McHenry County Board approves 11.2 percent cut of property tax levy

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Board approved a budget Tuesday night that includes an 11.2 percent reduction in the county’s property tax levy.

At a regular meeting Tuesday, all County Board members voted in favor of the budget and a $71.4 million property tax levy that will collect $8 million less next year than the county collected this year.

“Every year, this crushing burden forces longtime residents out of their homes,” board Chairman Jack Franks said. “We are addressing the biggest issue facing McHenry County residents. In reducing that levy, we are showing that government is listening to them, and we are proving that government can work in a bipartisan manner to fight for them.”

Franks, who took office in December as the first board chairman directly elected by voters, ran on a campaign of cutting the county levy by 10 percent. County government accounts for about 10 percent of residential property tax bills.

Cuts came from trimming levies for funds that have robust reserves and ending bond issuances. The county plans to cut $800,000 from the Division of Transportation’s levy, which will have more revenue next year because it has made the final payment on a $50 million road projects bond.

The largest cut – $5.03 million – targets the county’s general fund. The abatement includes $882,585 in freed money after the county made the final payment on a capital project that bought a Motorola radio system.

The budget cuts $743,653 from the highway fund levy collected by the county, plus an additional $107,507 in matching funds. The budget cuts the mental health fund levy by $500,000.

Other proposed levy cuts include $317,478 from the $4 million levy for Social Security and cutting the liability insurance fund levy $999,929, or 80 percent – the fund to cover the county’s liability in lawsuits has a $14 million reserve.

The budget cuts the county government’s six-month fund reserve to five months over several years, and will use that $7.2 million to pay for needed building improvements. Those include work on a government parking lot, a courtroom remodel and replacing portable radios for authorities such as the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

A copy of the proposed budget can be found on the county’s website, Fiscal 2018 begins Dec. 1.