Straw Vote on MCC Flat Levy 3-3-1

Bob Tenuta

Bob Tenuta

At Tuesday night’s meeting of the McHenry County College Board, most of the discussion was about large (over $30 million) building plan.

More important in the short-term is what the Board will do to our taxes next spring.

Chief Financial Officer Bob Tenuta described this part of the meeting as “Round 2.”

He described the property tax assessment situation as “basically no growth.”

Fund balances are going in a negative direction, he said.

Tenuta said that an owner of a $100,000 home would pay 41 cents a month if the college took all the money allowed under the Property Tax Cap.

He said he was looking for direction from the Board.

Committee of the Whole Chairwoman Linda Liddell called for a straw vote.

Ron Parrish

Ron Parrish

First called upon was former Board President Ron Parrish.

“I don’t know,” he said.

Previously, Parrish has voted twice not to increase the levy.

Doing so results in a lower tax rate for existing taxpayers as the tax burden is spread over them, plus those who have constructed improvements to their properties.

Cynthia Kisser

Cynthia Kisser

Cynthia Kisser favored maximizing the tax take.

“It’s a small amount. That amount is not much,” she said.

“There has to be some buy in of the college by the taxpayers.”

Molly Walsh

Molly Walsh

Student Trustee Jason Memmen was also in favor.

“I would say, ‘Yes,’ this should happen.

“No,” was Molly Walsh’s answer.

“Neither would I,” agreed newcomer Karen Tirio.

“Even though it sounds like peanuts…every taxing body is raising our taxes.”

“I’d support a reduction,” Chris Jenner said.

“If we can’t do that, I say, ‘No,’ [to a levy increase],” he said.

Linda Liddell

Linda Liddell

Liddell concluded with her opinion:

“I want the [tax revenue from the] new homes.”

“I am a ‘Yes’ for the referendum [for expanding and renovating the college campus], ‘Yes’ for the PTELL [bureaucratic term used for the “Real Estate Tax Cap”].

“Taxes would go down for [current taxpayers], but the tax [wouldn’t be collected from new construction].”

“3-3 and one ‘don’t know,'” Liddell summarized the straw poll.

“I guess you’re going to have to prepare two [levies], Bob,” she said.

= = = = =
Actually, considering only the votes of the members whom state law allows to vote on the levy (the student trustee vote is advisory), the tally was

  • three for a flat levy
  • two to increase the tax take (ironically by the two up for re-election next year)
  • one undecided

Board President Mike Smith did not attend the meeting in person or by telephone.


Straw Vote on MCC Flat Levy 3-3-1 — 11 Comments

  1. ““There has to be some buy in of the college by the taxpayers.”

    Just who does Cynthia Kisser think is (and has been) footing the bill since MCC was established?

    Until the College is totally funded by the students and private grants (like Hillsdale College), the taxpayers are footing the bill!

    She needs to removed!

  2. The name of the elected board members at MCC is “trustee”.

    That means there is a trust, and trusts have beneficiaries.

    The beneficiaries are the taxpayers, the students, and the community.

    Of these, the taxpayers are the most important.

    What, you say, not the students? Heresy!

    That is correct, NOT the students.


    Because when you take money from people by force, which is what taxes are, you have a very high moral obligation to ensure it is used efficiently and for a good purpose, that the taxpayers receive value for the money they are obliged to pay, that you can prove that every extra dollar you take from taxpayers results in more than a dollar increase in value to the community.

    At MCC, that means:

    (1) ensuring that the students who are going on finish at a four year college are succeeding;

    (2) ensuring that the students who are seeking vocational education are graduating at high rates AND landing good paying jobs; and

    (3) ensuring taxpayers’ money is not wasted in providing these services, wasted on bad programs and excessive administrative overhead.

    THAT is why the people of McHenry County were generous enough to vote for a community college in the first place.

    Never forget that:

    the people of McHenry County voted to raise their own taxes for this community college. They showed an immense leap of faith for a good cause, and the trustees need to remember and respect that.

    So the job of the trustees is to be a good steward for the taxpayers.

    How do they do that?

    The trustees should examine ALL of the programs at MCC, look at OBJECTIVE evidence of how many students are in each program, how much it costs, what percentage graduate, and whether they go into good jobs.

    And then they should cut bad programs and expand good programs.

    They should examine administrative costs and outcomes in detail. How many assistants to assistants do we have?

    But, because of the obstruction of the current administration, and certain liberal board members, the trustees at MCC have NEVER been able to examine MCC’s programs as they should.

    And this means they cannot say that MCC needs more taxes.

    Further, we know the administration has a history of providing false, incomplete and misleading information to the trustees and to the community.

    We know that the classrooms at MCC are used only about 50% of each school day.

    We know that enrollment at MCC is going to decline for the next ten years.

    And we know that MCC has a very large fund balance, which it can draw upon.

    The fund balance exists for no other purpose.

    The fund balance IS nothing more than excess taxes that the college has collected over the years.

    These facts argue strongly against any tax increase.

    Finally, the trustees at MCC need to look at MCC in a larger context.

    We all know that the reason people are leaving McHenry County is that our taxes are too damned high.

    But every governmental board says,

    “Oh, we’re just a small part of the total, so our little tax increase won’t make a difference”.

    Every governmental board says,

    “Every other government is badly run, full of fat, and should cut their taxes. But not us — we’re special!”

    And, as a result, every government raises its taxes.

    There are a few exceptions, but, to a very large extent, my generalization is absolutely true.

    High taxes are especially burdensome for our senior citizens, who are being forced out of their homes.

    And young couples with children look at McHenry County and decide they will live elsewhere so they will have more money left after taxes to save for their children’s future education.

    So when the trustees vote to raise taxes, they should remember who they are harming in the process.

    It’s time for ALL the MCC trustees to balance their love of MCC with the overall priorities of the community and say “No”.

  3. Sounds rather like the Illinois politician’s version of Socialism to me.

    As Ms. Thatcher so famously once said “Socialism is fine ,
    until you run out of other peoples money to spend”.

    Just say NO !

  4. Sounds like Mr. Parish cost us the vote.

    What happened there?

  5. The real vote has not been taken. The vote on Tuesday night was a “straw vote,” that is, a test vote.

    Questions/comments for all the Board of Trustees can be sent to

    Copy the email address above or below and paste in your email.

    Or contact an individual trustee:

    Michael Smith or call (815) 455-3700 extension 6373

    Linda Liddell extension 6379 or call (815) 455-3700

    Chris Jenner or call (815) 455-3700 extension 6372

    Cynthia Kisser or call (815) 455-3700 extension 6376

    Ronald Parrish or or call (815) 455-3700 extension 6378

    Karen Tirio or call (815) 455-3700 extension 6377

    Molly Walsh or call (815) 455-3700 extension 6374

    Jason Memmen (student trustee)

    Kisser, Liddell and Memmen have said they are in favor of maximizing the tax levy.

    Ron Parrish said he was undecided.

    Mike Smith was absent from the meeting.

  6. Cal, thank you very much for listing the email addresses of the trustees.

    Thank you also to Mr. Willson for his clear headed and concise review of the situation.

  7. *Parrish needs to get in the game, like when he was Village President of Bull Valley!

    That village was in good shape when he left because of his Conservative values.

    *Walsh, Tirio, Jenner stick to your guns!

    You’re the only ones that seem to realize that tax increases of any amount are a black mark.

    *And the two up for election next year that voted to take tax hikes are who??

    Lindell and Kisser?

    Vote ’em out Taxpayers!

    They don’t have you in mind.

    *Student trustee’s vote doesn’t count. (Lets see how he feels when he’s a property owning tax payer. He’ll be singing a different tune.)

    *Smith conspicuously absent. hmmm. . .

    As far as the Expansion Project they’re talking about?….

    Here we go again…

    Say No!

  8. It would appear that Kisser, Liddell, AND Memmen follow orders FROM the great tax increaser her self, Vicky SMITH.

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