The following was written by former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster:
Resolution establishing an ad hoc committee to reduce taxes by 10%
During the campaign leading up to the 2016 general election, then candidate for County Board Chairman Jack Franks promoted “his plan to reduce county wide real estate taxes by 10%.”
At the very first County Board meeting, he said he would submit his plan.
However, under agenda item “chairman’s comments,” he reniged on his campaign promise to provide “his plan” at that meeting, instead challenging the County Board members to find ways to reduce these taxes by 10%.
Four months later, at the April 18th County Board Meeting, Andrew Gasser was lauded for having been instrumental in drafting a resolution to establish an ad hoc committee “…to reduce the aggregate total of all property taxes levied by the County of McHenry, Illinois during Fiscal Year 2018 by (10) percent), or $7,934,407, from $79,934,407 in Fiscal Year 2017 to less than $71,409,671 in Fiscal Year 2018 by abating any levy decrease back to the taxpayers; and…”
The ad hoc Committee will include:
Franks – ad hoc Committee Chairman
Mike Skala – ad hoc Committee vice chair (chair Finance & Audit)
Michele Aavang – member (chair Law & Government)
Larry Smith – member (Chair Planning, Environmental & Development)
Bob Nowak – member (chair Liquor & License)
Yvonne Barnes – member (chair Internal Support & Facilities)
John Jung – member (chair Human Resources)
Chuck Wheeler – member (chair Public Health & Community Services)
Joe Gottemoller – member (chair Transportation)
Chris Christensen – member at large
Jim Kearns – member at large
Craig Wilcox – member at large
After a great deal of discussion, most of which, at the very least, was incoherent, the vote proceeded with one lone vote in the negative.
This, despite of the fact the resolution’s attached Schedule had no comments or direction for the project.
Donna Kurtz said, “No.”
Her rationale was: “…there was no plan to achieve the goal.”
What the other members thought they were voting for is a mystery of gigantic proportions.
Also of interest was the point that no one questioned the resolution statement “…in Fiscal Year 2018 by abating any levy decrease back to the taxpayers; and…”.
It is understandable that new members would not grasp the history of tax reduction effort by previous county boards.
But, it is highly questionable as to why members who served in these positions over the last 4-5 years have forgotten that, year after year, all departments had already been pushed to the limit to reduce their budgets.
It will be interesting to see how the majority of this ad hoc committee handles any efforts to reduce the budget without hitting, head-on, the real problem.
Goals are fantastic, however, without a plan, goals can be illusive.
With the majority of this committee already having demonstrated their willingness to do the Chairman’s bidding, how will they handle this objective when employees and special interests really begin their assault on their efforts to reduce costs?
Most enthusiastic opponents will be union members as they defend their positions.
Unions, and their members who poured many thousands of dollars into the chairman’s campaign.
This could be a great side-show if it were not so serious and that it is our tax dollars at stake.