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.
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!
PLEASE CALL, EMAIL AND MESSAGE YOUR 4 COUNTY BOARD REPRESENTATIVES AND COUNTY BOARD CHAIR.
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.
- 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
OPEN LETTER TO THE RESIDENTS OF MCHENRY COUNTY
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
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Environmental Defenders of McHenry County
110 S. Johnson Street, Suite 106
Woodstock IL 60098-3259
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