Local Election

Why vote Tuesday? It’s your money

About 15 percent of McHenry County’s 202,494 registered voters are expected to cast ballots for Tuesday’s election.

Or put another way, 172,120 of them are expected not to bother.

Some voters have few true races on the ballot – about half of the seats up for election in the 89 public bodies are uncontested. Others will have contested races to decide and important issues to tackle.

But regardless of what your ballot looks like, Tuesday’s election is important to every voter – the boards up for election are the ones that make the decisions affecting most of your property tax bill.

So if you’re part of the 85 percent not intending to weigh in this election, the Northwest Herald would like to appeal to your wallet, namely by listing how much of your tax dollars some of you have riding on the outcome.

Most county property owners get to choose three trustees for the Board of Trustees of McHenry County College. While MCC cost the owner of a $200,000 home who took the homestead exemption $166 last year, the college has faced a number of issues over the past several years, such as a revolving door of college presidents, board infighting, and a 9 percent tuition increase.

The following figures are based on 2009 property tax bills payable in 2010, because figures for property taxes payable this year are not yet available. They do not include taxing bodies not up for election Tuesday, such as townships, county government, and by default the McHenry County Conservation District.

City of McHenry

City residents who own a $200,000 home and take the homestead exemption last year paid $3,487 into the taxing bodies on Tuesday’s ballot.

They paid $984 into McHenry High School District 156, where nine candidates are running for three open seats. The district, facing budget problems caused in large part by deficit spending, also is asking voters to approve borrowing $8 million. The board unsuccessfully asked voters last November for an education fund tax rate increase.

The only other contested race on city ballots is MCC, although voters in the 6th Ward have a contested race for alderman. The city collected $327 last year from owners of $200,000 homes.

If approved Tuesday, the District 156 referendum will cost the owner of a $200,000 home an average of $146 more a year for three years. The city also is asking voters for permission to make the office of city treasurer appointed rather than elected.

Village of Cary

The owner of a $200,000 home who takes the homestead exemption paid $3,843 last year into the taxing bodies on Tuesday’s ballot.

The largest amount of it, $1,635, went to School District 26, which has a contested race with four candidates running for three seats. District 155, the second-highest body on the tax bill, is uncontested.

However, village voters have other contested races, such as the Cary Park District, into which the homeowner paid $324 last year. Seven candidates are running for the three open seats on the Cary Village Board, which accounts for $230 of the tax bill.

Races for the library and fire protection district are unopposed.

Village of Huntley

Most residents in village boundaries who own $200,000 homes paid $3,584 last year into the taxing bodies up for election.

Six candidates are running for three seats on the Huntley Village Board, which last year collected $249 from said homeowners. Aside from MCC, the other contested race is the Huntley Fire Protection District, which has seven candidates seeking two open seats. The owner of a $200,000 home last year paid $370 in property taxes for fire protection.

About 70 percent of the total, or $2,499, goes to Huntley School District 158, which has three candidates running unopposed for four-year terms and one unopposed candidate seeking a two-year unexpired term.

City of Woodstock

A Woodstock voter who lives in a $200,000 home and takes the homestead exemption has at least $4,229 riding on Tuesday’s election.

District 200 accounts for $2,903 of that, but the race is uncontested, with three incumbents running for three open seats. The Woodstock Fire-Rescue District, however, which accounts for $325 of the homeowner’s last bill, has four candidates running for two open seats.

After MCC, the next largest collector is city government, which collected $836 from the homeowner. Six city council candidates are running for three open seats.

Election Central 2011

Learn more about the races and candidates in Tuesday’s election at NWHerald.com/election.

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