Ensuring the Fiscal Responsibility of McHenry County
As a former bank auditor, Kelli is able to study financial statements to ensure taxpayer money is being spent responsibly and according to the budget. When running for office in Nunda, she reviewed two years worth of township financial statements and bill payments. Her budgeting experience will help ensure that McHenry County is allocating your tax dollars to the areas most needed. With the reduction of residents in McHenry County (and Illinois, overall), the money used to fund our schools and support the county budget will start to decrease, and our property taxes are at risk of increasing yet again.
McHenry County’s property taxes are too high. A record number of residents are moving out of state in order to find an affordable place to live. This is especially hitting those with fixed incomes: county residents on pensions, social security recipients or low income families. The majority of the property tax income (73.69%) is directed to our schools. McHenry has wonderful schools, but the state needs to create a different way to fund our schools without putting so much of the burden on the taxpayers. Last year the County Board cut taxes by 10%. We need to continue that trend.
In my opinion, Springfield needs to restructure how all Illinois taxes (sales, income and property) are allocated to the state's expenses, including education. The county boards across Illinois need to put pressure on Springfield to start this process. By putting the burden of funding our school districts through property taxes, not only does this penalize the school districts, students and teachers from lower income communities, but it also creates huge property tax bills that are causing people to move out of Illinois.
By eliminating wasteful county spending and being more cautious with our budget, the county would not need to rely as heavily on our property taxes to provide needed services. Once Kelli is elected, she will be provided with more detailed financial information to analyze and know where to cut spending. One issue that should be addressed is the salary budget for the McHenry County Board because it can be reduced by 71%.
A full review of the McHenry County Board should be performed. McHenry County has 307,343 residents and 24 County Board members. This means, on average, each County Board member represents only 12,800 residents. The annual salary for this part-time position is $21,000.
McHenry County Board members are also eligible for full medical and dental health insurance coverage. All but four board members, have elected to receive this health insurance coverage; this means 20 of the current board members are receiving almost FREE medical and dental insurance. As a resident of McHenry County, your tax dollars are paying for this insurance, and these are part-time county employees. Why are these part-time employees receiving health and dental insurance on your dime?
Having almost free health insurance for part-time elected officials is the definition of entitlement. If other part-time government workers are not receiving health care, neither should our County Board Members.
If we reduce the County Board to 12 or 18 members and eliminate their health insurance, the budgeted expense for the County Board would be reduced significantly. See below for two options:
Below is a breakout of Salary and Insurance costs not including the Chairman:
Current Salaries Current Insurance Costs Total Cost
$504,000 $389,835 $893,835
Proposed Salaries - 12 Insurance Costs Total Cost
$252,000 $0 $252,000 71% Savings ($641,835)
Proposed Salaries - 18 Insurance Costs Total Cost
$378,000 $0 $378,000 58% Savings ($515,835)