Property Tax Cut for McHenry County Introduced

It is a big deal.

It is always an honor, a privilege, and something I never take for granted – to serve all of you on the McHenry County Board.  This morning we had the opportunity to present a revolutionary resolution before the McHenry County Board – a resolution that will substantially cut taxes in McHenry County.

This is not the 100 percent solution but more of a 90 percent solution.  We heard from many board members, publicly and privately, of things that will need to be tweaked in this resolution.  It now moves to the Finance and Audit Committee on April 6th where this resolution will be marked up and voted upon.  Final approval will hopefully be April 18th.

This resolution is bi-partisan.  I am honored to have worked on this resolution with our Chairman Jack Franks, county board member John Reinert, and county board member Dr. Paula Yensen.  There are no sacred cows and all silos are under scrutiny.  All of us put aside politics and came together as a cohesive team to make things happen.  There are other county board members who want this to happen as well and need we need their constructive inputs as well.

I could literally list EVERY county board member here.  We are all excited.  Below is a copy of the resolution. We want to hear from you with your ideas and comments.  We need your feedback.

See you all on April 6th at Finance – here is the text of the resolution as proposed today:

RESOLUTION TO REDUCE THE McHENRY COUNTY FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGET AND PROPERTY TAX LEVY BY 10 PERCENT

WHEREAS, Illinois taxpayers pay higher property taxes than the vast majority of other Americans; and

WHEREAS, high property taxes have a deleterious effect on the economy and harm small businesses; and

WHEREAS, in 2016 the State of Illinois saw a larger population decline than any other state; and

WHEREAS, McHenry County’s population has declined since 2010; and

WHEREAS, 91 percent of voters from the Village of Cary recently supported a non-binding referendum calling for all future property tax levy increases to require voter approval; and

WHEREAS, 92 percent of voters from the Village of Lakewood also recently supported a non-binding referendum calling for all future property tax levy increases to require voter approval; and

WHEREAS, 91 percent of residents from the Village of Fox River Grove recently supported a non-binding referendum calling for all future property tax levy increases to require voter approval as well; and

WHEREAS, McHenry Township, Grafton Township and the Algonquin Township Road District each recently reduced their respective property tax levies by 10 percent from the previous year; and

WHEREAS, the McHenry Township Road District recently reduced its property tax levy by 11 percent from the previous year; and

WHEREAS, the McHenry County Board authorized a property tax levy totaling $79,344,078 on November 15th, 2016; and

WHEREAS, the McHenry County Government Fiscal Year 2018 begins on December 1, 2017; and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the aggregate total of all property taxes levied by the County of McHenry, Illinois during Fiscal Year 2018 shall be reduced by at least ten (10) percent, or $7,934,407, from $79,344,078 in Fiscal Year 2017 to less than $71,409,671 in Fiscal Year 2018; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Annual Appropriation Ordinance of McHenry County, Illinois authorizing county expenditures during Fiscal Year 2018 shall be similarly reduced by at least $7,934,407; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that an ad-hoc Committee on Tax Reduction shall be created, composed of: the County Board Chairman, who shall serve as committee Chairman; the Chairperson of each standing committee, with the Chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee serving as Vice-Chairman; and Misters Kearns and Wilbeck; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Committee on Tax Reduction shall work with the County Administrator to develop property tax levy reduction proposals on or before June 30, 2017; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that discussion of the Committee on Tax Reduction’s property tax levy reduction proposals shall be placed on the agenda of the County Board’s Thursday, July 13, 2017 Committee of the Whole meeting; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Committee on Tax Reduction shall make final recommendations to the County Administrator based on County Board member feedback prior to August 24, 2017; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the County Administrator shall develop a budget based on the Committee on Tax Reduction’s recommendations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the fiscal year 2018 budget shall be presented to the full County Board for 30-day review no later than the Thursday, October 12th, 2017 Committee of the Whole meeting.

DATED at Woodstock, Illinois, this 18th day of April, A.D., 2017.

 

_____________________________
Jack D. Franks, Chairman
McHenry County Board

ATTEST:

_________________________________
Mary E. McClellan, County Clerk

Property Tax Relief Front and Center Tomorrow Morning

Friends and Neighbors,

When you elected me to be your McHenry County Board Member I promised I would do something about property taxes.  Tomorrow we start the process of this as it will be introduced to the county board under new discussion.  This will then move to the Finance and Audit Committee which will debate and discuss this on April 6th.

I hope you all can listen in or attend our meeting tomorrow.  We have a great going in game plan that specifically calls for the reduction of the COUNTY PORTION of our tax bill.  This is all the county board can control.  We must be vigilant on who we elect to our other municipal bodies.  As we know we have many contested elections for school boards, village boards, and other races throughout McHenry County.

You can read an older resolution here.  It is public information that has been FOIA’d at least twice.

Tomorrow we will release the resolution for the public and invite comment.  I will keep my promises to all of you.

Thank You Algonquin Township

Friends, this past Tuesday we sent a very strong message that we can control our own local governments.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you and chance to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.

I want to thank Bob Miller.  It was a tough campaign.  Very difficult.  You made me a stronger, better person Mr. Miller and for that I thank you.  I look forward to working with you in the next few weeks.

We will build upon what is in Algonquin Township, there is a lot of great stuff there, and we shall make it better.  I shall not let you down.

Be Blessed,

Andrew

Misuse of Equipment and Property in Algonquin Township

We pay the 29th highest property taxes in the United States of America.  While we have very little control over Springfield and Washington DC we can control our local community.  Ask yourselves, is this the best we can do?  Is this spending the taxpayer’s money in the most efficient manner?

This video is what happens when you have such institutionalized power which goes unchecked. Watch this video:

This 8:24 second video should disturb all of us. How is it that township employees and their friends can discharge firearms on Algonquin Township property? The area in question is right behind “The Hollows” McHenry County Conservation District.  Is this appropriate use of Algonquin Township Highway funds?

“What the hell is he doing – he’s getting the loader. HE IS GETTING THE LOADER!”

“The Highway Department at work!  You stall on the side of the road watch out.  Haha.”

“Dude… Hey… hang on hang on!!! When no one is looking let’s throw it on 14!”

This is all under Robert J. Miller’s watch.

I will restore Integrity, Reform, and Transparency in the Algonquin Township Road District

If you elect me I will put an end to this behavior immediately.  I call on Robert J. Miller to identify the men in this video and immediately terminate them for unprofessional conduct and misuse of Algonquin Township property.

As a retired US Air Force Officer with experience in small arms fire I can tell you that the men discharging rounds into this vehicle did so in a very unsafe manner.  The ricochets could have injured themselves or flown into the conservation district behind this “range”.  Walking up to the vehicle and firing at close range is clearly unsafe.

My corrective actions will be as follows:

  1. Immediately ban all small arms and long rifles from being discharged on Algonquin Township government property.
  2. Institute new internal controls and measures to track hours on all equipment.
  3. Direct all staff that under no circumstances will Algonquin Township property be used for personal or recreational reasons.
  4. Institute a new “personal conduct” policy.
  5. Ask State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and Sheriff Bill Prim to investigate this video to see if any crimes were committed.

For the first time in 24 years you, the voters of Algonquin Township, have a choice this election day.  You can vote for me or vote for the political status quo.  There are more than enough qualified people who would love to work for the taxpayers of Algonquin Township who will respect the taxpayer’s money.  We can end the nepotism.  We can end the unprofessional conduct that takes place.

My ask from all of you

I am asking you all to share this story on Facebook.  I am asking you all to email this to everyone in Algonquin Township you know.  I am asking you all to share this via instagram.

Finally, I am asking you to vote for the reformers below who will END THIS MESS.

I WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN.

 

FOIA Request and Keeping My Promises on Property Taxes

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

Friends,

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:

Name:
Louis Sandborn

Email:
Email OR Address required
loupatriot1776@gmail.com

Address:
Email OR Address required
Loupatriot1776@gmail.com

Desired Response Type:
[×] Email

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

Fax:
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

Friends,

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.

VR
Andrew

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:

R E S O L U T I O N

RESOLUTION TO REDUCE THE McHENRY COUNTY BUDGET AND LEVY BY 10 PERCENT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2018

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

ATTEST:
_________________________________
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: andrew@andrewgasser.com or give me a call at (850)866-0155 if you have any questions.  With your help this will move forward.