Nunda Township Democrats Seek Advantage by Endorsing Nunda Township Open Space Tax Hike Referendum

It’s not just Algonquin Township Democrats who are feeling their oats after having seen a Democratic Party candidate carry McHenry County for the first time since the formation of the Republican Party.

Two candidates are running for Nunda Township trustee.

With only two on the ballot, the Nunda Dems cannot take control of the township board as the Algonquin ones can.

They two are endorsing the township open space referendum today. Besides the press release below, they are promoting it on their web site.


CRYSTAL LAKE—Patrick Murfin and Meredith Reid Sarkees, candidates for Nunda Township Trustee, announced their endorsement of the Nunda Open Space Referendum on Tuesday.

Democrats Murfin and Sarkees are running together as the “Change for Nunda” ticket and are opposed by four Republican “Team Nunda” candidates.

Patrick Murfin

Both Sarkees and Murfin supported the last Open Space Referenda in which the authorization to establish the program was passed, but the funding mechanism was narrowly defeated. Both, however, wanted to take a careful look at the new proposal.

“One of our main campaign issues,” Murfin said, “has been ‘how can we best preserve our threatened ground water resources and preserve open space as citizens buffeted by the economy while tax revenues stagnate or fall?’”

He said a close examination of the referendum question in its present form convinced the candidates that it was the best option for preserving ground water and maintaining open and undeveloped land in a responsible and affordable manner.

Responding to critics of the referendum Murfin noted that intense development with its roads and rooftops really is a demonsratable threat to scarce ground water recourses. Land purchases under the program will insure that more rain water and snow melt will recharge the aquifer.

The program, which will save smaller and isolated parcels, does not in anyway duplicate or compete with the McHenry County Conservation District’s land acquisition program, which the MCCD itself has acknowledged.

Meredith Reid Sarkees

The total bonding authority being requested has been reduced to 15 million dollars from the measure as it last appeared on the ballot. Yet currently falling land prices means that the same amount—or even more—land will be able to be acquired for preservation.

The twenty year level tax rate to repay the bonds means that costs to individual homeowners are reasonable and predictable—they will not rise. An average 250,000 home, for example, would see only a $44 yearly cost. “And open space is proven to enhance property values in the long run,” Murfin said, “many homeowners could find their costs offset by the rise in the value of their property.”

Murfin and Sarkees join elected officials from both parties in supporting the referendum including Nunda Township Supervisor John Heisler, State Senator Pam Althoff, and County Board District 3 members Kathy Bergan Schmidt and Barb Wheeler.

The measure is also endorsed by virtually every environmental organization in the county including the McHenry County Conservation Foundation, the Land Conservancy, Boone Creek Watershed Alliance, USDA Natural Resources Conservation District, The Sierra Club, McHenry County Audubon Society, Friends of the Fox, Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, and the McHenry County Soil and Water Conservation District Open Lands Project.

Agricultural and land owning interests including the McHenry County Farm Bureau and the Bull Valley Association are also on board.

“We feel we are in good company joining this broad support for the public good,” Murfin said.

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