Crystal Lake Council Tax Hikes Far Exceed Increase in the Cost of Living

Take a look at how much Mayor Aaron Shepley and the Crystal Lake City Council has levied in taxes beyond the increase in the Cost of Living:

Crystal Lake Property and Home Rule Sales Taxes for the last decade.

Real estate taxes have increased more than $3 million more than they would of had the City Council merely raised them to match inflation.

In addition, of course, are the dollars paid by shoppers from the Council’s 75% increase in the city sales tax.


Comments

Crystal Lake Council Tax Hikes Far Exceed Increase in the Cost of Living — 12 Comments

  1. Yet, in Rockford – not a home rule city – based on last night’s, news reports the government is attempting to convince the taxpayers that Home Rule Cities have LOWER TAXES.

    Rockford government wants the voters to give them back their Home Rule status in a referendum.

  2. This is an eye opener.

    My impression was that the CL City Council was made up of fiscal conservatives.

    Not.

  3. In the NWH:

    ALGONQUIN – The Algonquin Area Public Library District approved a request for a 15.5 percent increase in its property tax levy for 2018.

  4. Well the Algonquin library did just spend a fortune on their expansion (about $900 per square foot).

    I envision solid gold fixtures at that premium.

    The said that they have been overtaxing is for years and tasting that over taxation.

    So naturally they need more money!

  5. Alg library should of went to referendum vote.

    BOcare should of also.

    IMO the only way to stop levy, tax, and over borrowing is to let us vote on all of those.

    Also put a 2/3 vote for appoval of any changes in spending.

    Dave McSweeney has a bill on that very idea which needs our support.

  6. Anyone do a ‘Edgar County Watchdog’ type of investigation of Library Board expenditures?

    Any trips funded?

    Insofar as ‘let the voters decide’ may I remind you the voters changed the State Constitution to GUARANTEE public sector pensions and then elected people to office who used the pension money to fund social welfare programs and increase the practice of ‘selective capitalism’.

    We need to elect more honest conservatives.

    First you have to convince them to run for office.

  7. Shepley could care less about the taxpayers.

    Centegra takes care of his personal fiscal needs.

  8. The voters were either lied to or mislead by partisan hacks that want to get reelected.

    With all the media I’d hope we are better informed than back even 20 years ago.

    This blog, Facebook, more media have all made transparency more available.

    A 2/3 vote is better than the as the wind blows nonsense we have now for referendum.

  9. The City of Crystal Lake, as many other cities, villages, and towns in Illinois, has pension funding problem, the causes budget problems.

    In particular the city owes $37 million dollars to its police and fire pension funds.

    The underfunded pensions are caused by past legislative pension benefit hikes, local salary hikes, and decisions to fund other priorities instead of pensions.

    +++++++++

    The legislative branch of Illinois government has a branch called COGFA (Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability) that issues reports minimizing the effects of the legislative pension benefit hikes on the problem.

    To get a more complete picture of why pensions are underfunded, read Chapter 1 of Illinois Pension Scam, by Bill Zettler.

    The practice of legislative pension benefit hikes escalated after one sentence was added to the state constitution as a result of a voter referendum on December 15, 1970.

    The sentence was one of many changes to the state constitution that year.

    In part because there were so many changes to the constitution, this change slipped through the crack.

    The sentence was not even close to being fully understood by taxpayers, and to this day, most people have not a clue its meaning or what has subsequently transpired.

    ++++++++++

    Here is the sentence.

    ++++++++++

    Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State,

    any unit of local government or school district,

    or any agency or instrumentality thereof,

    shall be an enforceable contractual relationship,

    the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

    ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con13.htm

    ++++++++

    The Illinois Supreme Court has interpreted sentence to mean, in layman’s terms, that public sector pensions and retiree healthcare benefits in Illinois are a contract which cannot be diminished or impaired for existing employees.

    However, there was no cap or throttle on hiking pension benefits.

    Benefits subsequently soared over the decades.

    Incredibly, benefits were repeatedly hiked over decades, although pensions were underfunded at the time of the hikes.

    The disclosure of the hikes, and pension funding status at the time of the hikes, was awful.

    That is a scam on the taxpayer.

    ++++++++++

    The budget and levy dilemma had direct ties to pensions.

    ++++++++++

    The biggest taxpayer problem with underfunded pensions from a taxpayer perspective, is taxpayers at some point have to pay interest on the underfunded principal.

    The analogy is a credit card.

    Not only principal is owed, but also interest.

    So not only are the Tier 1 (Tier I) pension benefits expensive to taxpayers, but they become even more expensive, due to interest, when the pensions are underfunded.

    Tier 2 (Tier II) pensions are for those that began contribution to the pension fund on or after January 1, 2011.

    ++++++++++

    Following is some information about Crystal Lake Police and Fire pensions.

    ++++++++++

    First, the source.

    ++++++++++

    Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI)

    Public Pension Division

    2017 Biennial Report (2015 – 2016).

    https://insurance.illinois.gov/Reports/Pension/pension_biennial_report_2017.pdf

    +++++++++

    This report was issued October 1, 2017 and includes most public sector pension funds in Illinois, including the Downstate Police and Downstate Fire pension funds for the years 2015 and 2016.

    CTA, RTA, Metra, and CHA are not included in the report.

    +++++++++

    Downstate Police and Downstate Fire pension funds are unique for each employer.

    The investments are not pooled (combined) as they are in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF).

    Crystal Lake has Downstate Police pension fund, and a Downstate Fire pension fund.

    Crystal Lake also has participates in IMRF.

    +++++++++

    The IDOI Public Pension Division 2017 Biennial Report details Downstate Police and Downstate Fire Pension funds, but not individual employer IMRF pension funds.

    More information on all three can be located in the city’s comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR).

    Note in CAFR’s, net pension liability = unfunded liability = taxpayer pension report to the pension fund.

    +++++++++

    Here are some statistics from the IDOI Public Pension Division 2017 Biennial Report.

    +++++++++

    First are some statistics about pay for current employees.

    +++++++++

    Crystal Lake Firefighters Pension Fund

    2016 Active Participants – 2016 Avg Total Salary – 2015 Active Participants – 2015 Total Avg Salary

    63 – $91,184 – 63 – $87,809

    ——-

    Active Participant Change – Total Salary Percentage Change

    zero – 4%.

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Crystal Lake Police Pension Fund

    2016 Active Participants – 2016 Avg Total Salary – 2015 Active Participants – 2015 Total Avg Salary

    60 – $90,627 – 65 – $88,823

    ——-

    Active Participant Change – Total Salary Percentage Change

    5 – 2%

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Next are some statistics about retirees.

    ++++++++

    Crystal Lake Firefighters Pension Fund

    Average Service Benefit by Fund Name by Reported Fiscal Year

    2016 Service Participants – 2016 Average Benefit – 2015 Service Participants – 2015 Average Benefit

    13 – $71,473 – 12 – $69,450

    ——-

    Service Participants Change – Total Benefit Percentage Change

    1 – 3%

    +++++++++++++++++

    Crystal Lake Police Pension Fund

    Average Service Benefit by Fund Name by Reported Fiscal Year

    27 – $73,083 – 23 – $72,093

    ——-

    Service Participants Change – Total Benefit Percentage Change

    4 – 1%

    ++++++++++++++++++

    As of April 30, 2016

    Fund Name – Unfunded Liability (Actuarial Funding Position) – Percent Funded (Actuarial Funding Percent)

    Crystal Lake Fire – $12,992,518 – 70%

    Crystal Lake Police – $24,596,154 – 59.22%

    Total – $37,588,672

    +++++++++++

    As of April 30, 2016, Crystal Lake taxpayers owed $37 million dollars to the police and fire pension funds.

    Crystal Lake police and fire employees and retirees owe nothing to the pension funds.

    +++++++++++

    Salary hikes are the result of collective bargaining.

    During collective bargaining, if the union and employer cannot reach an agreement, the matter goes to mediation, and if that fails, to binding arbitration.

    Binding arbitration is where the employer and union present their case to a third party arbitrator who makes a decision.

    +++++++++

  10. The City of Crystal Lake, as many other cities, villages, and towns in Illinois, has a pension funding problem, that causes budget problems.

  11. FYI, here is the summary of why Moody’s downgraded the City of Crystal Lake’s credit rating on 6/8/16:

    Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded to Aa2 from Aa1 the rating on the City of Crystal Lake, IL’s outstanding general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) debt.

    The rating change affects $16 million of rated debt.

    The downgrade to Aa2 incorporates steady depreciation of the city’s tax base and an expectation that future growth may temper relative to the city’s pre-recession trend.

    The rating also factors in an elevated pension burden, moderate debt burden, and the city’s broad legal flexibility to raise revenue.

    The rating further considers the city’s very healthy financial position with recent declines in reserves attributed to capital spending rather than operational imbalances.

    While reserves may decline further in the current year, we expect the city to maintain solid fund balances going forward.

  12. Here is the website for the City of Crystal Lake board meeting which begins at 7:30 PM tonight 100 W Woodstock Street.

    Notice that the City of Crystal Lake posts a board agenda packet for the public prior to the regular board meeting, unlike the local Crystal Lake / Cary / Fox River Grove High School District 155.

    http://www.crystallake.org/Home/Components/Calendar/Event/4135/252?toggle=allupcoming

    ++++++++++

    Interesting that the City of Crystal Lake and McHenry County can post a board agenda packet containing the documents to be discussed and voted on at the regular board meeting, but CHSD 155 does not.

    ++++++++++

    It is noteworthy that many local units of government produce board agenda packets, but many school districts do not.

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