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.”