MCCD Owns as Much Land as Average Family

If Pam Althoff's and Mike Tryon's non-referendum bond issuance bill is signed by Governor Pat Quinn, the MCCD Board will be able to borrow more money to buy and develop land.

If Pam Althoff’s and Mike Tryon’s non-referendum bond issuance bill is signed by Governor Pat Quinn, the MCCD Board will be able to borrow more money to buy and develop land.

How much land should a conservation district own?

I’m not sure I know how to answer that question, but here’s an interesting way to look at it.

MCCD owns 81 acres for every 1,000 people in McHenry County.

That’s 0.081 acres per capita.

If the average family size is about three (and it is), the MCCD owns 0.24 acres per family, or about a quarter of an acre.

How big is the typical residential lot?

About a quarter of an acre.

In other words, MCCD owns as much land per family as the average FAMILY owns.

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If you would like to tell Governor Pat Quinn whether he should sign or veto Senate Bill 3341, the bill that would allow MCCD to sell bonds without a refernedum, here are two ways to contact him.  Email Quinn at

Or call 1-312-814-2121.


MCCD Owns as Much Land as Average Family — 2 Comments

  1. Non-referendum bonds issued by taxing districts to generate additional revenue are legal in Illinois for many types of taxing districts.

    Such taxing districts have a choice.

    The taxing districts can obtain voter approval via referendum, or just issue the bonds without voter approval and without a referendum.

    The latter option is not available in many states.

    Non-referendum bonds to generate additional revenue are illegal in many other states.

    But instead of a bill to make non-referendum bonds illegal, McHenry County legislator Senator Althoff is sponsoring SB 3341 to “clarify” that the McHenry County Conservation District can issue non-referendum bonds.

    Taxing districts should not be able to generate additional revenue from taxpayers by issuing bonds without direct taxpayer approval via a referendum.

    Do the majority of taxpayers really want the government taking their money without their approval?

    That’s exactly what happens when non-referendum bonds are issued to generate additional revenue.

    Another type of non-referendum bond are bonds issued to refund / refinance to take advantage of a lower interest rate or extend the debt payment (to lower current payments), both of which amazingly also often generates additional revenue for the taxing district, in various schemes; not to mention generous profits often reaped by the various special interest groups involved in issuing the bonds.

  2. Another metric:

    $130,000,000 of outstanding MCCD debt divided by 110,000 households in the county is $1182 of debt per household on average.

    Doesn’t ownership of this conservation property make our homes more valuable?

    Well, has it? In the last six years, as American home values have risen to pre-crash levels, has your home gone up in value?

    Is your home more valuable today than in 2005? (Tax assessor for the County says no, the county EAV has dropped).

    Most relevant: can you afford to sell your home here and buy a similar home elsewhere in America at today’s relative values?

    Along with ‘county ownership’ of MCCD property comes taxing body authority to take a certain percentage of your home value each year, which you must pay in order to retain ‘legal ownership’ of your home.

    Elsewhere in America, taxing bodies seem to get along on budgets such that on average, tax as a percentage of property value all over America is 1.25%.

    But in McHenry County it is above 3% and in certain school district it is 4%.

    That is, a McHenry county homeowner could finance about half the costs of Mortgage interest+costs to purchase an additional second home with what we pay here in mortgage interest+property taxes costs of a single home.

    Or, a buyer could buy a home elsewhere with a $200,000 mortgage and have an extra $5500 per year to save for their children’ college education.

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