Most Think County Board Should Tax Less for Nursing Home – 42% Say No Tax

Results from poll asking how much the McHenry County Board should ask in taxes for the county nursing home (Valley Hi).

Results from poll asking how much the McHenry County Board should ask in taxes for the county nursing home (Valley Hi).

McHenry County has a nursing home called Valley Hi.

It has a huge surplus.

Over $40 million.  ($40.8 million at the end of July; $37.8 million at the end of August, 2014.)

The annual budget is $10-11 million and the operation is so efficient that it pretty much breaks even.

Yet. the McHenry County Board keeps levying more and more taxes.

McHenry County Blog decided to ask Republicans their opinions on the level of taxation for the nursing home.

Below is the question:

Question 7: McHenry County has a nursing home with over $40 million in the bank, yet the County Board is thinking about taxing $3 million more next year.  The annual budget is $10-11 million and nearly breaks even.  If the County does not collect the $3 million next year, it can never collect it again. Which of the following choices best represents your opinion?

PRESS 1 if you believe we should collect $3 million more in taxes.

PRESS 2 if you believe we should collect nothing for the nursing home next year.

PRESS 3 if you believe we should do something in between.

PRESS 4 if you are undecided

The results, as you can see above, show that almost 42% of respondents think the County should not tax one dime next year.

Only 11.3% think the County Board should tax as much as it taxed last year–$3 million.

Another 17.8% believe the County Board should extract something between nothing and $3 million.

It’s a complicated issue, so it’s not too surprising that 29.1% are undecided.

The issue is driven not by need for the tax dollars.

With $40 million in the bank and a budget that pretty much breaks even, figure out how many years it would take to spend down to one year’s expenditures on $10-11 million.

The problem is that, under the Tax Cap, once a tax levy is reduced, it cannot be raised unless the voters approve such an increase by referendum.

Clearly, a majority of the County Board in recent years do not believe they can convince voters to pass a referendum some years from now when the surplus might be depleted.

If you would like to express your opinion on this subject, you should first call the members of the Finance Committee (which are no longer listed in the County Clerk’s Yearbook):

  • Mike Skala, Chmn – 847-669-3804 or 847-417-4323
  • Jim Heisler, VC – 815-459-1971 or 815-459-0171
  • Yvonne Barnes – 847-516-2719
  • Mary McCann – 815-568-1961 or 815-245-9282
  • Nick Provenzano – 815-355-8540
  • Larry Smith – 815-353-8043
  • Chuck Wheeler – 847-354-3693 or 815-307-8525

All of the County Board members’ phone numbers can be found here.

If you would like more information on Valley Hi, it can be found in the articles below:

9-6-15 Valley Hi’s Future

9-5-15 Valley Hi Annual Report

8-27-15 County Set to Continue Valley Hi Overtaxing

It should also be noted that the County Board put out three calls for applicants to serve on the Valley Hi Operating Board. Apparently the one of the applicants was not deemed to be willing to go along with those who wish to continue levying taxes that are not needed in the foreseeable future, so someone else had to be convinced to apply. And was selected.

= = = = =
647 replies are included in the poll, meaning 534 favored the County Board’s putting the question on the ballot.

It has a 3.81% margin of error at a 95% confidence interval with 647 respondents and was modeled to likely voter demographics.

If you would like to read the poll results of the McHenry County Blog township consolidation question, you can find the articles below:

9-11-15 Voters Want Township Consolidation on the Ballot: 80%-20%


Most Think County Board Should Tax Less for Nursing Home – 42% Say No Tax — 13 Comments

  1. And there is serious consideration to place on the ballot for 2016 a question relative to consolidating Townships which is guaranteed to further increase property taxes?

  2. There is no scenario short of Zombie Apocalypse which would involve McHenry County taxpayers paying the entire operating budget of Valley Hi for any extended period.

    Because, if Medicare and Medicaid are not paying reimbursement to VH, neither are they paying doctors, hospitals and other (private) nursing homes.

    The most likely downside bound is $3 million, which would occur only if VH operates at 100% census a full 365 day year, and is reimbursed ONLY the Medicaid per diem rate.

    So I would offer two alternatives:

    rebate the $40 million surplus to taxpayers, and continue a $3 million levy,


    cut levy to zero and spend down the $40 million.

    It is still troubling that the $40 million is in a checking account earning bupkes and not insured over FDIC limits (so at risk of bank failure).


    Under what possible circumstances would VH need RAPID access to the whole $40 million at once?

    It seems the surplus could be loaned to a different fund via bond issue cross, earning a good deal for taxpayers on both sides of transaction.

  3. Rebate the $40 million to each taxpayer and be out of the nursing home business by 2017.

  4. Taxpayers should be given a rebate on taxes for districts that have an overage of money.

    In McHenry taxes skyrocketed in 2002 when they were trying for home rule.

    My backyard taxes which they call vacant land went up 300% in one year.

    They said because it was so valuable.

    That is ridiculous.

    If it were that valuable I would sell it.

  5. How many township officials and other local politicians have their parents set up quite nicely in Valley “HI”????

    Funny, when you look at the registered voters in Alden Township, where Valley “HI” is located ….you’d find scads! ….

    but then look at the Alzheimer’s, dementia and other severely neurologically incapacitated patients there …. yet they all vote …

    How interesting!!!!!

  6. OldManWinter: Cal corrected part of your rant and I will correct another.

    I have been an election judge at Valley Hi for at least ten years and can tell you confidently that for the most part the Valley Hi residents who do vote (generally ten to twenty) are probably more politically literate than many who post on this blog.

  7. Valley Hi has been used by local politicians to provide high quality, taxpayer funded nursing home services to the politically advantaged.

    If you look at the huge number of relatives of County politicians who live and have lived there, you can see why.

    I know of one instance where a county board member had moved his mother-in-law(a life long Chicag resident) into their house for the six month waited period and then used his political pull to get her into Valley Hi.

    This is a story that has been repeated often, and the property taxpayers’ expense.

  8. I though Valley Hi was supposed to be for the indigent.

    Tell me, how many medicaid beds are in the facility?

  9. 128 beds, 80 Medicaid 20 Medicare 20 private pay.

    Valley Hi must accept applicants from outside Mchenry County, it cannot discriminate by residency because it accepts State and federal funds.

    Medicaid has loopholes in means-testing. See website for assets which may be sheltered from seizure.

  10. Centegra has announced plans to build 98 bed luxury accommodation nursing home in Mchenry.

    Presumably this facility will be sent all Medicare/private pay/post surgical rehab transfers from Centegra hospitals.

    Valley Hi may then expect an increase in Medicaid referrals from Centegra.

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