McHenry County Board approves resolution to cut property taxes by 10 percent



While Illinois lawmakers continue their two-week vacation with court-ordered deficit spending still on autopilot and a threat of tax increases looming, a county government in suburban Chicago has vowed to cut property taxes by at least 10 percent.

The McHenry County Board Tuesday night passed a resolution that creates a task force of County Board members who will work with paid staff to recommend expense cuts by June 30 and, after time for negotiations on the proposed cuts, to enact the reduced budget in advance of the new fiscal year on Dec. 1.

The cuts would then allow the County Board to reduce its levy by 10 percent, resulting in a property tax reduction for county residents, County Board Chairman Jack Franks said.

“We’re over the first hurdle,” Franks said in a news release. “We haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but by setting this goal, we’ve moved substantially toward reducing the taxes residents and employers pay to McHenry County.”

In his campaign for County Board chairman last fall, Franks, a longtime former state representative, ran on a promise of reducing property taxes.

The resolution passed Tuesday night seeks to reduce the amount of property taxes collected next fiscal year by about $8 million, from about $79.3 million to about $71.4 million.

Members of the ad-hoc Committee on Tax Reduction will include Franks, a Democrat from Marengo; vice-chairman Mike Skala, R-Huntley, the chairman of the board’s Finance and Audit Committee; and board members Chris Christensen, R-Cary, Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, and Jim Kearns, R-Huntley.

First-year County Board member Andrew Gasser, a Republican, helped craft the resolution that was approved Tuesday night.

“It was a team effort. It took all of us,” Gasser said, calling it a bipartisan effort.

Gasser will be resigning from the County Board soon after being elected Algonquin Township supervisor.

The resolution passed 23-1, with Republican board member Donna Kurtz the only vote against.

State lawmakers return to Springfield next week with time running out on agreeing to a balanced budget. The state has been without a full budget for almost two years, but spending continues to outpace revenue because of court orders.