpiece of my election is my Cut10 campaign.

    The ideas is so simple that it just might work.

    Every taxing body should cut their levy by 10%.

    The reduction in the levy would reduce our property taxes, but we will only see real reduction if all the taxing bodies participate.

    I am committed to cutting 10% for every taxing body under the direct or indirect control of the county board and to using my bully pulpit until the other taxing bodies follow suit and also cut 10%.

    We can have lower taxes in McHenry County but it will require hard work and a willingness to make some tough decisions as we root out waste and corruption.

    We can’t win this campaign alone.

    We need your help.

    We are asking that you and your family get involved in our efforts to bring real property tax relief to McHenry County.

    Your help talking with neighbors, making phone calls, sending emails and stuffing envelopes is needed.

    Please take a minute to visit http://www.franksformchenry.com and fill out the volunteer form.

    If computers aren’t your thing, just call my office at (815)338-6363 and ask for David Raymond.

    He’s our volunteer coordinator and would love to talk to you.

    Of if you prefer, call me or Debby at home at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

    Chances are that you won’t catch us because we will be out walking so please leave a message.

    Change isn’t easy.

    Cutting costs and lowering taxes while taking on the entrenched county establishment demands a large effort.

    You’ve always been there in the past when we needed help.

    This is the biggest challenge we have ever faced.

    Please join me in this fight.

    Together we will reform McHenry County government and lower property taxes.

    Very Yours Truly,

    Jack D Franks

    PO Box 474, Woodstock, IL 60098



    Paid for by Supporters of Jack D Franks


    Where is the Jack Franks bully pulpit for the City of Harvard.

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