County Board nixes salary bump for Board of Review

WOODSTOCK – A majority of the McHenry County Board decided that salaries for the Board of Review should not go up if the number of property tax appeals are going down.

County Board members on Tuesday voted, 12-10, against a 2.75 percent salary increase for review board members for fiscal 2014, which started Sunday. The board, which consists of three members and 12 alternates, is tasked with reviewing appeals of the property assessments by which property tax bills are calculated.

Mary McClellan, R-Holiday Hills, pointed out that the number of appeals fielded by the board on the assessments for next year’s property tax bills decreased to 7,000 this year from last year’s all-time high of 10,413.

“There’s no need to give people salary increases to pay them for an increased workload when, in fact, that increased workload is no longer going to be there,” County Board member Diane Evertsen, R-Harvard, said.

This year’s total is the second-highest number of appeals ever recorded.

The proposed increase would have increased the salary of review board Chairman Clifton Haughton to $32,548, and that of regular members Mark Ruda and Sharon Bagby to $31,611.

The County Board in March gave board members 2.5 percent raises, retroactive to December 2012, because of the workload in processing 10,000-plus appeals. The 12 alternates receive a $125 per diem on days they are called in.

Deadlines for property owners in all 17 townships to contest their 2013 assessments for 2014’s tax bills have long passed.

The number of assessment appeals fielded by the County Assessments Office stayed fairly consistent – between 600 and 875 – from the mid-1990s until the housing market tumbled and the Great Recession followed. The office received 1,173 appeals for the 2007 tax year, which doubled the next year and almost doubled again the year after that. The number has steadily increased up to last year’s high.

How they voted

The McHenry County Board voted Tuesday, 12-10, against raising salaries for the Board of Review.

Voting no were Nick Chirikos, D-Algonquin, Sue Draffkorn, R-Wonder Lake, Diane Evertsen, R-Harvard, John Hammerand, R-Wonder Lake, John Jung, R-Woodstock, Donna Kurtz, R-Crystal Lake, Robert Martens Sr., R-Spring Grove, Mary McClellan, R-Holiday Hills, Nick Provenzano, R-McHenry, Ersel Schuster, R-Woodstock, Michael Walkup, R-Crystal Lake, and Paula Yensen, D-Lake in the Hills.

Voting yes were Michele Aavang, R-Woodstock, Yvonne Barnes, R-Cary, Joe Gottemoller, R-Crystal Lake, James Heisler, R-Crystal Lake, Ken Koehler, R-Crystal Lake, Mary McCann, R-Woodstock, Anna May Miller, R-Cary, Robert Nowak, R-Cary, Carolyn Schofield, R-Crystal Lake, and Michael Skala, R-Huntley.

County Board Chairwoman Tina Hill, R-Woodstock, and Sandra Fay Salgado, R-McHenry, were absent.

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