Thanks to Four County Board Members

Former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster takes time to thank those County Board members who voted against raising the County’s tax levy:

Ersel Schuster

A belated, but nevertheless grateful “thank you” to

  • Yvonne Barnes
  • Andrew Gasser
  • Jeff Thorsen
  • Craig Wilcox

for their work on the “levy” issue (item 13.48), at the 12/20/16 County Board Meeting.

They actually had the courage to question, challenge and to ultimately vote against taking the “new growth” grab for additional tax dollars!

In spite of the scratchy, most often inaudible meeting audio, it was very clear that most members, even longstanding members, were either

  • confused over something they should have known,
  • are stone cold stupid, or
  • at the very least, had not bothered to read through their 721-page packet of information.

What was disheartening… was the blatant attempt to lay all blame on the township assessor. These folks generally do their jobs, get their “new growth guesstimates” and “books” to the county on time and without issues.

There is however…no excuse for an assessor to not know the building projects in his/her township; unless, the county is not providing, to the townships, the information required for building projects.

Of interest was the fact that Mr.Mike  Skala pounced on this issue to drive home a personal message when he added that he

“favored getting rid of our township assessors and going to a county assessor.”

That message was rounded out by Mr. Franks stating…

“I agree with everything you said…”

Just what we need; another huge monopoly and more big government.

Under this scenario, the county will assess your property; the county will strike the levy; and, the county will appoint the folks who will hear your tax protests.

How cozy!

These two “tax and spenders” not mentioning the horrendous cost to that plan!


Thanks to Four County Board Members — 34 Comments

  1. Anybody who thinks we have more than a handful of conservatives on the board needs to have his or her head examined.

    It’s time to clean a little house in the next primary.

  2. Well said, Ersel.

    You are clear sighted and speak clearly.

    I agree with you completely.

  3. The issue was not ‘new growth’ – the issue was raising property taxes!

    The ‘new growth’ topic was used to deflect attention from the tax increase.

    Why should any government body in the County even attempt to reduce property taxes when the largest body – McHenry County – increases its property taxes?

    Did you know that the Algonquin Township share of TOTAL ASSESSMENTS in the County was reduced last year?

  4. If the County EAV increased by a greater amount than the new growth increase in the extension, doesn’t that still decrease the County’s tax rate?

    Thanks to Ersel for her years of service to County residents.

  5. And she is still serving by sticking her neck out continually, Whackamole.

    Thank you for your patience and grace dear lady.

    Knowledge and wisdom is lost to this generation of “leaders”.

  6. If you consolidate assessments to the county where would they be housed?

    Wouldn’t moving them all to Woodstock require a much bigger building and parking lot?

    If they all work out of Woodstock, how do you compensate for the extra travel time fuel costs?

    Wouldn’t than mean either less service or the need to increase the work force to get the same job done?

    I suppose the extra fuel, wear and tear for the vehicles is no big deal right?

  7. It would be interesting to see the final statistics on the levy increases submitted to the county clerk from all of the different taxing entities (County, schools, villages, etc.) in the county.

    If you sorted the year-over-year change from highest to lowest, measured either in absolute dollars or on a percentage basis, I’ll bet we would see that the County itself ranks #1 with the largest tax increase of the roughly 300 taxing bodies in the county.

    While every taxing body was limited by CPI to 0.7% increases, and many entities froze or even cut their levy, the County reinstated $2.75 million of the Valley Hi levy and then recast the dollars for some other purpose and added new growth and then came back for a second bite at the apple to scoop up the last $80k in new growth just because they could.

  8. Whackamole: It has nothing to do with the rate – it has to do with the amount.

    The rate is artificial as it depends on the whimsy of the County and the State relative to “Equalization Factors”.

    Do not let County staff and elected officials deceive you with the term “new growth”.

  9. Don’t be fooled by the tax rate – it may in fact be lower for 2016 because of the increase in assessments due to the equalization factors imposed.

    Based on current published assessment numbers ($ 8,322,105,800)
    for 2016 and using a factor of 8.86 percent for homestead and other exemptions, the current rate for the county tax levy of $79,424,078 comes out to a rate of 1.047164 as compared to the 2015 rate of 1.078148.

    In case you are not aware, ninety nine percent of the property in the County saw an increase in assessment due to the equalization factors.

    Do not let the politicians get away with claiming the rates are down!!!

    Check to see if the levy went up!

    The County went from $76,289,016.04 to $79,424,078.00!!!!

  10. Overall, the process is nearly a zero-sum game:

    lower tax rate * higher assessments = higher tax rate * lower assessments.

    Total levies/township equalized value (EAV) = tax rate.

    Tax rate * net assessment (assessment-exemptions) = property tax.

    The real culprits are:

    – levies: completely outside the control of township assessors and

    – deals cut after the books are submitted: completely outside the control of township assessors.

  11. Regarding consolidation of township assessments at the county level, taxpayers would suffer because of the lack of familiarity with differences in value within and across townships.

    For example, we created 96 distinct neighborhoods in Grafton based on significant geographic, statistical or categorical (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.) factors.

    And that daunting number of neighborhoods is in a fairly homogeneous township because roughly 94% of our parcels are residential. Imagine the complexity of a township like Algonquin with all of its diverse neighborhoods and commercial parcels along Randall and Algonquin Roads.

    The Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) contains a major Rule called the Competency Rule. Below are its relevant excerpts dealing with geographic competency. The line numbers relate to the current 2016-17 version of USPAP in case anyone wants confirmation.


    342 An appraiser must: (1) be competent to perform the assignment; (2) acquire the necessary competency to
    343 perform the assignment; or (3) decline or withdraw from the assignment. In all cases, the appraiser must
    344 perform competently when completing the assignment.
    352 Comment: Competency may apply to factors such as, but not limited to, an appraiser’s
    353 familiarity with a specific type of property or asset, a market, a geographic area, an intended

    372 In an assignment where geographic competency is necessary, an appraiser who is not familiar
    373 with the relevant market characteristics must acquire an understanding necessary to produce
    374 credible assignment results for the specific property type and market involved.

  12. Don’t you people get it?!!!

    The Big Financial Black Hole called Chicago, sucks in resources from, and impoverishes, the rest of the State, including McHenry County (with one of the very highest property tax rates in the WHOLE COUNTRY!)

    All the various IL tax schemes are, are ways to separate money from productive citizens to, basically, unproductive denizens, who are encouraged, with tax payers’ largess, to have more and more illegitimate kids who will be supported by the remaining IL taxpayers…. until there aren’t enough of them to support the whole rotten system.

  13. “If we don’t take it, we lose it forever.”

    That’s the favorite phrase of those working for or ruling tax districts.

    Of course, the converse is true as well:

    If they don’t take it we save it forever.

  14. In the phrase: ” we lose it forever.” the “WE” are the public sector employees who are paid in part or in whole with property tax dollars!

    At the County that would be Peter and all the other non-elected employees of the County.

    In Algonquin Township that would be people like Anna May Miller.

  15. Connect the dots: Using your figures, the 2015 rate minus the 2016 rate divided by the 2015 rate yields a 2.96% CUT in rate. (1.078148 – 1.047164 divided by 1.047164 equals .02958849)

    Did the heroic 4 actually vote NO to a tax rate cut?

  16. Double down on Martha’s comment.

    Yes. The rate may go down but your tax bill may go up.

    Yes. The ‘heroic 4’ voted in support of the taxpayer and against a tax increase!

    As stated by ‘Questioning’, the rate is an artificial number – it is the amount of taxes collected that affects each and every property tax payer as to whether or not your tax bill goes up.

  17. When you go to the store to buy a product, do you go there with a percentage of your savings / income in mind or do you go there with a dollar amount in mind?

    Treat your property tax the same way.

    It is the amount of the levy that affects your property tax that is relevant – it is not the percentage of your assessment the County Clerk comes up with to collect that amount.

  18. To be clear, both ASSESSMENT and RATE matter.

    At the grocery store, every shopping cart of food is charged the same tax RATE at the checkout counter.

    Consider what is IN the cart as the assessment: it is variable and subject to taste, and coupons, and checkout-swiper-error.

    We ALL go to the checkout counter every year with our home in our shopping cart.
    And, we all (within any given taxing district) pay the same tax RATE on the cart contents, but the factors affecting the assessment of the cart contents’ VALUE are subject to human error.

  19. The RATE is extraordinarily important, as it is a true reflection of the RATIO of
    Spending relative to the means of the community.
    RATE= spending/divided by/ taxable property value

  20. In the case of a tax RATE dropping because while levy was increased (numerator), the taxable property value increased by a greater relative magnitude.

    EXCEPT: as was pointed out in earlier comment, EQUALIZATION FACTOR INCREASED ALL McH C PROPERTY BY ABOUT 8%…and that is not reflected by the reality of properties’ actual values here.

  21. Susan, the RATE is an artificial number.

    I am not talking about the amount your property is assessed which dictates what percentage of the levy you have to pay to keep your property.

    My point is simply: Politicians and public sector employees will claim they have frozen the property tax rate when in fact they have increased the amount of tax dollars you pay.

    The County Board got away with this for three years!

    You, the taxpayer have a say in what you are assessed via the Property Tax Appeal Board – you have no say in the levy other than screaming at your elected officials for approving what STAFF has recommended.

  22. C-….:

    YOU must understand hpw this works:




    Rate is a RATIO, which can be compared to counties, towns, states, all across America.


    the tax RATE for each taxing district is published annually on the OCounty Clerk wbsite.

    I have collected all the rates from last year, and determined that the mean and median property tax RATE in McH c IS BETWEEN 3.66% and 3.83%

    this is a valuable assessment tool in determining that, by comparison to all other counties in USA, our schools/MCCD/County government, libraries, municipalities, etc are WILDLY overspending relative to the means of their represented community.

    (American average property tax rate is 1.4%. Indiana is capped at 1%. Massachusetts is capped at 2.5% Chicago is around 2.4%)

  23. We ALL pay the same RATE, if we live in same taxing district.

    If we had a State tax RATE cap, we would truly be protected, as the following example (Massachusetts):

    2.5% property tax rate cap means that a $200, 000 home can only be taxed a MAXIMUM of $5000.
    (.025 x $200,000).

    If the home value increases to $300,000, taxing bodies may collect $7500.
    (.025 x $300,000)

    If the home value falls to $150,000, taxing bodies could only collect $3750
    (.025 x $150,000)

    This creates an incentive to make property increase in value, because people feel they will be protected from over taxation.
    In this County we have the opposite: we have the incentive to allow our property to deteriorate because its value is taxed at an outlier high rate.

  24. In our case, because we have let it go too far, our only hope is to force lowered spending by taxing bodies.

    Then, if rate can come down, property values stand a chance of catching up some of the lost appreciation relative to almost all other areas of America, whose homes have regained pre-crash pricing level

  25. Susan, if you cut quality funding to schools, and home values are low, and there’s a cut to services, what middle class family is going to move here?

  26. You have to define ‘quality funding’.
    the overspending for the same services received everywhere else at 2/3 the price is not anyone’s definition of ‘quality funding’.

    At a property tax rate more than 2 1/2 times national average, Services, by definition are More than The Means of the Community.

    Again, are we simply overpaying for the same social services which communities all across Illinois and America manage to provide within the means of the community?

    I have seen no evidence to the contrary.

    Finally, no middle class family can comfortably move here under current conditions (which require over 10% of a ‘middle class family’ income to pay property taxes (vs BLS average of 3.4% of household income needed to pay property taxes.) and with the expectation that the value of their home will fall 2-3% vs. a home most anywhere else in America each and every year.

  27. In his Cut 10 election campaign for McHenry County Board Chair to which position he was just elected on November 8, 2016 and took office December 5, 2016, current Democrat State Representative for the 63rd District Jack Franks called for all property taxing districts in McHenry County to reduce their property tax levy by 10%.

  28. On his Cut 10 website which redirected to, which was taken down after the election, Jack Franks said he would reduce his plan to cut property taxes in every property taxing district in the County by 10, on his first day of office.

    Jack Franks failed to deliver the plan.

    During the campaign for County Board Chair, in his letter to Township Officials, and to the Northwest Herald, Jack Franks said, as was reported by the Northwest Herald, that Jack Franks would use the County Boar Chair position as a bully pulpit until other taxing bodies follow suit and also cut 10%.

    Now Jack Franks has been elected and we have:

    – No plan from Jack Franks to cut property taxing districts 10% in every property taxing district in the county.

    – No signs of a bully pulpit from Jack Franks.

    – Jack Franks put a resolution on the County Board agenda to hike the McHenry County property tax levy by $80,000.

    – Moderate, the biggest Jack Franks supporter on the blog, a person that Mike Walkup (Jack Franks’ opponent for County Board Chair) stated must be close with Jack Franks based on an incident that occurred during the campaign handing out flyers at the Crystal Lake Park District, has stated, if you cut quality funding to schools, and home values are low, and there’s a cut to services, what middle class family is going to move here… what is Jack Franks response to that?

  29. typo…correction is, Jack Franks said he would produce his plan to cut property taxes in every property taxing district int he County by 10%, on his first day in office.

  30. Kudos to those who said “NO”, and were not sheep… us TaX Payers appreciate it!

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