McHenry County Board Responsible for Half of Real Estate Tax Hike This Year

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.

The new McHenry County Board is composed of all Republicans.

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

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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


McHenry County Board Responsible for Half of Real Estate Tax Hike This Year — 14 Comments

  1. Clueless to the outcries of the taxpayers is the only way to describe such an outrage.

    A man famous for all history once wrote:

    “Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”

    Marcus Aurelius

    Prepare for the primaries, and cast the pretenders from you midst.

  2. Sorry for the double post here, but I can’t resist.

    “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.”

    Napoleon Bonaparte

  3. McHenry County Clerk



    2016 (Assessment Year)

    County Summary PTAX-250

    Category – $ Amount (cents dropped) – % Increase or Decrease from prior year

    Total Extensions – $829,734,565 – 0.7% increase, which is 7/10ths of 1 percent

    The Total Extensions are broken down into the below sub-categories:

    County – $79,424,610 – 4.1% increase

    Townships & Road Districts – $25,151,659 – (4.3%) decrease

    Cities, Villages & incorporated Towns – $68,878,509 – (0.2%) decrease

    School Districts – $558,372,099 – 0.5% increase

    Special Districts – $97,907,685 – 1.3% increase


    2015 (Assessment Year)

    County Summary PTAX-250

    Total Current Extensions: $823,699,731

    County: $76,289,016

    Townships or Road Districts: $26,289,625

    Cities, Villages & incorporated Towns: $69,033,380

    School Districts: $555,400,657

    Special Districts: $96,687,051


    2014 (Assessment Year)

    County Summary PTAX-250


    County summary reports are listed for assessment years 2009 – 2014 as well.

    The 2008 file is damaged (the problem can be reported to the county clerk’s office).


    The biggest obstacle to cutting taxes in many of the property taxing districts is unfunded pension and retiree health liabilities.

  4. My quick answer is “our pockets,” but I don’t think that is what you are asking.

    Please re-phrase the question.

  5. School District extensions were hiked 0.5% (1/2 of 1%), from $555,400,657 to $558,372,099 ($2,971,442).

    Special District extensions were hiked 1.3%, from $96,687,051 to $97,907,685 ($1,220,634).

    The increases were partially offset by some of the decreases noted above:

    – Townships and Road Districts

    – Cities, Villages & incorporated Towns

  6. Board members up for election next year:

    Gasser will soon be replaced – hopefully we can find another conservative who can also win re-election.

    In the balance of the group: Nowak, Heisler, Kurtz, Kopsell, Gottemoller, Hammerand, Wheeler, Jung, Rein, Aavang, Smith

    Who has shown a conscientious continual effort to work on behalf of the taxpayer?

    Rein appears to; Wheeler does most of the time.

    Be assured, the “round mound” will be digging into his campaign war chest to have them defeated.

    The fiscal conservatives in this County must work to round up candidates for petition circulation starting in September to replace up to nine of the current Board members in next year’s primary.

    It will also be interesting to see who circulates petitions for Pam Althoff’s seat.

  7. Yet more fiscal insanity which leads to yet more people and businesses fleeing Illinois
    and taking their wealth with them.

    The inevitable death spiral is upon us.

    To stay or leave is the question we will all have to reckon with.

  8. Did the other $3M go toward salaries, services, administration, courts, etc?

  9. Drill down to Fund Extensions per property taxing district is available in the “Tax Computation Report” on the County Clerk website.


    Government accounting used fund accounting, which is different than business accounting.

    The names of the funds vary from one type of property taxing district to another (county v school district), and not all property taxing districts of the same type, use the same funds, for various reasons.


    For even more detailed drill down, see budgets, audited financial reports, comprehensive annual financial reports, etc. available on property taxing district website.


    Illinois school districts issue two types of annual financial reports.

    One type is submitted to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

    Another type is the audited financial report.

    Typically more helpful information is contained in the audited financial report aka audited financial statements.

    Some school districts also issue a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).


    If the desired information is not in any of those documents, one can submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents.

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