Conservation District Budget – Part 5 Real Estate Taxes Down

This portion of the budget presentation of the McHenry County Conservation District budget presentation to the County Board continues to give back ground information.

It is being shared because of the courthouse talk that County Chairman Jack Franks wants to cut the MCCD budget by 5%.

• For every dollar a resident pays in property taxes, less than 1 cent is paid to the Conservation District for the purpose of managing and operating public lands.

These public lands constitute a natural heritage of woodlands, prairies, wetlands, streams, agricultural lands in McHenry County that afford habitat for native plants and wildlife, clean and filter surface and groundwater and provide for clean air, promote healthy outdoor activities that connect McHenry County citizens to the natural world and inspire the heart and senses with an opportunity to experience the beauty and aesthetics of nature.

• The District does not have the same ability or flexibility like the County or Municipalities to fund operations and services with other tax and non-tax options.

• 86% of the District’s revenue comes from property taxes and the remainder from user fees, licenses, sponsorship, grants and donations. Education services and recreational programs, special events, and land/facility use licenses generate non-tax revenue for full or partial cost recovery.

• For the three most recent consecutive years (2014, 2015, 2016), the District reduced its total combined property tax levies, despite substantial increases in District lands, trails, facilities, programs and services.

• For 2012, 2013, and 2014 the District elected to not increase the corporate fund property tax levy.

• The District’s share of the property tax levy for tax payers in McHenry County is approximately 2% or $153.17.

The overall property tax rate was 0.276611 for the 2015 tax levy. Out of this tax rate, 0.108680 or 39% is for the three operating funds of the District (corporate, social security, insurance). The debt service levy rate of 0.167931 represents the majority of the District’s overall rate at 61%, which was approved by the voters of McHenry County.

• The District refinanced its outstanding voter approved general obligation bonds in 2014 to save tax payers over $14 million dollars over the life of the bonds. This represents an estimated annual cash flow savings of $1,089,836 per year.

• In less than ten (< 10) years (2026), 100% of the District’s debt service will be paid-off; resulting in a reduction of the District’s total annual property tax levy of more than 60%.

• The District continues to be a substantial payer of property taxes in McHenry County paying $144,484 in FY 2017 and $676,046 over the past five (5) years for parcels remaining in the agricultural lease program.


Conservation District Budget – Part 5 Real Estate Taxes Down — 7 Comments

  1. There’s a way to cut MCCD’s budget.

    Abate the taxes it pays.

    Does any other unit of government in the County pay property taxes?

  2. I believe Cary Park Dist rents out property also and pays taxes on that small portion of their land holdings.

  3. Fiscal Year Ending March 31, 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (FY 2016 CAFR)

    “Rental Income: The vast majority of the rental income is generated from over 5,900 acres of District land that is leased to farmers and is actively under some time of agricultural production.”

    Rental Income General $1,063,143

    Rental Income Nonmajor $17,661

    Rental Income Total $1,080,804


    The debt service schedule is listed in the annual report.

    Summary from 2017 – 2027:

    Principal – $104,580,000

    Interest – $35,190,413

    Total – $139,770,413


    The annual debt service payments increase from $11,882,700 in 2017 to $14,143,500 in 2027.

  4. Did the Conservation District use a Powerpoint presentation in their budget presentation to the County Board?

    If so, where is it?

    Any Powerpoint presentation to the County Board should be on the County Board meeting website, preferably along with, or in, the Board Agenda Packet or Minute Packet, or as a separate document in the meeting section of the website.

    All these board members and hardly any of them are conscientious about ensuring taxpayers are provided easy access to Powerpoint presentations presented to the County Board or any other board in the county.

  5. Why is the Conservation District holding land which is farmed?

    Sell it back to the private sector and use the income to lower our property taxes!!!

  6. The Conservation District’s rationale for holding land actively being farmed is probably something like:

    Buy land when it is cheap (they didn’t anticipate land prices would drop).

    When funds become available, restore the farmland to its natural state.

    Preserve open space, which improves quality of life, reduces congestion, and improves air quality.


    One would have to read the state law for conservation districts (ILCS) to determine if there are any restrictions on selling conservation district property.

  7. Many MCCD land purchases were during the years of our most severe economic crisis: with credit frozen, the stock market crashed, property selling at small fraction of prior years prices if it could sell at all.

    MCCD paid high prices.

    I wrote a long comment on this blog listing 2008-2010 mccd purchase prices a while back.

    They got no bargain on farmland or other property.

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