Jack Franks’ Latest Attempt to Divert Attention from His Failure to Cut Our Real Estate Taxes by 10%

In a move that seems stimulated by McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks’ failure to lower property taxes of the tax districts controlled by the McHenry County Board, let alone people’s total tax bills, as his “Cut 10% Property Tax Now” campaign promised, the top local Demcorat has launched an attack on the Conservation District.

“CUT PROPERTY TAXES 10% NOW” was the theme of Jack Franks’ campaign for the McHenry County Board Chairmanship.

Franks criticized Executirve Director Elizabeth Kessler’s compensation and the lack of a significant reduction in its budget.

Not a bad distraction to take people’s attention away from McHenry County’s too, too high tproperty taxes.

And, in a time when very few electoral contests occur, Franks wants to have the Conversation District Board elected.

The organization who spearheaded the 1971 passage of the referendum to createthe Conservation District was the McHenry County Defenders.

Now named the Environmental Defenders of McHenry Count, the group has issued a call to arms, which you can read below:

To: Environmental Defenders’ members
Re: Support for MCCD’s proposed budget

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County was instrumental in the founding of the McHenry County Conservation District (MCCD), which was founded in 1971 by a group of ecologically minded residents.

It is supported by the Conservation Act of 1963 and came to fruition through a successful county wide referendum held in conjunction with the general election of April 1971. 

McHenry County is known for its beautiful and valued open space, which attracts those looking for a new place to live or visit

Forged by amazing geological activity, the land IS why people come to this county. 

This is good for the economy and the environment as MCCD is designed to help bring people closer to the land that supports them

The health of these open spaces requires more support and not less in order to fulfill its mission and vision of conservation.   

We encourage you to show support for MCCD’s proposed budget, which is in jeopardy and that threatens the very ability for MCCD open spaces and activities to take place this summer season, which is just a few short weeks away.

The Defenders’ urges you to contact your County Board members and County Chair, Jack Franks, to voice your advocacy for the necessary funding needed as laid out in MCCD’s budget, without which programs could be discontinued and natural areas could fall into disrepair.

With a dwindling staff and 7 years of not utilizing tax levies it could have, at only 2¢ of every dollar of our property tax bills, the budget in many ways can be considered overdue to MCCD.   

We believe that residents would be willing to pay less than $7.00 a year to pass this budget.  

Many of us would pay more.

Please, ask your County Board Member to Support the District’s Budget by Taking Action Today and plan to attend any and all of the meetings below. 

Your voice is needed.

  • Thursday, May 9  – Finance & Audit Committee Meeting – 8:30 AM
  • Thursday, May 16 – Committee of the Whole – 9:00 AM
  • *Tuesday, May 21 – County Board Meeting – 7:00 PM
    667 Ware Street, Administration Building, Woodstock, IL
    *Vote will take place at this meeting – all hands on deck!

Contact information is here.

The Finance & Audit Committee analyzes and monitors the financial position of the County. The Committee reviews the annual budget policy and proposed budget; approves all financial resolutions from departments; reviews and approves McHenry County Loan fund requests; reviews internal and external audits and assists Administration with maintaining the financial strength of the county.

ChairmanMichael Skala
Vice-ChairMary McCann
MemberMichael Vijuk
MemberJohn Reinert
MemberKelli Wegener
MemberChris Christensen
MemberStephen Doherty
MemberLarry Smith

Messaging ideas:

Messaging Ideas

  1. Let them know you support the continued preservation, restoration, education and outdoor recreation efforts of the Conservation District. 

2. That you understand that while their 2019-2020 budget includes a total estimated annual increase of $6.70 for homeowners (median home valued at $150K), it is a minimal cost compared to the return on your investment.  Only a $2.76 increase to support District operations.

3.     That for just 0.2 cents of every dollar paid in property taxes goes to McHenry County Conservation District who will remain steadfast in its mission to preserve and protect open space, clean water, wildlife and outdoor recreation areas in McHenry County for current and future generations.

4.     That you believe in transparent, responsive and responsible government and that there is a shared responsibility for the protection of our water, wildlife and way of life in McHenry County.  

5.     That the Conservation District has demonstrated sound fiscal stewardship by not increasing total property taxes levied since 2013 and made a conscientious decision to make the 2017 levy abatement permanent with the 2018 levy – which resulted in levying $2.8 million dollars less in property taxes which is equivalent to 30% of the District’s 2019-2020 budget and refinancing its debt service in 2014 for a $14-million dollar savings over the bonds – a direct savings of $1-million dollar savings per year to the tax-payers of McHenry County. 

6.     That citizens of McHenry County have the right to clean drinking water, wild and scenic places that protect wildlife and safe and accessible outdoor recreation areas and without annual funding conservation areas are at risk.  

Personal Stories of Impact

Share your personal stories of the why the Conservation District is a value and important to McHenry County.  Share experiences in the outdoors, personal impact, environmental impact, economic impact, community impact. 

OPEN letter from MCCD found at: www.mccdistrict.org

May 7, 2019


McHenry County Conservation District making Conservation a Priority for Water, Wildlife and Way of Life in McHenry County By electing to forego the inflationary property tax increases available under PTELL [the Tax Cap] for more than seven years, the McHenry County Conservation District has led by example, levying $2.8 million dollars less in property taxes.

McHenry County Conservation District continues a long history of being responsive to the needs of our residents by holding itself fiscally accountable and by fulfilling its promise to preserve and protect open space, clean water, wildlife and outdoor recreation areas in McHenry County so current and future generations can enjoy them.

In recognition of the concerns of McHenry County residents over high property taxes, McHenry County Conservation District did not increase the total property taxes levied since 2013 and made a conscientious decision to make the 2017 levy abatement permanent with the 2018 levy.

By electing to forego the inflationary property tax increases available under PTELL for more than seven years, the District has led by example, levying $2.8 million dollars less in property taxes, which is equivalent to 30% of the proposed FY 2020 operating budget.

On Thursday, April 18 as part of the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting, McHenry County Conservation District Board of Trustees, with a unanimous vote 7-0, approved the District’s FY 2020 operating budget. [Three of these commissioners were appointed by Jack Franks.]

McHenry County Conservation District accounts for approximately 2% of residential property tax bills in McHenry County.

For every dollar a resident pays in property taxes, approximately $0.02 is paid to the District.

Less than $0.01 goes for the purpose of managing and protecting land, water and wildlife that constitute the natural heritage of McHenry County.

Slightly over $0.01 goes to service the Conservation District’s debt approved by the voters for the preservation of public open space, protection of wildlife habitat and public access improvements.

The District does not have the same flexibility as the County or other units of government to fund operations and other services with other tax and non-tax options.

The FY 2020 Annual Budget includes total ‘non-debt’ related expenditures of $16.2 million, which represents a modest 1% decrease from the prior FY 2019.

The FY 2020 Annual Budget can be viewed online at MCCDistrict.org http://bit.ly/MCCDTransparency.

The District’s programs, sites, facilities and services as proposed within the FY 2020 Budget, are an investment in McHenry County’s future.

The associated benefits provide a return on investment (ROI) and return on environment (ROE) that is tangible, measurable and essential to sustaining the long-term health and viability of McHenry County.

The Conservation District will continue to assess needs, and with limited resources, work to protect our water, wildlife and way of life in McHenry County for current to future generations

This will be achieved by maintaining high-quality natural areas and excellence in service expectations with a continued commitment to cultivate strategic working partnerships for shared collaborative investments to successfully fulfill the conservation mission and land ethic as envisioned by the county’s citizens when the McHenry County Conservation District was first established.

Yours in Conservation, Dave Kranz,
Board President McHenry County Conservation District

Find us on FaceBook! 
Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
110 S. Johnson Street, Suite 106
Woodstock IL 60098-3259
Phone: 815-338-0393
EnviroDefMC@gmail.com                     www.mcdef.org
Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 10 am until 4:30 pm
Green Spot Book Store Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 11 am until 4 pm, Saturday 11am-3pm
Please only print this e-mail if absolutely needed. Save a tree!


Jack Franks’ Latest Attempt to Divert Attention from His Failure to Cut Our Real Estate Taxes by 10% — 12 Comments

  1. “With a dwindling staff and 7 years of not utilizing tax levies it could have, at only 2¢ of every dollar of our property tax bills, the budget in many ways can be considered overdue to MCCD.”

    Why the H do I have to pay for their Police force?

    “Share your personal stories ” A juvenile paddled down a creek which started on his property and was ‘caught’ on the same creek by the conservation district ‘pretend’ cops and issued a ticket for “navigating an unnavigable waterway”!

    “wild and scenic places that protect wildlife ” The same wildlife that NR agents gun down annually in their deer ‘harvest’ with sniper rifles.

    Cut their budget!!!

    Why doed MCCD buy tillable acres and then ‘rent’ them out to actual farmers?

    Sell that land to real farmers and use the money to pay the hefty pensions ‘given’ to the employees!!

  2. McHenry co conservation dist equals acres of wasted crop land and the largest weed seed production property in the county

  3. Start a campaign to have MCCD sell the land surrounding the Franks empire Estate on the south side of Highway 20 to build ‘affordable’ housing.

  4. I think from todays Nw Herald, Franks main concern (distraction) is the MCCD’s Directors outrageous and truly inflated salary, benefits, and fat pension.

    Dude has a point—200k+?

    Come on.

    36 years of experience usually means she’ll be gettng out soon and this is pension pad time…

    thank her for yer service, dont renew the contract and get a more budget friendly compensation package for a newer person…

    again thanks for what you did, but 36 years isnt the time to be handing out huge raises as sunset approaches, and that should be a no brainer budget line item to keep stable, not increase.

  5. Why the heck are we paying tax dollars to maintain the “Taj Mahal” created by an appointed board of directors and the female “Raja” that is running it???

    Did anyone who voted to create this taxing district (one of only six in Illinois) and then see it grow way beyond its original purpose, forsee how it would become virtually impossible to rein in?

    Hopefully the County Board members will see the taxpayers have no appetite for any increases on their tax bills no matter how many “defenders” they can get to show up at a meeting.

    Cut this budget and forget the shell game figures they give out to justify the increase.

  6. Cal, it sounds like you think Franks doesn’t have legimitate concerns about the outrageous salary and benefits given to the director.

    I’m glad he’s speaking out for the taxpayer.

    If the subject hadn’t been brought up, this would have gone through as it has all these years.

    Whether she worked for a year or thirty-five, that position doesn’t warrant that salary.

    Where is the end to these, what amount to abuses, that end up on the taxpayer’s shoulders?

    Franks may have his faults but I’m glad he’s there.

    Where are all the Republicans in McHenry County who want to limit the growth of government?

    Keep track of what’s going on right in front of your eyes and speak out!

  7. …and yet, they discontinued the volunteer-run Trail of History, because they couldn’t afford it, even though they charged admission.

    This was the only worthwhile event they had in any of their weed patches, and was well-attended.

    That’s a special kind of stupid right there.

  8. MCCD has a documented history of paying EXTRAORDINARILY higher-than-market prices for land acquisitions
    during the years just after the crash (when real estate was selling, if could even find a buyer, at pennies on the dollar).

    This multimillion dollar land acquisition is the genesis of our County’s current debt load for MCCD insiders’ profligate self-serving empire.

    MCCD has documented history of local State representatives championing SPECIFIC SPECIAL tax treatment in order to enable MCCD to RAISE taxes in excess of and in contravention of Illinois laws established to protect taxpayers…

    During a time period in which Woodstock property tax rates were nearly 5% of fair market home values and that 5% rate was more than triple national average.

    MCCD bloated budget can be traced to personal enrichment of a few at the legally mandated expense of the many.

    Some of “the many” who were drained of personal resources in order to enrich MCCD (among other similarly sociopathic taxing bodies) lost their homes.

    It is beyond offensive, beyond morally repugnant, to read this obfuscating, selectively misleading filth out of Kessler’s cakehole.

  9. Skala voted for a property tax increase for the conservation district and Jim Kearns voted against giving $15 million back to the taxpayers.

    And these are the two guys considering running against franks for chair.

    What clowns.

  10. During Ms. Kessler’s reign MCCD has moved away from the District’s Mission Statement which is “…to preserve, restore and manage natural areas”.

    The tax dollars that should be used for acquiring and restoring natural areas are being used to run programs that belong in the realm of park districts.

    Should MCCD be running ice cream socials, craft beer runs, 5K races and concerts, which are just a few of the programs listed in their latest glossy. high-priced publication?

    We already have plenty of park districts.

    What would the tax picture look like without the “park district wanna-be” programs?

  11. THANK YOU to the county board members who voted no on th proposed conservation district budget.

    Chris Christianson, John Reinert, Michael Vijuk and Larry Smith stood for the taxpayer to put the brakes on this ever growing taxing body.

    The defenders are good at getting people to meetings.

    Hopefully, county board members are not swayed by this show of strength.

    It, in no way, expresses the feelings of the taxpayers in McHenry County.

    Ask the person on the street what he thinks of the $200,000 plus benefits salary of the director and they’ll stand in shock.

    Larry Fisher says the increase would not affect his lifestyle but cuts in the districts maintenance would dramatically affect his lifestyle.

    Too bad, Larry, that the whole county might not pay for your play.

    County board members, be strong.

    Stop the tax increases and new property acquisitions.

    Enough IS enough!

  12. LTRESIDENT, you are right!

    Trail of History was the only decent thing they ever hosted, and it was cut because of the PC pigs now running the show.

    The PC pigs didn’t like the idea of men with guns fighting for their lands…..even though it was part of the past.

    it might give youth ideas.

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