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.