Thumbs-down: To two incidents involving racially motivated threats toward a Lake in the Hills middle school student in the past month. A former Marlowe Middle School student was charged with a hate crime in connection with threats made via a video on social media in October, Lake in the Hills police have said. Now the Huntley Police Department is investigating racially motivated threats made via Xbox Live toward the same victim. The threats need to stop. We hope all parties involved work to prevent any threats from happening again.
Thumbs-up: To Jacobs’ Jenny Tokarz and Crystal Lake Central co-op’s Valerie Tarazi and Makayla Nietzel on qualifying for this weekend’s high school girls state swimming meet. Tarazi, a senior, is no stranger to the state meet, with four trips in four years. Tokarz and Nietzel, who is blind and will participate in four events for athletes with disabilities, both are freshmen. Good luck to all three swimmers as they take part in the state competition this weekend at New Trier High School.
Thumbs-down: To the Community High School District 155 Board. After hearing from constituents that property taxes are too high, the board and administrators came up with fresh plans to raise property taxes, but temporarily abate some taxes for a year. Just to recap: The board still wants you to pay more money next year so that the district can educate fewer students than last year. The board plans to make a final decision on just how much to raise property taxes at its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the District 155 Center for Education, 1 S. Virginia Road, Crystal Lake. We shudder to think about this board negotiating with teachers for a multiyear contract when the existing union contract expires in June 2019. Remember, staff salaries account for the bulk of school district spending and thus, the bulk of your property tax dollars.
Thumbs-down: To creating a “balanced budget” through new taxes in Lake in the Hills. After voting to institute new taxes on electric and natural gas consumption, Lake in the Hills officials congratulated themselves on passing a balanced $26.4 million budget this week. Mayor Russ Ruzanski even pointed out that, “Now we have a dedicated revenue source that we didn’t have before,” as though the board had discovered a gold mine or something. No, they’re just taxing residents rather than make the village’s budget fit the revenue available. The increased taxes will help employees get 2 percent cost-of-living raises in January, with a merit pool of 3 percent increases to be handed out in July, along with a $40,000 budget deficit at the Lake in the Hills airport, which few residents ever use. But hey, the tax increases should cost only $8 more a home ... so pay up, Joe Homeowner.