County Board Approves 90-Day Waiver of Late Fees for Property Taxes
WOODSTOCK, Ill. – The McHenry County Board voted this evening to waive late fees and interest for 90 days on the first installment of this year’s property tax bills to help homeowners and businesses deal with the financial burden of the coronavirus pandemic.
County Board members met remotely Tuesday evening to approve an ordinance giving taxpayers until Sept. 15 – 90 days after the June 15 due date – to pay their first installment without penalty. The measure is one of several that will be unveiled in the coming days to help residents and business owners who are struggling as a result of COVID-19, County Board Chairman Jack Franks, D-Marengo, said.
“The stay-at-home order put in place by Governor Pritzker was a wise and necessary measure to save lives and prevent our hospitals, and our heroic health-care workers, from being overwhelmed. Unfortunately, it brings with it an unimaginable cost in the form of lost jobs, lost wages and lost revenues. The federal and state government are going to be the main drivers when it comes to relief, but McHenry County is going to actively pursue whatever measures it can to help."
The ordinance also extends the deadline that senior citizens have to apply for the senior freeze property tax exemption to September 15.
The ordinance only delays late fees on the first installment, and does not apply to taxpayers whose installments are paid through escrow. If the 90-day deadline is missed, the late fees and interest will be reinstated and applied retroactively.
Franks urged people who have the financial means to pay their first installment on time to do so.
“McHenry County’s property taxes, while onerous and burdensome, fund our schools, our first responders, our roads, our libraries, and the many other services that people rely on. It would help them immensely if people who are not in financial distress pay their taxes on time,” Franks said.
The County Board has decreased its tax levy by more than $28 million over the past three fiscal years, and voted when it approved the current 2020 budget to make the cuts permanent. Last year, the county rebated more than $8.2 million from the Valley Hi Nursing Home’s fund surplus back to qualifying homeowners while leaving the home with a very comfortable reserve. County government makes up about 10 percent of a taxpayer’s bill – the county has no authority to force other local governments to lower their tax bills.
The County has set up a resource page at www.mchenrycountyil.gov/covid19resources for community members, businesses and nonprofits needing help as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family against coronavirus, visit the Department of Health’s website at www.mcdh.info, and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
The Illinois Department of Public Health also has set up a toll-free hotline at 800-889-3931 to address questions or concerns you may have.