In an email blasted out by Jack Franks for his County Board Chairmanship campaign, He promises to cut county government’s property tax levy by 10% the first day he is in office.
That would be during the first week of December, if he wins the fall election against Mike Walkup.
How can Jack Franks do this?
By making a proposal the pretty-sure-to-be Republican majority cannot refuse.
This year’s McHenry County real estate tax levy is $76,289,016.04.
Last year the board, at Franks GOP opponent Mike Walkup’s initiative, cut $3 million (almost a 4% reduction) from the proposed levy by eliminating any taxes for the Valley Hi Nursing Home. (Read about how Mike Walkup started the discussion to cut the Valley Hi levy in the Finance Committee in Part 1 and Part 2.)
This year, Walkup proposed cutting the levy by 50% for one year by using the Valley Hi surplus.
He asked the State’s Attorney about that possibility and was told the money could not be transferred under state law.
In my opinion, Walkup asked the wrong question.
He should have asked if the County, in defending against the tax protest suit filed by Timothy Dwyer, could ask permission from the Court for such authority.
The surplus is so outrageous, the Judge might allow the property tax requested.
A 10% cut would be about $7.6 million.
Franks’ proposal will probably be some version of the following:
- taking money from the $10.4 million received from the RTA Sales Tax fund and using it to cut property taxes used for the Sheriff’s Department, instead of widening Randall Road (the County Board just approved spending $5.7 million to buy land to widen Randall Road.) and, maybe,
- draining some of the $42.5 million ($42,520,616.20 today) Valley Hi Fund surplus (the County Board is not on track to keep the Valley Hi levy at zero next year, fearing that they would lose the ability to tax forever without referendum approval)
Of course, Republicans on the McHenry County Board could do the same things before the election.
But I don’t think they will.
Here’s Franks’ email:
This is Jack Franks writing – I’m a third generation McHenry County resident and like most of us I am sick and tired of outrageous property taxes. I’m also sick of politicians who keep talking about the issue but NEVER do anything about it.
That is why, on my first day in office as McHenry County’s first elected Board Chairman, I will present a measure to cut McHenry County’s property tax levy by 10%. No gimmicks. No double-speak. A 10% reduction to FINALLY get McHenry County families some relief from property taxes that are higher than those in 99% of the other counties in America.
But I need your help. I can’t do this alone. Many of the same old tax-and-spend good old boys that got us in to this mess will be opposed to my 10% cut. They are worried it will cost their friends expensive government contracts and jobs. They need to hear from you NOW.
He then gives a link to send a message to County Board members.
Franks then asks people to email County Board members. [You can find County Board members’ email addresses here.]
And Franks does not say how he will implement his promise.
The levy will have already been passed, but it could be amended.
It’s doesn’t take a lot of knocking on doors to figure out that property taxes are a big issue in McHenry County.
But, in his 17 1/2 years in Springfield, one might ask,
“What property tax relief has Jack Franks provided to McHenry County?”
I remember fighting non-referendum bonds in the local governmental arena while State Representative.
The board members who did so, e.g., those on the McHenry County Conservation Board and Cary Park Board, undoubtedly remember the every household newsletter than gave their home phone numbers.
Can anyone remember Jack Franks doing anything in his legislative district to keep local real estate taxes from increasing?