I am sure he has concluded that people in Crystal Lake just don’t care. A justifiable political conclusion.
All who voted for the tax were Republicans, but the Democrats in Crystal Lake are so weak they put up no opposition in the non-partisan election.
What a wedge issue they would have had.
It still bothers me that financing Vulcan Lakes was used as an excuse for imposing the tax. The same reason was used to impose a Tax Increment Financing district on much of the Route 14 area now virtually vacant, plus Vulcan Lakes.
It also bothers me that there was only one week’s notice. Municipal officials around here don’t want a lot of public input on major decisions and giving virtually no notice certainly encourages lack of citizen participation.
There was an alternative way to finance development of Vulcan Lake, but it would have allowed anyone living in Crystal Lake to use the resulting recreation area.
Some Crystal Lake leaders apparently didn’t want outsiders to be able to enjoy the amenities–regardless of the lower taxes that would have been imposed on Crystal Lake residents and others shopping in Crystal Lake–if the McHenry County Conservation District had paid for the improvements with already existing taxes.
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Besides Mayor Aaron Shepley, the other council members who voted to raise Crystal Lake’s city sales tax 75% are seen above. Top row: former Councilman Dave Goss and current Council members Ralph Dawson and Ellen Brady-Mueller. Second row: Kathy Ferguson and Brett Hopkins.
The petitions for re-election are being circulated for Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley and Council members Cathy Ferguson, Ellen Brady Mueller and Brett Hopkins.
The festivities were problem in front of the building you see next to the play area.
And, just in time for the campaign, there is an election kick-off party that required the of spending well over $10 million. $14.37 million, according to the Northwest Herald.
As pointed out in 2005, there was a cheaper way, at least for Crystal Lake area residents.
There was no need for a Tax Increment Financing District to pay for turning Vulcan Lakes into Three Oaks Recreation Area.
Indeed the announcement that a TIF would be formed to finance the project was what stimulated me to start McHenry County Blog. $115 million would be available, said the city’s consultant. Bill Cellini’s group won the contract from the council to do the development, but backed away from it after his name coming up in the Tony Rezko trial.
TIFs are just a way to force everyone (yes, everyone in any overlapping tax district, and because of McHenry County government and the McHenry County Conservation District, that means all county resident) not living in the TIF to pay for it.
It’s a tax increase that the city council voted on all of us.
Oh, wait. That isn’t the way it’s being financed.
With the recession and the decimation of the commercial strip on the Vulcan Lake side of Route 14, the city couldn’t sell bonds to pay for the enormous cost of TORA.
Tall street lights line the roads. This one runs to the parking lot area from Main Street.
MCCD undoubtedly would not have spent, how much, hundreds of thousands of dollars on fancy street lights for a facility that closes at sunset.
That way was to convince the McHenry County Conservation District to take it over.
Had the council done so, our area would have finally gotten back some of the tens of millions of our tax dollars that has been redistributed north, northwest and west, like a kid slinging a bucket of water. The pockets of those in District 47 have ended up as empty as the bucket, another victim of Illinois’ having way too many local governmental units.
But control of the facility was the primary goal of city officials.
And maybe their names on a plaque. The edifice complex in action.
Bragging rights they have achieved include
having been instrumental in constructing the facility and
like Barack Obama, forcing the payment for it on their grandchildren.
Not to mention the ability to feature on their campaign literature what a great accomplishment opening the facility has been.
I couldn’t get close enough to take photos of the council members taking credit for the project without paying $5 for parking.
Not worth the price, so I’ll just run photos of the six council members who voted to raise the city sales tax 75%. There won’t be the same backdrop, but credit will go where it is due.
Mayor Aaron Shepley
Councilman Ralph Dawson
Councilwoman Cathy Ferguson
Former Councilman Dave Goss
Councilman Brett Hopkins
Councilwoman Ellen Brady Mueller
Shepley, Ferguson, Hopkins and Brady Mueller are up for election next spring. Expect to see TORA on their campaign literature…assuming they even have an opponent requiring them to print any.
State Rep. Jack Franks argues for passage of a state sales tax holiday on school clothing.
When Governor Pat Quinn says that the state has a $12 billion deficit, what’s another $50 million?
$50 million is what the August 6-15 sales tax holiday will cost coffers.
Democrats don’t seem to care.
Two local Democrats were lead sponsors in the Illinois House:
Keith Farnham (from northern Kane County)
The vote was 65-51 with local Republicans opposing the measure.
Only the state budget will take a hit.
Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley’s 75% city sales tax hike will still be collected, as will the huge RTA sales tax hike that went into effect one week before the Crystal Lake City Council voted 6-1 (Jeff Thorsen being the one voting “No”) was passed.
Trying to appear a fiscal conservative in spite of his refusal to support a bill that would save $240 million a year while providing poor inner city kids a chance at a decent education, State Rep. Jack Franks did not seek media attention on the passage of his sales tax holiday idea.
Signs like this would be appropriate late Thursday afternoon on Route 14 in Crystal Lake.
This is income tax day and this sign, while not local, is appropriate because TEA Party demonstrations are going to be held in Crystal Lake on Route 14 at Main Street and on Route 62 in Algonquin.
For the Route 14 location, one group is promoting 3-6 PM; another 3:30-6:30.
In Algonquin, the place to be is in Cornish Park across from Port Edward from noon to 1.
Crystal Lake Police Cars behind the TEA Party demonstrators last April 15th.
Last year there was a large police presence.
Demonstrators on Route 14 a year ago.
Worried about all those middle class folks who are fed up. All those people paying the 75% higher city sales tax, if they stick around to shop.
I wonder if anyone will bring a sign expressing displeasure about Mayor Aaron Shepley and all of his city council’s having hiked the Crystal Lake city sales tax by 75%.
McHenry’s city council is contemplating a 50% increase.
If there is any criticism of the TEA Party movement I would offer, it is that virtually all of the effort is targeted at the national level.
Mike Hanson understands not all pocketbook threats come from Washington.
In Illinois, with Democrats in the Senate have actually voted to increase income taxes by 67%, I would think that demonstrators would be concerned enough to target Pat Quinn and his Democratic Party tax hiking colleagues.
And, complaints about local tax hikes, such as the Crystal Lake one described above, mainly to build a recreation lakeside resort area in the middle of the biggest recession in all but one of the city council members’ lives, I expect them to be non-existent.
In politics the hardest lesson to learn is that
“All politics is local.”
Democratic Party U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill is the man who said it. The Boston pol was right on.
It is easier to scare local officials than national ones.
That doesn’t mean that I am suggesting ignoring the Melissa Bean’s and Bill Foster’s of the world.
What you see here is the table with three Grafton Township Trustees--Betty Zirk, Rob LaPorta and Gerry McMahon--with Township Administrator Pam Fender between Zirk and LaPorta. Seen to the far left is Township Road Commissioner Jack Freund. The meeting has been going on for about a half an hour and the entire audience knows which way the wind is blowing.
It does mean when people get “mad as hell,” as the vast majority were Tuesday night at the Grafton Township meeting, big things can be accomplished.
The margin of victory for the opponents of buying new township offices were at least 5-2, maybe at high as 80%. All votes were by standing or raising hands with the pink paper ballots, which were never cast.
The Township Trustees seemed astounded that over 500 people would come to trash their plans to obtain new township offices.
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Those attending the Route 14 TEA Party Thursday afternoon might want to consider coming early to have penny pancakes at Colonial Cafe. The restaurant is holding an autism benefit for a local agency.
I didn't have a picture of a black hole in space, so this dark funnel my son spotted one morning in a Springfield hotel's hot tub will have to do for an illustration.
Naturally the black hole that wishes to eat a couple thousand dollars of my income originates in Chicago.
Consider he Chicago Sun-Times today.
Look at the cover. Abraham Lincoln is crying because taxes aren’t higher.
He isn’t crying because people are unemployed. He’s crying because governments, state and local, haven’t picked enough money out of our pockets.
I figure when the tax rate is hiked by two-thirds from 3% to 5%, the suggestion from years past of Pied Piper Ralph Matire and, more recently, Chicago’s Civic Federation, it will cost me 750 crying Lincoln $5 bills more than the year before.
That’s when my state pension, for which I repeatedly thank taxpayers, drops by 5%.
It won’t just be me, though.
Everyone with retirement income will see a cut in tax home pay, so to speak, of 5%.
I wonder how many people in Sun City will welcome that day, probably sometime during this July.
Wage earners would see their pay checks get cut by “only” 2%.
Government won’t waste any of your lost income.
Surely, Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley and the five city council members who voted with him to hike Crystal Lake’s city sales tax 75% haven’t wasted any, have they?
Candidates for the McHenry County Board are starting to send out mailings.
I received nothing from District 2 candidates yesterday…or from any statewide candidate, but others got some mail. (Here is the first round of District 1 mail. It’s from the week early voting started.)
But I did get a piece from Ellen Brady Mueller late last week.
Notice the stamp and the address. Someone had to affix the first class stamp. That's more personal than having a mail house use a permit, as is the return address label. And, when was the last time you received mail from a candidate that someone had hand addressed? All three elements show Brady Mueller has volunteers willing to do stuff that most candidates now relegate to a mail house.
On the address side in pretty small print is Brady Mueller’s biography, including her being “well prepared for any issue that comes before her” and that she is “a proven team player.”
Broaden the communications between communities and the entire county board.
Maintain a good solid working relationship with all the municipalities of the county.
"Ellen is the right person, at the right time, for the right reasons," is the message. The description is catchy and the photo of the candidate in Downtown Crystal Lake really catches her identity with the town. She loves to tell people her family has lived here over 100 years. That seems more than appropriate because she is a long-time city councilwoman.
Because of severe computer problems with my new Hewlett-Packard computer, I missed the 525th day anniversary of Mayor Aaron Shepley’s and his city council’s (sans Jeff Thorsen) 75% hike of the Crystal Lake city sales tax’s having taken effect.
It was July 1st a year and a half ago, that the cost of shopping in Crystal Lake went up.
But, you know how government is.
If there’s not enough money, don’t act like a family or a business.
Just raise taxes.
And that’s what the Crystal Lake City Council did.
The Cook County sales tax hike went into effect the same day and the Chicago Tribune has been kind enough to keep reminding its readers of that fact.
The same time that paper has been running a campaign to eliminate the Cook County sales tax hike.
And, the Tribune has a half-off stamp on its editorial page reminder. It has had some success in rolling back the tax.
Not so, the paper of record in McHenry County. Apparently a 75% sales tax hike in Crystal Lake, where the Northwest Herald is located, is A-OK.
It’s so OK, in fact, that the NW Herald never ran a story about the tax’s going up that July 1st.
Oh, well. That’s why it’s good to have more than one source of news.