County Board’s Legislative Goals Unveiled, Sales Tax Hike Included

McHenry County Board Legislative Committee members will discuss the County’s legislative wish list for the incoming General Assembly on Friday morning at 8:15..  (The draft is here.)

Some, but not all of the proposals are reproduced below:

Top request is

Fund Transfer

McHenry County seeks the introduction of legislation that enables County Finance staff to transfer funds between “Contractual” and “Commodity” funds administratively. This would allow greater flexibility for the Financial Administrator without seeking full Board approval. This practice, already utilized by several Illinois counties, provides increased transparency in the budget presentation and enhances operational efficiency.

Noise Ordinance 

McHenry County seeks authority for non-home rule Illinois Counties to enact a noise ordinance the same manner as allowed in the Illinois Municipal Code. The corporate authorities of each municipality may prevent or suppress riots, routs, affrays, noises, disturbances, trespasses, and disorderly assemblies in any public or private place.

Valley Hi

Valley Hi

Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL) 

McHenry County would like flexibility with regard to the voter approved levy for Valley Hi Nursing Home and the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law. McHenry County would like to preserve some allowable levy for Valley Hi, but seeks legislation that protects McHenry County taxpayers by allowing the County to take the levy when and it is necessary.[

[Note there is about $35 million sitting in the Valley Hi fund.]

Statewide Ban on Coal Tar [for sealing driveways, for instance]

Amends the Environmental Protection Act. Provides that, on and after January 1, 2015, no person may knowingly cause or allow sale at wholesale or retail of a coal tar sealant product. Provides that, on and after July 1, 2016, no person may knowingly cause or allow application of a coal tar sealant product on any surface in the State of Illinois including but not limited to a driveway, parking area, playground, sidewalk, bike trail or roadway.

Provides that a city or county may adopt ordinances providing for enforcement of the requirements of this provision. Provides that any violation of this provision shall be enforceable by administrative citation. Provides that penalties for violation may not exceed $1,000 for the first offense and $5,000 for the second offense.

The sign for the toll booth in McHenry near  County is attached to the Route 23 overpass.

The sign for the toll booth in McHenry County is attached to the Route 23 overpass.

Route 23/I-90 Interchange

In September of 2014, the McHenry County Board passed a resolution supporting the construction of a full Interchange along the Jane Addams Tollway (Interstate 90) at Illinois Route 23. McHenry County supports continued intergovernmental partnerships in making a new interchange at Rt. 23/I-90 a reality.

Transportation Projects

  • Route 31- Crystal Lake to McHenry
    The project will address inadequate intersection geometrics, safety concerns, and operational issues between IL 176 in Crystal Lake to IL 120 in McHenry. Upon completion, the project will add motor vehicle capacity; improve intersection operations, bicycle and pedestrian crossings along with side path, and business access. The project is currently being designed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
  • Route 47- Reed Road to Route 14
    The project will address inadequate intersection geometrics, safety concerns, and operational issues between Reed Road in Huntley and U.S. 14 in Woodstock. The results of the project will add motor vehicle capacity, improve intersection operations, and create a regional side path for bicyclists and pedestrians. The project is currently being designed by IDOT.
  • Route 47 through Woodstock
    The project will address chronic congestion and traffic circulation in Woodstock. Construction will address delays at intersections and improve bicycle and pedestrian crossings and business access. The project is currently being designed by IDOT. The project must address the railway overpass just north of the Route 47/Lake Street intersection in Woodstock.
  • Union Pacific Northwest Railroad-Woodstock, Johnsburg, & Prairie Grove
    The project will add seven inbound and four outbound trains to increase capacity by 63%. This project will increase the number of inbound trains to Woodstock from 17 to 24 and increase the number of outbound (reverse-commute) trains from 4 to 8. New stations would be constructed in Johnsburg, Prairie Grove, and Woodstock. This project will add over 1,000,000 rider trips to the Metra UPNW line each year.

Marketplace Fairness Act (H.R. 684/S. 743) [Forcing people to pay sales tax on internet purchases]

This bill requires certain remote sellers to collect sales tax, just like local retailers are required to do. State and local governments around the country are unable to collect sales tax that is owed to them from Internet and catalog sales. That is because two U.S. Supreme Court decisions (in 1967 and 1992) found that multi-jurisdictional sales tax collection and remittance would be an insurmountable burden on these remote sellers. The Supreme Court in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), however, explicitly stated that Congress had the constitutional authority to enact legislation overruling its decision. The Marketplace Fairness Act (H.R. 684/S. 743) would overrule the Court’s decision and enable local and state governments to collect taxes already owed on Internet and mail order sales. Such legislation would enable state and local governments to collect an estimated $23 billion per year.

Sales tax is due on all purchases, including Internet and catalog purchases, in 45 states. However, under the laws referenced above, those states do not have the authority to enforce tax collection on remote sellers. The Marketplace Fairness Act would compel remote sellers to collect sales tax at the time of transaction only after states have simplified their sales tax laws. Twenty-four states have simplified their sales tax laws to make it easier for multistate retailers by adopting the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA), which empowers businesses to easily comply with all local sales tax collection laws. Illinois is not one of them. The State of Illinois must first simplify its laws to ensure minimal burden to multi-state retailers to collect and remit sales tax.

Not only does status quo negatively affect state and local governments’ budget, but also puts local retailers who do collect and remit sales tax at an unfair disadvantage. Passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act would give parity to all retailers – local and remote – and give a much-needed boost to state and local governments facing significant budget shortfalls.

Openlands created this Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge map.  It is used with permission.

Openlands created this Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge map. It is used with permission.


Supporting those partners already committed to protecting the unique habitats in and around Hackmatack. Specifically, McHenry County seeks expanded efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to put resources “on the ground” the locally to assist with Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge.

Public Safety Equipment

McHenry County seeks funding for public safety equipment that has exceeded its life expectancy. The McHenry County’s Sheriff’s Office requests funds to replace radio dispatch equipment. Radio dispatch is vital to direct the operations of public safety personnel to an incident. The current equipment in place is outdated and the County and needs to be replaced. The County also seeks funds to add body-cameras to law enforcement officers, replace bullet proof vests, and to replaced dated in-car video equipment.

= = = = =
Committee members will also discuss and presumably approve the hiring of the Ferguson Group lobbying firm out of Washington, D.C., for $82,000.  Presumably lobbyist Trent Lehman will be present.

With Republicans in control of Congress, one might think that Randy Hutlgren and Peter Roskam would be sufficient to represent county taxpayers’ interests.


County Board’s Legislative Goals Unveiled, Sales Tax Hike Included — 6 Comments

  1. Presently, the County Administrator seems to be hands off where monies are spent.

    One only has to look at the former Sheriff’s spending spree.

    Now with a new Sheriff, the County Administrator is a crusader for “saving taxpayers’ money”, to cut back, cut out.

    And, who says the proposed “Fund Tramsfer” ensures tranparency?

    Our County Board members owe us more than a rubber stamp of the Administrator’s proposals .

  2. Noise Ordinance “The corporate authorities of each municipality may prevent or suppress riots, routs, affrays, noises, disturbances, trespasses, and disorderly assemblies in any public or private place”

    SAY WHAT?!

    Sounds like my rights are about to be violated.

  3. Why would the county board be looking to hire a lobbying firm?

    Please advise.

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