Ken Koehler Doesn’t Like Being Reminded of Ginormous Valley Hi Surplus

Let’s say you’re running a local governmental entity that is an enterprise fund.

In other words, it’s supposed to break even.

It’s supposed to bring in enough money in taxes and fees to prevent its needing a subsidy from another part of local government.

Let’s say the annual expenditures are $11 million, up from $10 million.

Some of your money you get from state government in the form of Medicaid reimbursements.

The state of Illinois finances.

The state of Illinois finances under House Speaker Mike Madigan’s leadership.

You’re justifiably concerned of cutbacks in this state the Democrats have have allowed to go down the drain.

So, you decided to keep $11 million in the bank just in case you need it.

Pretending that not one dollar in fees will be received.

You’ve got a big complex that will need maintenance and repair.

So, put another $5 million in the bank to cover that.

Going to need a new roof at some point.

The parking lot might need re-paving.

You get the picture.

That’s $16 million you argue you ought to be able to set aside.

But, you’ve got this public relations problem.

Valley Hi Cash on hand 2006-13

If this chart were updated for FY 2014, the right hand column would show $39.38 million.

At the end of last month, there was $39,985,721.01 available, according to the County Treasurer’s web site (see fund 350).

Let’s round it off to $39,985,721.

Last year at the end of April, the balance was $34,616,857 (figure from the County Treasurer’s web site, rounding up already).

Valley Hi

Valley Hi Nursing Home

That was before any property taxes were collected.

$4,500,017.20 was billed in 2014.

Add that $4.5 million (almost all taxes billed are collected) to the $34.6 million in the bank at the end of April, 2014, and what do you get?

In round numbers, it’s $40.1 million.

That’s really close to the almost $40 million in the bank at the end of last month.

That means the enterprise fund is breaking even.

So, how much money did the governing board, in this case the McHenry County Board, bill us this spring?

$3 million, the County Clerk’s web site says.

The money was levied because taking the tax levy down to zero would mean the County Board could not ask for more money next year without the passage of another referendum.

And, they are pretty sure that a new referendum would not pass.

Why this explanation of the financial condition of the McHenry County Nursing Home, called Valley Hi?

Ken Koehler

Ken Koehler

Because today, according to an article in the Northwest Herald by Kevin Craver, County Board member Ken Koehler seemed to be defending having almost $40 million in the bank.

Valley Hi is supposed to take care of those who can’t pay their own way, Koehler argued.

It’s to be spent on the indigent.

Shouldn’t cut the surplus.

That would be “kowtowing to the local blogger or a very uninformed newspaper.”

Or, one might say,

“That might be acting as a responsible representative of the taxpayers.”

The total amount in property taxes McHenry County government billed homeowners, farmers and businesses this year was $78,966,290.31.

While sitting on almost $40 million million in Valley Hi’s bank account.

$24 million \in surplus about which there seems to be no attempt to defend.

Let me note that that the surplus can’t be transferred to the County’s General Fund the way the General Assembly just transferred earmarked money–$400 million from the Road Fund to welfare and education, for example.


Ken Koehler Doesn’t Like Being Reminded of Ginormous Valley Hi Surplus — 18 Comments

  1. Proving once again, that just because you claim to be a “Republican” doesn’t mean you can’t tow the line for Progressivism.

  2. According to 2014 budget, Valley Hi revenues were about even with expenditures($200,000 profit).

    Revenues included $4.5 million property taxes.

    Expenditures included $3,875,412 labelled “Fund Balance Enhancement”.

    The actual operating budget seems to be around $10 million.

    Interest income was listed as $100,100.

    If there was $36 million dollars earning that interest, then the interest rate had to have been .00277 %

    Ten year t bill to rates in 2014 ranged between 2%-3%.

    Valley Hi excess funds apparently earned one tenth of that rate?

    For all the years the surplus was accruing?

    Valley Hi Board commissioned a $23,000 consultant study to identify expansion opportunities , on which they may spend the surplus millions.

  3. Admission, Discharge, and Daily Census figures reported on 2014 budget seem to indicate that supply of beds was never exceeded by demand, and census stayed below capacity.

    Has anyone claimed there is a shortage of beds in the County?

    Has there been any incident of a Medicaid patient failing to find placement?

    Valley Hi cannot refuse admission to applicants, whether McHenry County residents or not.

    There is no preference or wait list given to McHenry County residents who support this County Home with tax dollars.

    Therefore, the indigent of McHenry County are not protected by funding this County Nursing Home.

    Could the surplus be converted to a fund ( earning proper interest) which could offer an enhancement payment for McHenry County indigent Medicaid patients’ admission to private facilities?

  4. Last time I checked, NO poor person (even those here illegally) pays for medical care, period.

    I frequently hear “we need to get with the times” from politicians.

    We “need to get with the times” and get the taxpayers off the hook for Valley Hi – SELL IT!

    As Susan states:

    “Valley Hi cannot refuse admission to applicants, whether McHenry County residents or not. There is no preference or wait list given to McHenry County residents who support this County Home with tax dollars.”

    Why was this not mentioned in the NWH article?

    Koehler’s comment in the NWH:

    “Ken Koehler, R-Crystal Lake, said at Monday’s meeting that the county should focus on Valley Hi’s mission to take care of the less-fortunate, rather than demanding Valley Hi budget surpluses,”

    is disingenuous, bordering on a flat out lie!

    Valley Hi has NOTHING to do with the financially less fortunate!!

  5. Having served on the Operating Board at Valley High for two years, and no longer being on it, I can offer a couple of observations.

    (1) Tom Annarella is one of the most competent people we have in the entire county government and is largely responsible for the current good health of the facility. His knowledge of the complicated and Byzantine reimbursement and regulatory environment in which nursing homes operate is impressive.

    (2) The Operating Board, although all very nice people, are not at all inquiring when it comes to the meetings which consist mostly of everyone sitting quietly and listening to two or more hours of reports and explanations from Tom, and not asking many questions, and voting “aye” unanimously. I had been pressing for a special meeting of the PHHS Committee and the Operating Board to discuss the surplus issue toward the end of my term.

    (3) Very few people apply for positions on the Operating Board when terms of current members expire. I was on the committee that made those appointments and I don’t recall ever having had anyone to choose from other than current members seeking reappointment.

    (4) Very few members of the public attend meetings of the VH Operating Board and those that do are usually relatives of current residents who have complaints about various minor incidents involving their family member which they don’t think were properly handled. (Care is generally very good but staff can’t be everywhere all the time). I only recall one meeting when anyone from the public who had concerns about the fund balance were present and they didn’t follow up in subsequent meetings.

    People who have concerns about the way the VH Operating Board is functioning need to

    (a) go to the meetings which are held in the evenings at VH and

    (b) apply to be on the Board when openings arise.

    The functioning of the nursing home is excellent from what I was able to observe.

    It is the fund balance that is the problem.

    We are a victim here of our own success in that regard.

    The current County Board committee which will be making appointments to VHOB does not have the composition of the previous committee on which I served.

    Donna Kurtz was taken off as Chair, John Hammerand and I were removed, and Sandy Salgado is no longer on the County Board.

    Mr. Koehler replaced me on the Operating Board (even though he is not on the PHHS Committee contrary to the previous practice), and I am now on the VH Cemetery Board instead.

    The current PHHS Committee consists of McCann (Chair), Kopsell, Miller, Rein, Smith, Kurtz and Wheeler.

    You can read whatever you want from those tea leaves.

    Enjoy your tea.

  6. In the primary election of 2014, only Candidate David Stieper raised Valley Hi’s accumulation of cash as an issue!

    The rest of the “conservative” candidates remained silent – none of them wanted to touch it!

    Sure, easy to talk about saving the taxpayer money, but when it comes to the hard issues, their courage and resolve disappear.

  7. Thank you Mr. Walkup for reinforcing my point that we must sell Valley Hi to the highest bidder and get out of the nursing home business.

    County government should not be in this business since we have socialized all medical business for what Koehler ignorantly calls the indigent.

    Having spent a significant amount of time within the facility I can vouch for Mr. Walkup’s opinion of Mr. Annarella – the patients are very fortunate to have him as the facility manager.

  8. Mr. Annarella is excellent in every category of performance and conduct and ethical standard and heart, in my experience as well.

  9. I miss the good old days when county leadership was pushing the idea that I fabricated a brain cancer cluster to sell newspapers.

    “Uninformed” just doesn’t have the same ring.

  10. Maybe KK wants Valley Hi to have money in the bank so they can buy land that he just happens to own…

  11. Too funny, Kevin.

    Even back when my father was on the County Board in the 1980’s he told me he has been informed that the plant was one of the most polluted sites in McHenry County.

    That and the railroad tracks, which were sprayed with something akin to Agent Orange.

  12. Cal: Its nice to know that Kevin Craver not only gets his news from you but now he’s commenting demonstrating that he isn’t an unbiased news outlet.

    You keep publishing your blog.

    Maybe Kevin could see to it you get hired to cover local politics for the NWH.

    You do a way better job than the NWH.

    How much for your soul?

  13. I personally believe that Valley Hi has been positioned for sale- and that they have not necessarily been playing by the rules when it comes to their census count.

    They compete with non government facilities for private pay and private insurance – which was never the intention.

    I agree-= sell it and move on.

  14. If Valley Hi were sold, I wonder if the resulting surplus could be used to cut property taxes…as I believe the sale of Woodstock’s electric plant was.

  15. Cal, only if the taxpayers can fill the Board room and demand it meeting after meeting after meeting.

  16. It might go to fill the coffers of whatever private group agrees to take it over.

    That would make it more marketable.

    Query if that is the purpose.

  17. Am I missing something about $100,000 interest earned on a $36 million balance being oddly low?

    Is there interest being paid into some other VH fund that doesn’t show up on Valley Hi Budget Report 2014?

    (Even in zero interest rate environment, long term holdings should earn more than .0027%, no?)

  18. Did Tom pay all of you to write nice things about him !?

    Im a worker at Valley Hi, and let me say he is rude, disrespectful to ALL his workers and probably doesnt even know about 4 residents names !

    Very uncaring about the residents and employees !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *