CL Council Abandons Park District

At the Crystal Lake Expo on Saturday, I talked with Crystal Lake Park District Executive Director Jason Herbster.

Earlier, I reported that he told me that the tax bill for the park district would be up 4% this spring.

Today, I’d like to let you know that the City of Crystal Lake has cut off the Park District from developer impact fees.

The Vulcan Lake TIF District will suck millions out of the property tax bills of homeowners and businessmen throughout McHenry County over the next twenty or so years.  Until other tax districts reach their statutory maximum every tax district that includes part of the Three Oaks Recreation Area will be able to raise their tax rates to make up for the revenue lost in the Route 14 TIF District.

The Vulcan Lake Tax Increment Financing District will suck millions out of the property tax bills of homeowners and businessmen throughout McHenry County over twenty-some years. Other tax districts that include part of the Three Oaks Recreation Area which are under their statutory tax rate will be able to raise those tax rates to make up for the revenue lost in this Route 14 TIF District.

Last year, for example, the Village of Lakewood gave the Park District $5,652.

The City of Crystal Lake?


I guess there was some residential building in Crystal Lake, but none of any development impact fees went to the Park District.

Maybe all such fees were diverted to subsidize Three Oaks Recreation Area.

Those who can remember when this blog was started in the fall of 2005 might recall that the first post was about Crystal Lake’s making a TIF District to turn the gravel pit into a recreational area.

When growth did not provide enough money to do the job, the City Council hiked the city share of the sales tax from 1% to 1 3/4%–a 75% city sales tax increase.

Having both a Park District and a city recreation operation doesn’t make a lot of sense.

It hasn’t since I noticed that the City of Springfield had such an arrangement way back in the 1970’s.

I figured Springfield had it because the city politicians didn’t want the park district politicians passing out all of the patronage jobs.

No one has mentioned that Crystal Lake is hiring people at TORA for patronage reasons.

Neither have I gotten such information about the park District.

I do know that the City Council refused to put pressure on the McHenry County Conservation District to develop the property.

That would have spread the tax burden countywide, but, of course, would have opened it up to residents not living in Crystal Lake.


CL Council Abandons Park District — 6 Comments

  1. Just another good reason to write in Chadwick for mayor.

    Fighting with the people is not the same as fighting for the people.

    Picking fights with Lakewood, the Park District and the School District is not my idea of good government.

  2. So, Cal, does this mean that the Northwest Herald article showing the TIF for Three Oaks being paid by development impact fees is NOW being paid by the McHenry County taxpayers like the Lakewood TIF will be???

    Wow, that’s HUGE!!!

    Seventeen (yes 17) TIF’s in McHenry County ALL being paid by McHenry County Taxpayers!

    And if you taxpayers think you are not paying them, maybe you need to see the facts.

  3. That’s right.

    All us taxpayers have our bills raised to make up for the revenue siphoned off by TIFs.

  4. There is an excellent resource to learn about tif in Chicago:

    California banned tifs a few years ago.

    Remaining homeowners are the only idiots left to pay taxes; businesses know to demand and receive free tif money developer giveaways.

    Then the tif revenues, for the next 35 years, go to the sponsoring municipality.

    How long before homeowners are taken out of the game? Our tax rate in Woodstock is over 4% of total home value.

    At what percentage of home value will homeowners abandon ship? (Detroit was declared in crisis at 3% of total home value property tax rates).

    If property tax rates rise at the same rate as they have for several years we will achieve 10% property tax rate in 9 years.

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