One Millionth Hit for McHenry County Blog Today

New McHenry County Blog Masthead which contains a picture of the Norge Ski Jump in Fox River Grove, something unique to McHenry County.

It was October, 2005, when the Vulcan Lakes TIF proposal by the city council spurred me to start McHenry County Blog.

I knew–and knew that most others didn’t–that every dollar that gets poured into a Tax Increment Financing District’s project comes out of your and my pockets.

That’s because local tax districts are not at their maximum tax rates, as governed by state law.

The Property Tax Cap has forced those tax rates down while real estate values increased far faster than the increase in the cost of living.

This is parking attendant building for the Three Oaks Recreation Area. I invite you to compare it to the portable, wooden one used by the Crystal Lake Park District at the Main Beach Parking Lot.

So, if the value of your house went up 10% one year and the CPI increased 3%, the tax rate of each district had to be decreased to make sure its tax take would not exceed the CPI.

A bit complicated, but the result is that no tax district is at its maximum rate limit.

That means when assessed value is stolen from it by a city’s or village’s creation of a TIF district, the other tax district (read school district, park district, county government, you name it) can just increase the tax rate to get the same amount of money it would have otherwise received.

That’s why I called it a “TIF Tax Hike.”

So, with “free money,” you can expect that cities and villages won’t be too careful with it.

Take a look at the new fee collection gate being constructed at Vulcan Lakes…oops, Three Oaks Recreation Area, a place with precious few oaks, I would imagine.  (You can see other pictures here on the city’s web site.)

Compare that to the one used by the Crystal Lake Park District. It’s portable. Made of wood.

Works fine.


One Millionth Hit for McHenry County Blog Today — 5 Comments

  1. Cal,
    Congratulations on the one millionth hit milestone and more importantly for offering a peek (or more like kicking down the door) in to the goings on in local politics which is completely lacking in the local papers.

  2. Yeah, but the one at Maine Beach is terrible. That entire facility is garbage. Vulcan Lakes is going to be amazing!

  3. Yes honestly the Crystal Lake beaches are crap and would never recommend them to anyone unless they wanted parasites which constantly infest those beaches. I would rather travel to Wisconsin or go to Chicago to swim! Fox Lake is even better! Vulcan Lakes once it’s done vamping money from our pockets will be a gift to the community and the economy. They have beautiful plans for it.

  4. I don’t understand why the Three Oaks Recreation Area beaches will be “free” to residents.

    It seems to me this will only cause crowding and bring about the eventual pollution and conditions that plague the existing Crystal Lake beach.

    Even a small fee or annual membership would encourage responsibility and help offset costs of this area.

    Any member of the community that truly appreciates this recreational area would be happy to pay a reasonable fee to use the beach, in the hopes that THIS one will stay clean for our children and grandchildren.

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