McHenry officials discuss energy-efficiency improvements across city

The McHenry City Council is in the process of determining whether to make energy-efficient improvements to save money on its capital infrastructure plans.

The city is considering working with Hoffman Estates-based Leopardo Companies Inc. to implement a new strategy.

“The city of McHenry is facing a significant financial dilemma regarding its ability to fund future capital improvements,” City Administrator Derik Morefield said in a memo to the council. “Despite steadily increasing revenues from sales and income tax, increases to operating costs, along with maintaining level property tax revenues, have resulted in the city having insufficient funds to meet capital needs.”

The plan could include converting McHenry’s 400 street and parking lights to LED; upgrading aging heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to high-efficiency models; and using an open-ended lease plan for city vehicles as opposed to buying new ones outright, according to city documents.

Leopardo Companies also made recommendations for a roof replacement at City Hall, new window installations and construction of a salt dome at the Public Works facility, according to city documents.

The city also could install a solar farm on its property to save on electricity costs and earn revenue from leasing its land to a solar company, according to city documents.

Last week, officials also set the city's tax levy at $4.6 million, maintaining a flat amount compared with last year.

The city’s portion of what homeowners pay in property taxes makes up a little more than 6 percent, with the remainder going toward other taxing bodies such as the county, local school districts, McHenry County College, the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, the McHenry County Conservation District, McHenry Township and the McHenry Public Library District.