McHenry County Board to consider waiving late fees, penalties on second installment of property taxes

Proposal will be considered in Thursday finance and audit committee meeting

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McHenry County residents may not have to pay late fees and penalties if they need more time to pay the second installment of this year's property taxes.

A committee of the McHenry County Board will consider a resolution to waive the fees at its meeting Thursday.

The resolution, proposed by board member John Reinert, R-Crystal Lake, would waive late fees and penalties for property tax bills for a period of 45 days, meaning they would be due on Oct. 31, according to a Tuesday news release.

“My constituents are struggling due to lost wages and other difficulties tied to the COVID-19 response," Reinert said in the release. “Several of the people I represent asked if there is anything we can do as a board to help them as these tax payments come due."

"While we cannot waive or delay this second installment of property taxes, we can take steps to waive late fees and penalties," he said. "This will give taxpayers more time to send in that payment without fear of additional costs.”

State law allows the County Board to waive late fees for property taxes when the county has been declared a disaster area as it was when Gov. JB Pritzker issued a disaster declaration for the whole state because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The resolution was added to the agenda of Thursday morning's Finance and Audit Committee meeting by the committee's chairman, board member Michael Skala, R-Huntley. If the proposal is approved by the committee, it will go before the full County Board for a vote at their next meeting on Sept. 15.

The County Board passed an ordinance to waive late fees and interest for the first installment of property taxes back in April.

Board member Pamela Althoff, R-McHenry, said the need for relief is still present among her constituents.

"These residents want to do the right thing and pay their taxes, but they are looking for an expanded window of time in order to pull that money together," Althoff said in the release. "This is a good resolution and I hope it receives unanimous committee and board support.”

If the resolution is approved, residents who choose to use the extended window of time to pay their property tax bills may still receive a letter from the McHenry County Treasurer notifying them that they are past the due date, Skala said in the release.

The treasurer is required to send out this notice about the county's annual delinquent tax sale, but any residents who pay their property taxes in full by Nov. 1 will not receive any penalties, he said.

The Finance and Audit Committee will take place at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the county administration building at 2200 N. Seminary Ave. in Woodstock.