Our view: Taxing bodies should follow McHenry County Board in cutting property tax levies by 10 percent




Nov. 27, 2017 – McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks kept his campaign promise of cutting the county’s property tax levy by 10 percent – if McHenry County government can do it, why can’t anyone else?

There are too many public officials who are interested in protecting their own interests before thinking of saving taxpayer money first. This needs to change.

The McHenry County Board recently approved a budget that includes an 11.2 percent reduction in the county’s property tax levy. We commend the McHenry County Board for unanimously approving the reduced levy, and hope that the cuts are sustainable.

Now it’s time for other taxing bodies to follow suit.

In McHenry County, many residents have cited rising property taxes as their reason to leave the state. Taxing bodies need to do more to keep residents in the county, and encourage growth here.

County government accounts for about 10 percent of a resident’s property tax bills, so it’s up to the taxing bodies that make up the other 90 percent to lower their levy requests – especially school districts.

In Crystal Lake, for example, the city’s portion of a property tax bill is about 10 percent. School District 47 takes up about 38 percent of a resident’s property tax bill and School District 155 makes up about 26 percent, according to the City of Crystal Lake’s website.

Despite protests from those in the audience Tuesday night, the District 155 Board of Education voted in favor of a tax levy increase. Under the levy request approved Tuesday night, according to the district’s projections, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay $7.94 more in property taxes to the district than in the previous year; and the owner of a $300,000 house would pay $11.90 more in property taxes to the district than the previous year.

Any amount more is too much.

The McHenry County Board also wants school districts to reduce their levies. A resolution submitted to the Law and Government Committee seeks to ask voters in the March 20 primary election whether they would like to see school districts do the same by 2020.

The action comes from committee Chairwoman Michele Aavang and board members John Jung and Christopher Spoerl.

“As a former school board president, I understand both sides of this issue, but the property tax burden that residents face is quickly becoming unsustainable,” Spoerl, R-Cary, said in a statement. “McHenry County’s ongoing population loss alarms me, and I believe the property tax burden homeowners face is a major contributing factor. Something has to change.”

We agree with Spoerl. Something has to change.