Conservation District Budget – Part 3 Different Funds

Continuing to look at the McHenry County Conservation District Board’s budget presentation to the McHenry County Board, the total of which courthouse talk says that Board Chairman Jack Franks wnants cut 5%.

.Dedicated Accounts – Capital Fund

This is a ‘capital’ fund, funded largely by grant revenues and generally only funds larger more significant new initiatives, such as land acquisitions and site and trail improvements. The FY 2018 Budget includes the following highlights:

  • $2.9 million is budgeted for land acquisition. This amount is based largely on $2.7 million dollars of grants and donations that have not been specifically identified. If the revenues are not realized during the year, the expenditure cannot take place.
  • $170,000 is budgeted for the demolition of properties suffering from flood damage along the Nippersink Creek. The District is still planning on working with the County, if the County receives the funding from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP).
  • $252,000 is budgeted for trail Improvements; which include the completion of the Ridgefield Trace project (MCC to West Lakeshore Drive, Woodstock) and the Ridgefield Trace Union Pacific/Oak Street at-grade pedestrian crossing.

Natural Resource Special Revenue Fund

The Natural Resources Management Fund accounts for the revenues and expenses related to specific natural restoration initiatives.

The majority of the revenues in this fund are derived from wetland mitigation fees, whereby the District will enter into an agreement with a real estate developer or other third party to ‘mitigate’ impacts that have been made to a wetland area.

The agreements will require that the third party pay a specified amount to the District and the District will in turn be responsible for restoring a wetland area on District owned property.

The mitigation agreements are overseen by the US Army Corps of Engineers and/or other public body that is certified to implement the Stormwater Ordinance of McHenry County. The FY 2018 Budget includes the following highlights:

  • $92,400 to establish a wetland and stream mitigation bank at Glacial Park Conservation Area.
  • $51,500 to mitigate unavoidable impacts to the Kishwaukee River incurred during the replacement of the Deerpass Road bridge.
  • $49,800 to remove a drain tile system and invasive brush near Alden Sedge Meadow. This project will be grant reimbursed.

Insurance Fund

The Insurance Fund accounts for the general liability, property and worker’s compensation insurance coverages, as well as some other Risk Management Loss Control initiatives.

It is funded by a separate property tax levy and the use of the property tax revenues are restricted to the Insurance Fund and Risk Management and Loss Control initiatives.

The District is a member of the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), a self-insured intergovernmental risk management pool, which provides the comprehensive insurance coverages for the District.

The annual PDRMA premiums account for 95% of the total annual expenses in the Fund.

The District will be going through the Risk Management Loss Conrol Review/Agency Accreditation this year. The FY 2018 Budget highlights include:

  • $268,608 for PDRMA premiums. This represents a 2.8% annual increase.

Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Fund

The Capital Improvement Fund accounts for the more significant long-term capital repair and replacement needs of the District.

The budget is guided by the District’s 10-year Capital Asset Management Plan (CAMP) which is an inventory of all the District’s more significant assets and a schedule of the estimated cost to replace the asset at the end of its useful life.

Generally, these are assets with replacement costs greater than $25,000 and useful lives that extend beyond ten (10) years.

The FY 2018 Budget highlights include:

  • $69,500 is budgeted for site improvements.
  • $450,000 is budgeted for building demolitions at the Fox Bluff Conservation Area site. This includes $300,000 which was approved in the FY 2017 Budget, but was not expended.
  • $333,000 is budgeted for trail repairs and improvements.
  • $498,000 is budgeted for the replacement of asphalt drives and parking; the majority of this expense is for the Glacial Park Conservation Area.

Debt Service Fund

The Debt Service Fund accounts for the contractual payments due on the District’s $109.5 million dollars of outstanding General Obligation (GO) Bonds.

The bond payments are funded from a separate property tax levy and these tax receipts are statutorily restricted for the retirement of the debt. The FY 2018 Budget highlights include:

The property tax levy was reduced by $168,987 from the prior year as the result of a 2014 bond refinancing which saved taxpayers over $14 million dollars.

  • The $1.8 million dollars of outstanding non-referendum GO Bonds will be paid off at theend of FY 2018.
  • The remaining GO Bonds are all referendum approved and will be paid-off in full by the end of FY 2027.


Conservation District Budget – Part 3 Different Funds — 4 Comments

  1. The County fiscal year is December 1 through November 30th.

    The Conservation District fiscal year is April 1 through March 31st.

    So it is the April 1 through March 31st fiscal year that is being referenced in this series of articles?


    The County website still has the 2017 Draft Budget on its website.

    Not the Final Budget.

    Even though Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 2017) is December 1, 2016 – November 30, 2017.

    Thus the County has completed 5 of 12 months of FY Year 2017 (42%) but still has not posted the Final Budget on its website.


    They just didn’t bother to post it yet?

    Were there changes from the Draft Budget to the Final Budget?

  2. The FY 2017 county budget was approved at the November 15, 2016 Regular County Board meeting.

    It was:

    Agenda Item 17. Ordinances > 2. Actions > C. Annual Budget and Appropriations Ordinance for the County of McHenry, Illinois for the Fiscal Year December 1, A.D. 2016 through November 30, A.D., 2017.

    The vote was 16 – 7, with one absent.


    The 535 agenda packet for the November 15, 2016 Regular County Board meeting does not include the Final Budget.

    It does include the following documents:

    – 2017 Combined Budget Summary

    – 2017 Final Budget Adjustments 11.10.16


    So who is responsible for posting the FY 2017 McHenry County Final Budget on the McHenry County website?

    Since the Budgets are posted in the Administration section of the County Board website, apparently that would be be County Administrator Peter Austin or someone under him.

    Apparently not many taxpayers look at the budget, given the final budget is not yet posted at the Budgets / Finance Section of the County website, and the fiscal year began over 5 months ago.

  3. Even though the bulk of the money to fund land acquisitions apparently comes from grants, I’d be curious to know what the incremental expense to be incurred once those properties are acquired. S

    Surely there must be expenses incurred for site improvements (roads, parking, trails, restroom facilities, etc.).

    But, there are also incremental, on-going expenses for lawn mowing, maintenance, security, etc. that are added for each new property.

    So, while one might argue that land acquisition is externally funded, each new property adds to the ever-burgeoning operating expense base which has to be funded by property taxes.

    Aside from whatever merits may or may not exist for the acquisition of still more land by the County, the County reached a tipping point several years ago where the residents can no longer afford the current cost structure for the county’s multiple governmental bodies.

    The county should freeze its land acquisition efforts for the next several years because it just can’t afford to service any new land.

    This is how you get the 29th highest taxed county in the country.

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