MCC Board Members in Their Role as “Trustees”

Lakewood bond analyst and public policy commentator Steve Willson reflected on the McHenry County College Board’s upcoming decision of whether to increase or decrease taxes.

(Board members can do either.

(By taking all the money allowed under the Real Estate Tax, current taxpayers as a whole would see an 8/10 of 1% increase.  By asking for the same amount of money as last year and the year before, current taxpayers would see a tax cut on the whole because of the extra assessed value provided by new construction.

(There is a middle ground in which the Board could guess how much new homes and businesses added to the assessment base and try to capture only that.

(If the Board guesses too high, the current taxpayers would see an aggregate tax hike.)

In any event, here are Willson’s views:

In a previous year, Stephen Willson gave a three-minute critique to the MCC Board, but no questions were asked. More attention was paid to a student who presented a mathematical formula for world peace. Board members did not request a copy of Willson's critique, but did ask for the forumula.

In a previous year, Stephen Willson gave a three-minute critique to the MCC Board, but no questions were asked. More attention was paid to a student who presented a mathematical formula for world peace. Board members did not request a copy of Willson’s critique, but did ask for the student’s formula.

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

(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”.

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If you would like to express your opinion on how the MCC Board members should vote on the MCC tax levy, you can find the email address here

The individual members’ email addresses follow:

Questions/comments for all the Board of Trustees can be sent to mcctrustees@mchenry.edu.

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

Or contact an individual trustee:

Questions/comments for all the Board of Trustees can be sent to mcctrustees@mchenry.edu.

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

Or contact an individual 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.


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