No Cost-Benefit Analysis on Township Consolidation, Just Data Dump – Part 1

The Township Consolidation Task Force met Tuesday for the second time.

A large crowd attended the second Township Consolidation Task Force meeting.

A large crowd attended the second Township Consolidation Task Force meeting.

Again, there was no presentation of how taxpayers might save money if townships were merged other than the salaries and benefits of any elected township officials.

In short, no cost-benefit study.

There was a lot of data presented, however.  (You can find it here.  Maybe you can provide the needed analysis.)

Just no analysis.

After public comments, the two and a half hour meeting consisted mainly of Task Force Chairwoman County Board member (and candidate to replace Mike Tryon as State Representative) Carolyn Schofield reading the Questions and Answers that McHenry County Blog published Monday.

Roger Naylor and Donna Kurtz

Roger Naylor and Donna Kurtz

Questions about which Task Force member and County Board member Donna Kurtz had further questions and for which she requested State’s Attorney’s opinions were taken under advisement by Schofield.

I wondered why Kurtz just didn’t make a motion requesting the opinions.

Task Force member Roger Naylor, Coral Township Supervisor, came up with a business analogy that seemed quite appropriate.

Saying the Task Force “owe[d] it to the voters to provide a better cost analysis, he asked why the Task Force did not approach potential consolidations the way companies approached mergers.

“It’s not exactly the same, but it is similar,” he observed.

He urged the County Board to come up with some money to do a study and then move on.

In rebuttal, Kurtz claimed,

“Government is very expensive because nothing every changes.

“Not to have an open dialogue…is not a waste of time.

“This is when we do our best work when we are considering the reorganization of government.”

Riley Township Supervisor Karen Schnable asked a question that was not answered:

Karen Schnable

Karen Schnable

“Which Tax Cap will be used.

“How can the people of Reily Township  know?

“The bottom line is, ‘What is the tax rate going to be?’

“I personally think we’re wasting time.

“We’re not answering the important questions.”

Riley Township Road Commissioner Dave Diamond piled on:

“Quite frankly, I’m worried about the objectiveness of this committee.”

He pointed to the lack of inclusion of a township road commissioner.

Diamond also questioned whether the League of Women Voters should be listened to as an unbiased source, while calling for a cost-benefit study.

“The concept of creating bigger units of government to save money is [ill conceived].”

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Articles in the series:


No Cost-Benefit Analysis on Township Consolidation, Just Data Dump – Part 1 — 26 Comments

  1. Thank you Cal for an objective report! A great improvement over the Craver pro-consolidation article.

  2. I find it interesting that so many people that work at the townships were there. I know there are many supporters but they cannot attend because THEY HAD TO BE AT WORK. Also, Ms. Schofeld did not impressive with her inability to control the meeting. 3 minutes to speak and the comments were allowed to go on and on. I found that the supporters generally were the only one’s to keep to the time limit. Some even speaking in shorter time. I think these things speak volumes.

  3. What tax year are these data meant to represent?

    I’ve looked at my past 4 years of property tax bills, and for Seneca Township the stated levy does not represent any year’s tax rate multiplied by the stated EAV ($86,497,512).
    (EAV packet page 5, Levy packet page 7).

    (Seneca Levy/EAV): Township: .0018266 Road District: .003187

    Will someone else check the math in their own township?

  4. A room full of township officials guarding their fiefdoms. It was quite a sight. All there to protect the taxpayer! Common sense would say some savings would be realized and there would be fewer units of government to monitor. But how dangerous it would be to let voters actually see the issue on the ballot and speak for themselves.

  5. Here are Township Levy/EAV for data presented above:

    Algonquin: .002639

    Grafton: .001557

    Nunda: .004399

    Greenwood: .006601

    McHenry: .005304

    Dorr .004153

    Richmond: .004172

    Chemung: .007120

    Dunham: .007905

    Hartland: .006182

    Alden: .006024

    Marengo: .006353

    Coral: .003507

    Riley: .006112

    Seneca: .005014

    Hebron: .006691

    Burton: .002499

    (these are current tax rates suggested by figures presented in data above. if consolidation occurs, the lower tax rate township will pay more, the higher tax rate township will pay less.)

  6. People attending the task force should be advised that commenting at the task force meetings on whether or not the consolidation plan is or is not a good idea accomplishes nothing. You have to take those remarks to the County Board at one of the full Board meetings. The task force is only charged with picking a map and accompanying referendum language, not deciding the merits of the question. They do not have the option of saying that nothing should go forward.

  7. The only way to get a meaningful comparison among the competing versions and against the status quo would be to have the information that “is beyond the scope of this task force”. It’s the job of those advocating change to provide that information. We should not have to wait until the law is passed to find out what’s in it.

  8. Mike: How can a task force do a meaningful job of picking a map without knowing which version will provide the most beneficial result (if any)? We need to know whether consolidation “is or is not a good idea” before any map is chosen or ballot language is drafted. This whole process is backwards.

  9. There is another important factor which may motivate voters:
    Assessors who assess the owner, rather than the property.

    If one wishes to escape a township assessor who seems to favor certain properties’ owners with low assessments (The $4.9 million mansion? Certain former Board Member?) and then all other owners are assessed higher as a result, or if certain people feel targeted for higher assessments for personal reasons, that can drive the voting toward consolidating that township.

  10. Susan, as reported at the meeting: The county assessor over ruled that Twh assessor’s higher tax and lowered it. If you’re going to throw rocks aim better.

  11. This whole rush without the numbers and facts presented to the public even before it gets to the board stinks of Obamacare Mike W. Vote on it so we can see what’s in it. How can the task force give a good and truthful recommendation other than, “we’re not sure what to recommend”? Ya Man.

  12. Cal’s concept has the most merit, a CL/Lakewood Twh, but he never presented a full map or any numbers either. Come on pal, show a tad more leadership oh great one.:)

  13. Commenting at the task force meeting does accomplish something. Some of the board members who care attend those meetings and heard the comments. Some board members just want to eliminate Twhs making the county more powerful so they are more powerful, right Mike?

  14. Like it or not, that’s how the task force was set up by the Chairman. If we keep on like we have been going, this is never going to be completed, which is maybe the goal of some. The Board members are not hearing the arguments pro and con that are made in front of the task force. People are just talking to the walls. Show up at a full Board meeting and sign up for public comment there. The Board needs to hear from both sides in advance of the night of the actual vote so they can chew on it ahead of time. It doesn’t hurt to call your individual Board members either. The circus that is going on now, however, has accomplished nothing.

    btw: I am not all that crazy about the consolidation approach myself. I favor giving the voters in each township a clear way to put a referendum on the ballot in their particular township to abolish it or not, and have the transition issues worked out in advance. However, when the legislature was given the opportunity to do that, they caved to the state township lobby and instead amended the Township Code to make things more difficult and more confusing. You can read the tea leaves on that.

  15. the 4.9 million mansion has been paying taxes around $31,000 for several years. the lowering of assessment by county assessor was a very slight amount.
    by comparison, rural Woodstock homes paying 4% of EAV.
    so assessment on the $4.5 million home had to have been $775,000.

    3 $260,000 homeowners would together pay what the mansion was paying.
    Is there some formula the assessor is wiling to publish so that we can all have larger houses with features such as this mansion at the same valuation?

    As to my aim, maybe if I aimed at your head I would hit you in the back of your knee.

  16. Susan why don’t you contact the assessor involved.

    Maybe he can explain the reason for the assement.

  17. Township personnel “working” ………. that’s a hoot!

    If they’re Township employees …what in tarnation are they doing at this open mtg???????

  18. Oldmanwinter – Every township employee I saw at the meeting gets paid whether they are at the meeting or not – they all hold elected office.

    Just like the Board members who attended, they get paid whether they are at a meeting or not.

    The only accountability is election day.

    I know the Alden Road Commissioner is the ONE and ONLY Road district employee for Alden Twp. and what he did not get done because he was at the meeting will get done during non-normal working hours.

  19. Mike, Joe made it a circus by the way it was formed in the first place.

    No one likes to lose of course, we know you’re still on the eliminate Twh path, still hurting from the last lose I would guess.

    I’d say to you now, get your numbers and fact straight before your real push and prove your point that bigger gov cost less.

    Good luck with that.

    Prove savings, and I’ll be glad to toot your horn also, as my first allegiance is to my wallet after all. 🙂

  20. I too have seen the Alden Road commissioner working on Saturdays even during the summer when there’s no need to be

  21. This is just political granstanding by ambitious politicians with personal agendas.

    Good people will get caught up in the furor to “reduce goverenment”.

    In fact, it will likely increase taxes and give a platform for soulless opportunists.

    I actually think Mr. Walkup has been a stand up guy while on the Board, whether or not you agree with him.

    That is not the case with others involved.

  22. Grumpy, The Alden Highway Commissioner is a salary position and does not receive hourly pay or overtime.

    When you see him working on Saturday and Sunday you should stop and thank him for being dedicated to getting work completed outside normal work hours.

    Most of the Township officials that attend these meetings take time off their regular job to attend because this is an important issue.

    Most Township officials are paid very little and must have a job outside their township position.

  23. Roger Naylor is t total DOLT.

    He is a perfect example of why Government is such a disaster.

  24. Preston – Sooooo elected officials do not have to show up for work??

    There is a novel idea!!

  25. Of course elected officials show up for work.

    Nice tongue in cheek.

    Roger Naylor is holding the Task Force’s feet to the fire.

    He continues to ask for the facts that show how consolidation will save money.

    There is a lot of hope but no facts.

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