FOIA Request and Keeping My Promises on Property Taxes

I heard you loud and clear long before November 8th.


As many of you may have heard I spoke about being asked to turn over documents via the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). I think it is critical to be transparent to all of you so I am now posting it here for all to see. First: The FOIA request:

Louis Sandborn

Email OR Address required

Email OR Address required

Desired Response Type:
[×] Email

Daytime Phone:
Phone number will be used if clarification of this request is needed

Not answered

Records Requested:
Provide as much specific detail as possible so the public body can identify the information that you are seeking.

I request copies of all emails sent by Andrew Gasser to Yvonne Barnes, Donna Kurtz, Jeffrey Thorsen, Michael Rein, Chuck Wheeler or Michael Walkup between January 1, 2017 and February 18, 2017 and any responses.

Thank you,
McHenry County, IL

Here is the email that has been FOIA’d:

To:   Jack Franks‎; County Board Members
Attachments:  Resolution.docx‎ (16 KB‎)‎[Open as Web Page‎]
Inbox, Sent Items
Tuesday, February 07, 2017 11:04 PM


The public has made it evidently clear that they want tax relief.  Our chairman has said he wants a 10 percent cut in our budget and levy.  I have had conversations with a few of you and it just seems like we really are not taking this seriously in my opinion.

I have written a resolution in my copious amount of free time and I feel this is a great starting point.

I am asking all of you to reach out to me and to other and start discussing this.  I plan to push this very, very hard with you all – and the public.  I think I have the public’s back on this.

Do or do not – there is no try.  Let’s work together to get this done.


I couldn’t properly link my attachments in the email above so I am putting a PDF of the attachment here and the searchable text below:



WHEREAS, McHenry County Illinois is the 29th highest property taxed county in the United States of America; and

WHEREAS, The citizens of McHenry County view property taxes as the number one reason to leave the county; and

WHEREAS, The State of Illinois has lost more citizens than any other state in 2016; and

WHEREAS, High property taxes have a deleterious effect on the economy and destroy small businesses; and

WHEREAS, The Village of Cary has passed a non-binding referendum with 91 percent demanding all future levy increases come before the voters; and

WHEREAS, The Village of Lakewood has passed a non-binding referendum with 92 percent demanding all future levy increases come before the voters; and

WHEREAS, The Village of Fox River Grove has passed a non-binding referendum with 91 percent demanding all future levy increases come before the voters; and

WHEREAS, The McHenry Board authorized the a levy of $79,344,078 on November 15th, 2016; and

WHEREAS, The McHenry County fiscal year begins December 1st of every year; and

WHEREAS, The McHenry County fiscal year ends November 30th of every year.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by this County Board of McHenry County, directs the County Administration that the Annual Appropriation Ordinance of McHenry County, Illinois for the fiscal year beginning December 1, 2017 and ending November 30, 2018, shall be reduced by ten(10) percent from $79,344,078 to $71,409,671; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the County Administrator and staff shall prepare plans to reduce the budget and levy and present them to the full county board at the Tuesday, May 16th, 2017 meeting; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the fiscal year 2018 budget will go on 30 day review to the full county board no later than the Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 meeting.


DATED at Woodstock, Illinois, this 21st day of February, A.D., 2017.
Jack D. Franks, Chairman
McHenry County Board

Mary E. McClellan, County Clerk

More about the resolution

I wanted to communicate to you, the constituents, that this county board member hears you loud and clear.  We are leading the way with this resolution.  The voters of Cary, Fox River Grove, and Lakewood sent a very clear message and some of us are responding.  This resolution is the first step.  Obviously some of the dates will need to be updated.

Moreover, working with other county board members and Chairman Jack Franks we will further refine this resolution and have it before the Finance Committee (hopefully) next month if everything goes as planned.  This is a collaborative effort.  We need to find 13 votes to make this happen.  I feel we have six right votes now.  Please help me get more.

I have been working on this resolution for awhile quietly with some members as soon as the new board was seated.  Frankly, I felt it was important to work with board members privately getting their feedback and input to make a better resolution.  Once we found our “sea legs” this is the draft.  It was my hope that we could have announced this next month but I feel compelled to release it now.

Sadly, sometimes the messenger gets shot and the message never gets through.  This is one of those cases.  I felt I had to share this now publicly to re-assure you that I have not forgotten that McHenry County property taxes are the 29th highest in the United States of America.  Again, it would be very hard to forget all the time we invested in July and August getting all the signatures to get the resolutions on the ballot.  I remember meeting so many of you at the Panera in Fox River Grove, the Jewel in Cary, or just going door to door.

We have accomplished so much together and we will do more.

Feel free to email me: or give me a call at (850)866-0155 if you have any questions.  With your help this will move forward.