Last year, McHenry County taxpayers were billed $823,699,731.68.
This year, real estate taxes total $829,734,565.01
That’s an increase countywide of $6 million or 7/10 of one percent.
$3 million of that increase–half of the total–can be laid at the feet of the Republican County Board–serving from 2014-2016–who refused to kill the Valley Hi Nursing Home tax.
Because I think the fourteen Republicans on the County Board who caused this part of the tax hike deserve recognition, I reprint my article about it from mid-November below:
County Board Members Who Wanted to Cut Taxes Lost
Got tired before I had the opportunity to report on the failed effort to keep McHenry County government’s tax take approximately constant.
After passing the levy, which, without other action, will increase county government’s taxes by 4%, an effort was made to abate the $2.74 million taken from the Valley Hi authorization.
In the first budget presented to the Finance Committee, there was $2.75 million for Valley Hi.
Pressure must have been too intense, because the next iteration showed $10,000 for Valley Hi.
While pretty irrelevant with over $40 million sitting in the bank, the levying of even $1 for Valley Hi keeps the tax alive.
A vast majority of County Board members voted to keep the Valley Hi tax.
After the $79.3 million tax levy was passed and the motion to eliminate the $10,000 levy for Valley Hi was defeated, Woodstock member Michael Rein moved to abate the $2.4 million basically taken from Valley Hi taxing authority.
County Clerk Mary McClellan, who determines tax rates, told the Board that a separate abatement resolution would have to be filed by the first week in April for such a levy reduction to be implemented.
Finance Committee Chairman Mike Skala reminded the Board that if the reduction motion passed money would have to be found elsewhere to pay for the capital projects.
It could be either borrowed from the Valley Hi surplus or from bond holders.
Skala stressed the repair and construction needs of County government.
The projects being considered are from an estimate for capital needs for the next five years, while borrowing money would take ten years to repay.
“We’ve already made those decisions,” retiring member Carolyn Schofield, Crystal Lake, said.
“It’s the most cost-effective way of doing it.”
“I’m going to be gone so I’m no going to be blamed for this.
“I want it to be the most cost-effective method.”
“These are things that need to be done,” Harvard’s Larry Smith pointed out.
“We have the opportunity to do [some] of these projects and move ahead without borrowing money.”
Using the $2.74 million to finance part of the capital program would be, in essence, a “pay as you go” approach without the need to pay interest on debt.
Rein called one of the proposed projects–buying the building on Russel Court “a cesspool.”
“We haven’t even decided which projects we’re going to do.”
Ending debate, McHenry’s Chuck Wheeler agreed with Rein, saying his approach was “the most prudent scenario.”
The following nine voted to abate $2.74 million from next year’s tax bills:
- Yvonne Barnes
- Chris Christensen
- Diane Evertsen
- Andrew Gasser
- John Hammerand
- Michael Rein
- Jeff Thorsen
- Michael Walkup
- Chuck Wheeler
The fourteen voting against cutting the amount the previously passed tax levy would allow were
- Michele Aavang
- Sue Draffkorn
- Joe Gottemoller
- Jim Heisler
- Tina Hill
- John Jung
- Don Kopsell
- Donna Kurtz
- Bob Martens
- Mary McCann
- Robert Nowak
- Carolyn Schofield
- Mike Skala
- Larry Smith