• Tax Assessor’s letter to ACL residents

    To the Residents of Apple Canyon Lake,

    An equalization factor of 1.1530 has been applied to all the houses in Apple Canyon Lake based on the sales ratio study.  I felt that I should give you a detailed explanation of why this is happening.  Each year a sales ratio study is done by the Illinois Dept of Revenue on the sales that occurred in the prior year. A sales ratio study compares a sale price with the previous year’s assessed value on each sale that occurred. Those percentages are totaled, and the median is determined. That median is added with the two previous years’ median and an average is determined for the 3-year period. In this case, the three years would be 2015, 2016 and 2017. If that 3-year average is above or below 33.33% then either the Township Assessor or the Chief County Assessment Office will need to apply a factor or do a complete revaluation.

    Here are a few examples of sales that occurred in 2017:

    • 1 story frame home on 1 lot sold for $230,000. The assessed value for 2017 was $38,623 which is a market value of $115,869. The sales ratio is based on the 2016 assessed value which was $28,367 with a ratio of 12.33%.
    • 1 story frame home on 1 lot sold for $174,950. The assessed value for 2017 was $38,813 which is a market value of $116,439. The sales ratio is based on the 2016 assessed value which was $28,437 with a ratio of 16.25%.
    • 1 story frame home on 1 lot sold for $285,000. The assessed value for 2017 was $51,780 which is a market value of $155,340. The sales ratio is based on the 2016 assessed value which was $46,574 with a ratio of 16.34%.
    • 1 ½ story frame home on 1 lot sold for $187,500. The assessed value for 2017 was $45,661 which is a market value of $136,983. The sales ratio is based on the 2016 assessed value which was $33,375 with a ratio of 17.80%.
    • 1 story frame home on 1 lot sold for $178,500. The assessed value for 2017 was $44,322 which is a market value of $132,966. The sales ratio is based on the 2016 assessed value which was $32,410 with a ratio of 18.16%.
    • 1 ½ story frame home on 1 lot sold for $161,000. The assessed value for 2017 was $46,171 which is a market value of $138,513. The sales ratio is based on the 2016 assessed value which was $34,151 with a ratio of 21.21%.

    As you can see in the examples above, the houses are selling higher than the assessed values. The vacant lots are still selling low but the houses are rebounding. The Department of Revenue used 156 sales in Apple Canyon Lake that occurred in 2015, 2016, and 2017 in the sales ratio study. Of those 156 sales, 103 sales were assessed below the statutory 33.33% and 72 of those sales were house sales that were assessed below the 33.33% of market value.  In order to bring the sales ratio to 33.33%, a factor of 1.1530 has been applied to the house values in Apple Canyon Lake. A public notice of the equalization factor will be published in the October 17th edition of The Scoop, you will have 30 days to file a complaint with the Board of Review if you feel the value is incorrect. You will need to fill out a Board of Review complaint form and provide evidence to support your claim that you are over-assessed. My staff, the township assessor and the Board of Review will not discuss taxes or an individual tax bill. They will only discuss assessed values.  If you have any questions, please call the Chief County Assessment Office at 815-777-1016. My staff will gladly answer your questions to help you understand your new assessed value. 

    Please keep in mind, whether you are speaking to my staff, myself or the township assessor, please be courteous. We are all trying to do our job to the best of our ability. Our goal is not to raise taxes but to make sure that the tax burden is distributed evenly amongst all property owners based on what they own. We do not set tax rates. Tax rates are determined by the individual tax bodies and the amount of money they levy for. If you feel the tax rates are too high, you need to address that issue with taxing bodies when they are working on their budgets.

    Donna M. Berlage
    Chief County Assessment Officer
    Jo Daviess County

    Assessment notices have been published and can be found on the county website at www.jodaviess.org, and also in your local newspaper (list provided below).  Publication date is October 17, 2018, and the deadline to file a complaint on your assessment is November 16, 2018.

    Newspaper Listings

    The Scoop – Apple River, Berreman, Derinda, Pleasant Valley, Stockton, Thompson, and Wards Grove townships.

    Galena Gazette – Council Hill, Dunleith, East Galena, Elizabeth, Guilford, Hanover, Menominee, Rawlins, Rice, Scales Mound, Vinegar Hill, West Galena, and Woodbine townships.

    The Flash – Nora, Rush, and Warren townships.

    If you do not see your parcel listed, do not panic; this simply means that there was no change in your assessed value.

    There was a 1.1530 factor applied to all residential properties in Apple Canyon Lake in Thompson Township and a 1.0256 factor to residential property in West Galena Township. Thompson Township factor notice is published in the Scoop and the West Galena Township factor is published in the Galena Gazette. Since this was done at the Supervisor of Assessment Equalized Level, only the factor needs to be published, no physical notice will be mailed.

    The Quadrennial townships for 2018 are:  Elizabeth, Woodbine, Stockton, Hanover, Rice, Berreman, Derinda, Pleasant Valley and Wards Grove.  What does this mean?  It means that these townships were revalued as of January 1, 2018 using the last 3 years (2017, 2016, and 2015) of ARM’s Length Sales (good sales).

  • ACL Lots for Sale

    The lots listed below did not sell at the ACL Lot Auction and are available for purchase through the Association Office.

    See map

    View lot stats and tax information

    ACL Fees

    • $500 OBO includes all 2018 fees, PTAX & deed preparation, recording costs, and Real Estate Transfer Tax.

    Jo Daviess County Taxes

    • Outstanding and current taxes must be paid in full to Jo Daviess County.

    Available lots, as of 11/5/18

    1. 03-152 General Jackson Dr pending
    2. 05-074 Whispering Wind Dr
    3. 06-088 Appomattox Dr
    4. 07-156 Teepee Ct
    5. 07-205 Bison Ct
    6. 07-226 Fox Ct pending
    7. & 8. 08-029 and 08-030 E Apple Canyon Rd (combined with Jo Daviess County)
    8. See above
    9. 08-076 Constitution Dr
    10. 09-003 White Birch Ln
    11. 09-085 Evergreen Dr
    12. 11-242 Tee Ct
    13. 12-051 McKinley Ct 
    14. 12-173 Wilson Ct
    15. 13-057 Pioneer Dr
    16. 13-098 W Apple Canyon Rd
    17. 13-173 W Apple Canyon Rd
    18. 13-174 W Apple Canyon Rd

    Please contact Megan at officemanager@applecanyonlake.org with questions or for more information!

  • BOD’s Land Acquisition Statement

    In 2016, the Strategic/Long Range Planning Committee created our Plan on a Page to be used as a guideline for one- to five-year goals for the Association. Added to the list of One Year Action Plans was to study and assess the viability of land acquisition in the surrounding area; this dates back to the 2005 Comprehensive Master Plan. This action step has been on the Plan on a Page every year since.

    In 2017, one of the goals for General Manager Shaun Nordlie, determined by the Board of Directors, was to study and assess the viability of land acquisition in the surrounding area. Part of what Shaun did with this goal was to talk with a local realtor and ask to be alerted to any land going up for sale around ACL. When the realtor would alert Shaun, he would share this info with the Board so that the Board could discuss the land and be aware of what is on the market. There have been numerous pieces of land around ACL in the past that either sold prior to ACL learning they were for sale, or ACL not having the resources to purchase the land. This plan assures the Board of Directors would know about any land for sale and have the opportunity to discuss a purchase.

    The realtor notified Shaun of a piece of property for sale on the northeast side of the lake in December 2017. The Board discussed this property but decided it did not fit into our plans well enough to pursue a purchase.

    In July 2018, Shaun was notified about a piece of property at the corner of Lake Road #3 and Apple Canyon Lake Road. The property was 134 total acres and was broken up in two tracts– one just over 100 acres, stretching from Lake Road #3 to Schapville Road; the second was just under 34 acres at the corner of Schapville Road and Scout Camp Road. The land has a current ground contract , with two more years on the lease. The seller has moved to Florida and is starting to liquidate his Illinois assets and allowed the realtor to bring this property to ACL first before making the sale public. This information was shared with the Board at their July 21 meeting.

    In the next month, the GM was instructed to contact legal, banking, and owners in the farm community that can give us insight to the purchase.

    Shaun spoke to the Association’s legal counsel regarding the governing documents and CICAA to confirm that the Board of Directors could make this purchase legally. They confirmed that a purchase could be made by the Board of Directors.

    Shaun spoke to the Association’s banker regarding the possibility of using reserve funds, or financing if a purchase was made. Shaun was told that the rate on loan, at the time, was 5 percent. The banker also shared with Shaun some comparable farms that sold north of the lake and some news on commodities.

    Shaun then spoke to a local property owner with extensive agricultural experience regarding the price of the land, lease price, commodities and future leases. This owner gave Shaun information regarding the purchase price of the land and how it compared to all of Jo Daviess county and NW Illinois. The lease price was also comparable to Jo Daviess and northwest Illinois prices. Commodities prices on soy beans have fallen from $10 a bushel to $8.50 since the tariffs talks with China. So, this could affect future leases if prices did not go up, but it was felt that leasing the property would not be a problem in the future. The owner also knew the current tenants and discussed their practices and other farms that they leased in our area.  It was also discussed that if ACL passed, he thought the realtor would have multiple people that would pay the asking price immediately.

    Shaun then spoke to another property owner who owns farmland south of ACL. The owner told Shaun how much he paid for his land, how it was rated, and what he charged for rent. Jack said the asking price was fair for the land and the lease price was a very good deal for ACL.

    All of this information was shared with the Board at the August 18 BOD meeting.

    The board discussed the pros and cons of purchasing this land.

    Pros –

    • Control the use of the land – ACL already fought once to not have a prospective owner in the past put up condos, gas station and convenience store. If we own the land, we control what goes on the land.
    • The land is contiguous – it is not in the watershed, but it does bring in a lot of water to the golf course and to Hell’s Branch below the dam. To have the opportunity to purchase land that connects to ACL in this location is an opportunity that needs to be considered.
    • Return on Investment (ROI) – the money the lease brings in every year is a higher return on investment than what the money makes in the bank.
    • Future amenities can be considered at this location at some time. Just like the Lower 80 offers opportunity for expansion of amenities, this property will do the same.

    Cons –

    • Uncertainty in the commodities market – not sure about the price of soybeans or corn in the future with tariffs. Could bring in less lease money
    • The purchase would use reserve money, which would most likely delay CAMP or the next capital project.

    Based on these facts, the Board felt that they should pursue this purchase. At that time, it was decided that Shaun and Mike Harris would talk to the realtor about an offer and find out where he felt we could start with an initial offer; this meeting was on August 21. Mike and Shaun were told that the owner bought the land in 2014 and paid $7600/acre at the time. On August 22, Apple Canyon Lake made an initial offer of $7800 with the contingency that an accepted offer would have to be approved by the Board of Directors. The owner rejected our offer and stood by the original asking price of $8000/acre. We countered again with $7900 on August 28. The owner stood by his price of $8000/acre. But did say he would pro-rate the rent for the year, so if we close by October 1 we would receive a check for $10,500 or $3500/month depending on the closing cost, the owner gave us until September 16 to accept the offer.

    The Board of Directors felt that this purchase was important enough to possibly delay CAMP or another capital project. CAMP is delayed now with the soil boring results so 2020 would be the earliest that anything could start and that might be pushing it.

    The opportunity to own this land, when at one-point ACL had to fight to not have condos and retail space go up is something that needs to be considered.

    We do not have plans for this land at this time. We will continue to lease the land as farmland as we do the Lower 80. If the time comes that we want to develop this land for additional amenities it will be considered and planned, just like the Lower 80. There are no plans at all to add more lots at any time to ACL.

    This process was quick and not communicated to membership for a few reasons; the Board of Directors had to keep this quiet since we were given the first opportunity for this land and sharing that with the owners may have jeopardized the asking price or our purchase. We were also given a deadline by the owner to accept the offer, we could not spread this out further to hold discussion with membership.

  • Proposed 2019 Budgets presented for publishing

    By Shaun Nordlie
    General Manager, ACLPOA

    The 2018 budget season is finished, and the 2019 proposed budget is included in this month’s Apple Core. The big question every year is whether the annual assessments are going up the next year. The answer, for the first time in six years, is yes. The proposed increase in the annual assessments is $127.50, making the dues $977.50. So, why the increase in assessments, and for what is the additional money being used?

    The dues break down into the following assessments –

    Operating Account: $596.94

    Capital Account: $82.75

    R&R Account: $297.81

    The Operating Budget increased about 6 percent from 2018. Some of the increases in Operating include the proposed increase in water rates from USI, a new contract for trash removal and payroll. In 2018, we added a Natural Resource Manager position and in 2019 we plan to bring our accounting in-house. These two salaries are offset, partially, with the money we paid third parties for these services. The benefit to the Association to bring these positions in-house is that we will have a staff member concentrating on these efforts 40 hours per week, rather than one day per month, or when necessary.

    The R&R (Replacement and Renovation) account is used to fund our Reserve Study, which is our road-map for when items need to be replaced, or when facilities need to be renovated. The Reserve Study is a living document, so it is updated often. For instance, if the Reserve Study shows that we need to replace a truck in 2019, but the Manager of Building and Grounds thinks that the truck could last another year, we adjust the Reserve Study to reflect this. It also works the other way; if a freezer is not scheduled to be replaced until 2020, but is starting to need maintenance work, we will move the freezer up in the schedule to be replaced in 2019. For the 2019 budget, we are funding the R&R account $800,000. The R&R budget for 2019 is $516,400 in expenditures. The difference is making up for costs that the reserve study shows in the upcoming years. So, in 2020 when the Reserve Study shows higher expenses for R&R, we are starting to save now for those expenses.

    The Capital account is what we use for paying off capital, or large, long-term projects. It was used for the pool loan. In 2018 we finished paying for the pool. In 2019 we are putting money in the capital account to save for our next capital project. What is that project? It could be CAMP, the dam spillway, land acquisition, and/or increased amenities. The Strategic/Long Range Planning Committee is working on a 10-year plan for the future of Apple Canyon Lake. One comment I have heard from many owners in the past six months is that we should be saving some money before starting a new project. This is the start of our savings.

    I hope this helps explain the 2019 budget and the increase in dues. I understand that no one wants a dues increase, but I feel that the Budget Committee and Board of Directors is putting Apple Canyon Lake in good shape for the future with the ground work of this budget.

    I have also compiled a five-year history of the assessments, so you understand how the annual assessment breaks down into each fund.  

    History of annual assessment funds –

      2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
    Operating  $ 596.94 $561.40  $576.53  $617.19 $614.97
    Capital $82.75 $78.17  $82.77  $82.83 $83.05
    R&R $297.81  $210.43 $190.70 $149.98 $151.98 


    If you have any questions regarding the budget please contact me, I would be more than happy to discuss the budget and explain each fund for you.

    View 2019 Proposed R&R Budget

    View 2019 Proposed Fee Schedule

    View 2019 Proposed Operating Budget

    View 2019 Proposed AECC Fee Schedule

  • Join the ACL Heat Light Program

    Safeguard your home against frozen pipes this winter!

    Want to leave your lake house this winter with the peace of mind that nothing is going to go wrong? By joining the ACL Heat Light Program, you can do just that! This program monitors the temperature in your home while you’re away, ensuring that nothing will freeze or be damaged by the cold. Once you sign up, you will receive a strobe light and a temperature monitoring device. A member of the ACL Safety & Security staff will help set up the strobe light in a location where it will be seen from the road. Should the temperature inside your home drop below 45 degrees, the strobe will start flashing. If this happens, Security staff will access the home and determine the cause of the temperature drop. They will then take steps fix the issue, whether that be calling your designated furnace repair company or the propane company to fill your tank.

    To sign up, just provide the ACL Safety and Security Department with your name, address, phone number, propane supplier, furnace repair company, and a spare key to go in the lockbox.

    The initial set up fee is $250(includes all equipment), and then $100 each year after.
    Questions? Contact the ACL Safety & Security Department at (815) 492-2436 or security@applecanyonlake.org


  • Review the Rules & Regulations

    Before you or your guests venture out for a boat ride, take an UTV/ATV ride around the trails, etc., take the time to read over this document to make sure you are in compliance. These rules and regulations have been put in place by the Board of Directors to ensure the safety & well-being of all ACLPOA members. ACL’s Safety & Security Department staff are responsible for enforcing these rules & regulations; violation of any rule or regulation set forth by the Board is subject to a fine. Numerous citations have been issued this summer for failure to display a current year decal, operating a vehicle on the trails after 10 pm, operating on closed trails, and disobeying control devices (signs). 

    View the ACLPOA Rules and Regulations online; hard copies are available at the Association Office at no charge.

  • Visit DNR website for Watercraft Registration renewals

    The IDNR website is up and running for Watercraft Registration renewals. The renewal website is https://www.il.wildlifelicense.com/vehicle.php?action=vehiclelkup. Owners must print the watercraft renewal receipt and submit it to the office as evidence of registration. 


  • Update on Utilities Services, Inc. proposed rate hike
    By GM Shaun Nordlie
    Apple Canyon Lake will be joining other lake associations serviced by Utilities Services of Illinois, Inc.(USI) to hire an attorney and expert witnesses to fight the proposed increases for water meters and usage. The ACL Board of Directors has approved the use of up to $10,000 to fight these increases.
    We will work with the Illinois Attorney General, who has an expert accounting witness, and are considering hiring a utility engineer to argue the proposed list of capital improvements requested by USI.
    All owners with a house within the Association received a letter from USI in mid-December outlining the proposed increases. For a typical household, the monthly cost for the water meter will increase from $24.73 to $35.03 – a 41.6 percent increase. The water usage rate per 1,000 gallons will increase 43.4 percent from $5.71 to $8.19.
    In their letter, USI mentions they have spent over $3 million in capital improvements since 2015, and plan to spend an additional $14 million by the end of 2019 to improve water quality, lessen service disruptions due to main breaks, and reduce inflow and infiltration to wastewater treatment plants. The only upgrade planned at Apple Canyon Lake in the next two years replaces a Generator at the Well House for $55,000. The letter explains that all upgrades are consolidated, and all USI customers share the cost of upkeep and upgrades so that small stand-alone groups do not bear the cost of large capital expenditures.
    What does this mean for the Association? We will see increases at all our facilities in both usage and meter. Since we are considered commercial, we will pay the same as residential for meters, but our usage rate will go up 94 percent. Based on calculations of gallons used in 2017, ACL could see an increase of almost $20,000 in 2019.
    We will not fight the USI Availability fee. This is a fee that was established between the original developer and USI and is not a part of the argument against the proposed rate increases.
    USI is planning a community Utilities, Inc. Question and Answer Open House to be held at the ACL clubhouse on April 25 from 5 – 8 p.m.  In the meantime, if you have had any issues, or service concerns with USI, please let me know at shaun.nordlie@applecanyonlake.org or 815-492-2292.
    What  you can do in the meantime
    Members may file a comment with the Illinois Commerce Commission. The link to the ICC website is https://www.icc.illinois.gov/. From this page, find eDocket, type in 17-1106 (the case number for this rate increase). On the right side of the screen is a blue box, choose Public Comments and then File a Comment in the blue box at the top, left-hand side of the screen, and then Submit. 
  • Want fiber optic at the lake?

    Jo Carroll/Sand Prairie survey will assess area’s interest in fiber optic 

    Jo Carroll Energy and Sand Prairie are asking Jo Daviess County residents if there is a need for fiber optic service in their area, and have established a website where residents can express interest in bringing fiber optic to their community. With fiber optic, internet service would be greatly improved in Apple Canyon Lake.

    Please click on the link below and submit your Apple Canyon Lake address to show Jo Carroll that you are interested and want to be considered for fiber optic at Apple Canyon Lake.

    Email Jo Carroll

  • Not getting Apple Seed e-blasts?

    If you are not receiving the Apple Seed e-blasts, call the office at 815-492-2238 or email us to make sure we have your correct email address on file. 


  • Have you signed up for CodeRed?

    Jo Daviess County has implemented the CodeRED Emergency Communications Network, a reverse 911 system for anyone who signs up for alerts such as storm warnings, evacuation notices, missing person alerts, etc. Messages can come over your home or cell phone with a call or text message, or delivered as an email. ACL will also use this system to send alerts to our owners who sign up. We will send notices for amenity closings due to bad weather, when the lake is closed or at no-wake, etc. We can also communicate to specific sections of the lake; for instance, if the water company needs to shut down the water on the north end of the Association-we can send notices only to those affected. 
    Remember: USE YOUR ACL ADDRESS – EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE A LOT. It is important that you provide your ACL address so we can contact you with ACL-specific messages and alerts.

    If you have questions about CodeRed messages sent by Apple Canyon Lake, please call (815) 492-0090. Please DO NOT call the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department.

    Sign up for CodeRed here.