Help Improve the Next Election by Running for Local Office

The following was written by John Biver for the Illinois Family Institute and is re-published with permission:

Help Improve the Next Election by Running for Local Office

The self-government called for in the first sentence of the U.S. Constitution (“we the people”) doesn’t take a breather now that the November election is over.

We have lived through an interminably long presidential cycle which included debates and primaries that only introduced the less-than-stellar general election.

Any thoughts having to do with political campaigning after all of that are, well, also less-than-stellar.

What comes to mind, however, is the alternative — what if we didn’t have the power to run or help other good men and women run for offices?

Without question, exercising that power — running for any political office or helping someone else run — demands a good deal of energy and the assistance of friends and allies.

Seven decades ago, England’s Winston Churchill said this in the House of Commons:

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe.

No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise.

Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms…

Next February 28th we have a Consolidated primary [mainly townships in this area, but could inclulde some cities] election, followed by the Consolidated election on April 4, 2017.

Contested races are for offices such as

  • municipal
  • township
  • library districts
  • school boards

You can see the list of other offices here.

Okay, that’s not too bad you might think — you’ve got a couple of months of rest.


Here’s the bad news: petitions are already being circulated by those who wish to be candidates.

So yes, our elections are over-lapping — so much so that petition filing begins less than two weeks after the presidential election.

The petition filing period for the 2017 Consolidated primary[Crystal Lake and Algonquin, Grafton and Nunda Townships, for instance]  is November 21-28, 2016!

The petition filing period for the Consolidated election [school board, for instance] on April 4th is December 12-19, 2016!

Many social conservatives have been less-than-happy (to say the least) at the choices they had this year for president and U.S. Senator here in Illinois.

What’s needed is for many of these same people to tap into that unhappiness by turning their focus to local government where they can really make a difference.

And no better target for those energies exist than your local school board.

The Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins has been chronicling some of the outrageous things going on in a couple of the Illinois school districts when it comes to so-called “transgender” students and washroom and locker room policies. You can get caught up by reading a few of Laurie’s articles here; all of her articles are listed here.

While you are only one vote in millions in a statewide or national election, you can be the candidate for a local office.

The mess in Washington, D.C., has a parallel when it comes to your local school district.

While many directives come from the state and federal level, they can be corrected and stopped at the local level.

Very few school boards in Illinois are being properly managed.

If it’s not bathroom policies, then it’s over-promised teacher and administrator pension benefits that are bankrupting the state. Oh, and you have probably heard of Common Core.

Earlier this year I had a conversation with an individual who had just started to campaign for public office — I wanted to know what made him decide to do it. What follows is a summary of what he had to say:

Why you should run for office is the basic high school civics lesson — if you do not feel represented, you have to do something about it.

If you are disappointed with the operation of your government at any level or the voting record of those you have elected, it is your duty to either run or find someone else to run that shares your values.

One of the first considerations is raising money for the campaign — and that is always a challenge.

The important thing to keep in mind is that finding financial support is as much of a group effort as is volunteer support.

For example, getting out the vote on election day, for even the smallest political race, is a group effort.

So it is with fundraising.

This is also a challenge to social conservatives.

They say they want to see common sense values guiding policy, as well as economic efficiency, but too few are willing to stand up and do something themselves.

Many people who are uninterested in politics get the same sense I do — that we have no choice and are just along for the ride on this federal, state, or local government train.

The destination is in the hands of those driving the engine.

People need to be aware that is not the case.

They have the opportunity, the power and even the responsibility to get up, get involved and take charge.

Too many Americans have lost the concept that we do not exist by the will of the government — the government exists by our will.

Whether you like it or not, this is your federal, state, and local government. This is your nation. It does not own you — you own it.

If someone is piling up debt, enacting harmful policies and making foolish promises, you own it.

You can stop it now or suffer the consequences later.

Let me conclude by saying that we all understand that there are those who are unable to either run or volunteer for local campaigns.

That doesn’t leave you without a role, however.

You can help candidates for these local positions either directly or indirectly, with your time or financial support.

Please also consider a donation to our Illinois Family Action PAC so we can assist school board or other candidates for local office.

We have the opportunity not just to vote against candidates who have failed us, but for candidates who share our values and who will not cave into the pressures of the radical Left.

= = = = =
Or, as my father used to tell potential candidates who came for advice,

“If you don’t run, you know who will be in office.”

= = = = =
The McHenry County Clerk’s Office offers links to petitions for each office:



Help Improve the Next Election by Running for Local Office — 28 Comments

  1. “Whether you like it or not, this is your federal, state, and local government. This is your nation. It does not own you — you own it.”

    That is just the attitude we need to REALLY push as voters and tax payers.

    It’s kind of disappointing how little open verbal and actual physical support there is for the tax referendums put foreword by Paul and Andrew even if they weren’t binding.

    Nothing would change the game more than putting clamps on elected officials spending and taxing.

    Like school referendums that are binding, voter turn out would increase if we really had some say in our own futures on a regular bases.

  2. The Nob: And you are running for which office?

    I would like everyone who posts on this blog to indicate whether or not they have ever held an elected office.

    Maybe someone can put forth a survey?

    Maybe add a requirement to post on the blog you must indicate to Cal what office you held?

  3. That is absurd logic.

    The dissenting voices on a free-speech posting site are in response to a poor job done by that cohort you describe as the only who should be eligible to post.

    If many of those who have held office had not committed malpractice, the citizenry would be safe and happy and enjoying equitable outcomes, having little need of dissent.

    I think it takes reaching a point of personal pain (pain inflicted by elected rulers) to have an epiphany about politics and get involved to the degree of becoming informed.

    One person who has reached that point should not judge another like a reformed smoker.

    That said, I’ll run for office.

  4. Questioning, I was a Rep committeeman one term.

    I attended a few meetings and realized the Rep party at that time was not me, or at least those running those meetings were not.

    Mike Tryon was to busy playing tangent games and not going for the heart of the State and local problems.

    Same problem I see with most of the Rep’s locally, State, and Fed, none of them seem to want a Balanced Budget law or giving up their power and letting us vote on any really important issues.

    Taxation and Levy changes, adding new programs like BOcare, we should have the right to vote on any major changes that effect taxation IMO.

    As far as running in the future, well my past and my blunt nature would not win me many friends unless they really wanted to move in the direction I’ve stated in my rants.

    How about you?

  5. November 21 – 28, 2016 – Petition filing for the primary election.

    December 12 – 19, 2016 – Petition filing for the general election (school board, etc.)

    February 28, 2017 – Primary Election.

    April 4, 2017 – General Election.

  6. Nob,

    While the Board for Cary D-26 was certainly aware of the referendum results, no one came before our board to present the results or argue in its favor.

    And, am I not aware of any other taxing body seeing a presentation regarding the results of the various referenda.

    That being said, the D-26 Board will actually CUT the levy for next year.

    I think our board has been very responsive over the last several years in recognizing the balance that must exist between establishing the operating revenue structure that is required to deliver educational programs on a long-term, sustainable basis versus the impact the levy has upon the community.

    In each of the last 4 years, we have employed various tactics that will deliver approximately $5 million in tax savings.

    I am hopeful that more taxing bodies will consider the balance issue when considering their levy for the upcoming year.

  7. The above comment is especially relevant given the 8% equalization factor increase imposed on most townships’ home assessments.

    A taxing body ‘keeping tax rate flat’ will result in major nominal tax increases to homeowners.

  8. Susan,

    Could you please explain your comment further for those who may not be as number savvy as youself?

    What is an equalization factor increase?

    How does that effect assessments?

  9. In Seneca Township, we had an 8.36% equalization factor applied.

    A home assessed at $100,000 last year would now be assessed at $108,360.

    The tax Rate is applied to the new assessed value, to determine dollar amount of taxes due.

    The tax Rate is determined by dividing tax levy by equalized assessed value of all taxable property in that district.

  10. After all the assessment appeals have been heard.
    Then all is published on the ‘taxes’ section of McHenry County Clerk web page.

  11. So just because my EAV is going up 6.something %, there is no way to tell if my taxes will go up or down?

    I would assume all parcels would go up in value equally, creating a balance that would keep taxes equal.

    A flat levy would not be a tax increase?

  12. The LAST DAY to file is next MONDAY for election PRIMARIES.

    If you are there at 4 PM there is a lottery to determine the last place ballot position.

    Municipalities MAY have primaries depending on how many people file so check with your local municipal clerk’s office to see if you need to file in the current period.

    Townships having over 15,000 population generally have primaries (except apparently McHenry Township this year).

    This depends on whether or not the local township parties had a vote and transmitted a letter to the county clerk or not prior to 11/15. If not, they will have a CAUCUS.

    You must file:

    (1) Petition containing .005% signatures of registered voters of the number that voted in that jurisdiction in the last Consolidated Election (April 2015 or April 2013 for townships);

    (2) The person circulating the petition must sign the bottom in front of a NOTARY;

    (3) You must file a RECEIPT for the STATEMENT OF ECONOMIC interests; (3) STATEMENT OF CANDIDACY. Loyalty Oath is optional.

    Forms are available online from the State Board of Elections.

    You do not have to open a campaign committee with the State Board until you have collected or spent $5000 unless you already have done that.



    IF anyone wants their complete paperwork reviewed prior to filing, you can stop by my house across from Veteran Acres Park in Crystal Lake (5215 Walkup Road, look for sign advertising chickens) and I will do so free of charge.

    Dog is friendly.

    No excuses people!

  13. In order to predict if your taxes will rise, you need to know:

    1. Did the levy rise?

    2. Did your equalization factor exceed that of other taxpayers within same taxing district?

    For example, in Woodstock D200 there are taxpayers from Dorr Twnshp and also from Seneca Twnshp.

    Seneca equalization factor was higher than that of Dorr by 3 percentage points, as I recall.

    In the case of a flat school district levy, Seneca homeowners will pay more than Dorr on homes which were assessed at identical values last year.

    And I think the final EAVs are published around April?
    After that, since every levy will already be known, the tax rates may be calculated.

  14. Susan, If D-200’s EAV is spiking that much, that may spell big trouble for D-200’s General State Aid calculation in 19 months for FY19 when the EAV for 2016 is plugged in for that formula.

    Basically, D-200’s GSA revenue has tripled in the last 4 years due to plummeting EAV and, now that EAV is recovering, GSA will be cut over time as EAV begins to approach previous levels.

  15. What’s Your Tax Code?


    The following statistical information is from the “District Rates by Tax Code 2015” document on the McHenry County Clerks website.


    First a primer in how property taxes are calculated.

    In Illinois the Assessed Value is about 1/3 of Fair Cash Value.

    The 1/3 figure is known as Equalized Assessed Value (EAV).

    The Assessed Value includes a Township Factor designated by the County.

    (Township assessors generally assess by neighborhood, not by the whole Township).

    EAV – Exemptions = Net Taxable Value.

    (A common exemption outside Cook County is the $6,000 Homestead Exemption).

    Net Taxable Value x Tax Rate = Total Property Tax Due

    The McHenry County Treasurer’s website has a list of additional exemptions including those for senior citizens and people with disabilities.


    The highest tax rate in McHenry County is 24.477064% in Tax Codes 09101 & 10101 in Johnsburg SSA 28 in McHenry Township in Johnsburg.

    That’s due to sewer bonds in Johnsburg SSA 28.

    Those in Johnsburg not in SSA 28 have a lower tax rate.


    The second highest tax rate in McHenry County is 19.563497% in Tax Code 19147 in Algonquin SSA 43 in Algonquin Township in Crystal Lake.

    SSA 43 was formed due to the failure of some property taxpayers to pay the City of Crystal Lake for the bonds issued for water main, sanitary sewer, and road construction projects as outlined in the Participation Agreement.

    Those residents in SSA who did actually pay their fair share / proportionate share as outlined in the Participation Agreement received a reimbursement on their tax bills.

    That could be called a Participation Agreement fee hike.


    The third highest Tax Rate in McHenry County is 16.657291% in Tax Codes 19163, 19T163, & 20163 in Algonquin SSA 1 in Algonquin Township in Algonquin.

    SSA 1 is for maintenance of common areas in the Coves III subdivision.


    The fourth highest Tax Rate in McHenry County is 16.222015% in Tax Code 19146 in Lake in the Hills SSA 10 in Algonquin Township in Lake in the Hills.

    SSA 10 is for the Bank of America property located at the northeast corner of Algonquin and Randall Roads.


    The fifth highest Tax Rate in McHenry County is 15.711975% in Tax Code 17017 in Union SSA 1 in Coral Township in Union.


    The sixth highest Tax Rate in McHenry County is 15.235944% in Tax Codes 09067 & 10067 in Johnsburg SSA 18 in McHenry Township in Johnsburg.

    SSA 18 was set up to fund a $150,000 bond issue.

    The 4 acre property is at 3960 North Johnsburg Road and is now Raymond’s Bowl and Entertainment Center.


    The seventh highest Tax Rate in McHenry County is 15.026933 for Tax Code Area 19157 & 20157 in Crystal Lake SSA 44 in Algonquin Township in Crystal Lake.

    SSA 44 is for the Tracy Trail Street project. Bonds were issued in 2007.

  16. Coffey keep up the good work, but if you really want a Cookie, figure out how to reduce Dist 26 tax rate.

    Come on, I hear you can walk on water!


    At least I don’t live in Mark’s top seven, that’s special.

  17. Wagner from D155 said he was going to retire and not run again.

    After the bleacher mess let’s hope he does retire and takes a few other board members with him.

  18. Nob, Our current rate is $4.6251 per $100/EAV.

    The estimate for next year based on our actions have the tax rate dropping down to $4.2577.

    I like Oreo’s.

  19. Woodstock d200 tax rate $8.2 per $100/EAV.

    It’s obscene, and it can happen to YOU too.

  20. Tax Rate: Full or 1/3


    Any given tax rate from “The Seven Highest Tax Rates in McHenry County” is multiplied by the Net Taxable Value, resulting in total tax due.

    Net Taxable Value = EAV – Exemptions.

    Remember in Illinois EAV is about 1/3 of Fair Cash Value (FCV being estimated selling price).

    Remember just about every owner occupied home outside Cook County receives the Homestead Exemption of $6,000, and additional exemptions are available (for those that apply and are accepted) for seniors, disabled, etc.

    (Cook County receives a $7,000 Homestead Exemption.)

    Thus the full Tax Rate is applied to Net Taxable Value.

    The full Tax Rate appears on the property tax bill.

    Many people also want to know the property tax rate on the home’s market value(the market value being the selling price aka Fair Cash Value).

    That’s called the effective tax rate.

    The effective tax rate on the market value (aka fair cash value aka estimated selling price) of a home, due to exemptions, is a little less than 1/3 of the full Tax Rate.

    Here is a simple example, assuming $300,000 market value & 10% full Tax Rate, leaving out both any county applied Township factor, and any State Multiplier on assessed value to arrive at EAV.

    $100,000 EAV – $6,000 Homestead Exemption = $94,000 Net Taxable Value.

    $94,000 Net Taxable Value x .10 full Tax Rate = $9,400 property taxes.

    $9,400 property taxes / $300,000 market value = .031333 effective property tax rate (3.1333%).

    1/3 of the 10% full Tax Rate is 3.3333% (.033333).

    Thus the Homestead Exemption results in a savings to 3.3333% – 3.1333% = .2%, which is .002, which is 2/10 of one percent.

    2/10 of one percent doesn’t sound like much of a savings from applying the Homestead Exemption to the property tax bill.

    $600 sounds like a whole lot more savings.

    Doing the math, assuming a $300,000 house, with an EAV of $100,000, a Homestead Exemption of $6,000, a full tax rate of 10% (applied to Net Taxable Value), an effective tax rate of 3.1333% (applied to Fair Cash Value), the Homestead Exemption results in a savings of $600 annually.

    $300,000 x .033333 = $10,000 without homestead exemption.

    $300,000 x .031333 = $9,400 with homestead exemption.


    Be sure any seniors or disabled folks you know are receiving any qualified exemptions.

    The government doesn’t keep track of who is a senior and who is disabled when it comes to property tax exemptions.

    One must apply for the exemption with the County Clerk.

  21. After the Board of Review finishes handling the assessment appeals and the Illinois Revenue Department issues its equalization factor.

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