Municipalities Cut Tax Take! Fire Protection Districts Cut Even More! Libraries, Sanitary Districts Flat

Graphic from the Tax Foundation.

Real estate tax bills being sent out in McHenry County this year will total $783,689,437.41 this spring.

That compares with $773,325,977.50 a year ago.

That’s an increase of 1.34%, which those with good memories will recall is less than the 1.5% allowed by the state’s Property Tax Cap.

McHenry County

McHenry County government’s tax bill–just under 10% of the total tax bill –will be $78,285,064.42.  That’s compared to $76,846,500.12 last year, up 1.87%.  The County Board, you may remember, voted to take every dime possible under the Real Estate Tax Cap.


The Big Daddy in the Property Tax Game is always education.

Including junior colleges, elementary and high schools, that category consumes almost two-thirds (66.4%) of our tax bills.

$520,283,124.49 this year; $511,040,206.22 last year.

That’s almost a 1.8% increase.  The Tax Cap does not cover bond payments, so my guess is that some districts back-ended bond payments to keep taxes lower in past years.

Junior Colleges

Looking at the junior colleges separately, we see that the total tax bill is $31,323,344.25 this year, while it was $30,347,809.74 last year.

That’s a 3.2% hike.

Since the junior colleges are getting so much higher a percentage the the education group as a whole, it would probably be interesting to see what the unit, grade and high school districts are getting in comparison.

Unit Districts

This year the unit districts will pull in $202,025,310.67, compared to $199,937,737.99 last year.

The difference?

A bit over 1%.

Elementary Schools

Grade school districts are charging $174,244,829.51 in 2012.  Last year’s bill was $171,086,182.51.

Doing the division yields a hike of over 1.8%.

High Schools

The last component of the educational tax bill is high schools.

$112,689,640.06 is the bill this year, compared to $109,668,475.98 this year.

Up 2.7%.

So, with the exception of the K-12 unit districts, which generally have lower tax rate limits, it appears the higher one goes in the grade level, the deeper the educators dig into our wallets:

  • Unit Districts – +1%
  • Grade Schools – +1.8%
  • High Schools – +2.7%
  • Jr. Colleges – +3.2%

McHenry County College covers most of McHenry County with the exception of District 300 School District, which is in the Elgin Community College District.  Small parts of McHenry County in the Barrington School District are in the Harper College District and a bit in the Wauconda School District goes to the College of Lake County.

Cities and Villages

Municipalities are next in the order of those pecking at our pocketbooks.

$66,644,908.46 being billed this year, compared to $66,885,115.04.

To their credit, cities and villages actually are taking less money out of our checking accounts for real estate taxes–about 4/10 of one percent–than last year!

That’s worth a headline, don’t you think?

Fire Protection Districts

Let’s look at Fire Protection Districts.

$40,598,421.16 this year, $41,448,795.39 last year.

No one looks at how Fire Protection Districts are governed or what they spend, yet, so far, this category of tax district has been parsimonious with our tax dollars.

It should be noted that some municipalities have their own fire departments, e’g., Crystal Lake, so the $40 million, plus, does not comprise the whole cost of fire protection.

The FPD’s are taking over 2% less this year than they did last year.


Townships will take $25,770,362.84 this year, less than the $25,577,572.45 last year.

That’s an increase for the governmental form taking the most heat in the metropolitan media of $193,000, about a three-quarters of a one percent increase.  It should me noted that township officials are up for election next spring.

McHenry County Conservation District

The next highest taxing entity is the McHenry County Conservation District.

It will slice $19,317,898.84 out of property owners’ income this year.

Last year the total was $18,964,957.38.

The tax hike is almost 1.9%.

Library Districts

Library Districts cover a lot of the county (although Crystal Lake’s is in that city’s budget).

This year they ask you to pay $15,902,674.96.  Last year it was $15,901,974.39.

The Property Tax receipts for Library Districts will almost be constant.  Up just $700.

Park Districts

Park Districts take about as much out of the private sector as Library Districts, although municipalities like Lake in the Hill, McHenry and Woodstock do not have separate taxing districts.

$15,370,365.51 will be taxed this year compared to $15,059,395.19 last year.

The increase?

Plus 2%.  More than the Tax Cap allows, so, as with others that exceed 1.5%, it probably has to do with bond payments exempt from PTELL.

Sanitary Districts

The rest of the districts are under $1 million, so I won’t bother with them except for the Sanitary Districts, which like Fire Protection Districts, no one ever examines.  There are only two of which I am aware, the Lake in the Hills and the Island Lake (re-named the Northern Moraine) Sanitary Districts. ( I wrote about the McHenry County Health Department’s suing the latter  in a thrust for revenue, but that’s the only time I have dipped into that type of government other that attending the dedication of both of their waste treatment facilities.  The “Royal Flush” in Island Lake was a  hoot.)

= = = = =
Hoe to find your bill here.

$677,590.39 is the tax “request” from Sanitary Districts this year.  It was $667,056.58 last year.

Essentially no change for Sanitary Districts, up just $534.


Municipalities Cut Tax Take! Fire Protection Districts Cut Even More! Libraries, Sanitary Districts Flat — 7 Comments

  1. How is it that the tax cap limit is 1.5 percent yet my property taxes went up 14 percent?!? In the past 3 years my property taxes have gone up a little over 56 percent!!! I can’t get anyone to give me an answer why. I just get a call the finance department of your school district and ask why…call the bla-bla-bla. Nice to see that I get no raises at work yet someone must be getting a fat raise on my behalf! I thought McHenry County was a decent place to live, but not when my taxes are soon going to outpace my mortgage payments!!!

  2. Your numbers don’t add up to my tax bill.

    Dist 47 up 14.6% from last year
    Dist 47 Pension up 13.8% from last year
    Dist 155 up 16.9% from last year
    Dist 155 Pension up 22.8% from last year

    Overall increase of 13.9%

    If your numbers are correct, I’m paying way more than my fair share!!

  3. SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT…..The value of my house has gone down but my taxes are more this year then last? Anyone see a problem with this?

    Everyone is tightening their belts to makes ends meet but Mchenry County seems to have missed the memo!!!

    If you tax us out of our homes who will pay for your raises?

    SHAME on you Mchenry County!!

  4. Many school districts back-end bond payments.

    Maybe most.

    In such circumstances, unlike a fixed rate mortgage, the payment increases every year.

    When the payment gets too large, many districts refinance, often extending the repayment term.

    Bond salesman profit from that refinance scheme.

    I would love to see an analysis or study of all the school districts in IL and their bond repayment schedules (debt service).

    The other school district bond trick is bond referendum ballot questions never include estimated interest, just principal.

    Another school district bond trick is most are negotiated not bid. The taxpayer wants bid. Negotiated means the bond salesman has no competition. Insist your school district bid not negotiate bonds.

  5. Cal,

    Where do we fight this?

    All we hear is get your assessment lowered.

    I don’t have a problem with my assessment.

    I have a problem with paying over 3% of my assessed value in property taxes.

    Which of our elected officials have any power to do anything about this?

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