$2.75 Million Request for Valley HI Surfaces, Even Though $42 Million in Bank

This morning, the McHenry County Board’s Public Health and Human Services Committee considered a recommending that property owners be taxed $2.75 million for the Valley Hi Nursing Home next year.

That’s the amount in the budget document considered and passed on by the committee.

In the upper right hand corner of this page, one can see the $1.75 million tax hike budgeted for Valley Hi.

In the upper right hand corner of this page, one can see the $1.75 million tax hike budgeted for Valley Hi.

There is now almost $41.8 million in Valley Hi’s back accounts.

You may remember that Mike Walkup led the fight to zero out the recommended $3 million levy last year.

For details of the fight, read these articles:


$2.75 Million Request for Valley HI Surfaces, Even Though $42 Million in Bank — 17 Comments

  1. This could be a positive for taxpayers who feel government shouldn’t be in the nursing home business.

    This is a no win situation for board members in their run against Franks and Democrats this fall.

    Vote yes and raise taxes.

    Vote no to any levy and those Valley Hi cheerleaders will hate you.

    We will see who the true tax cutters are.

  2. This was not Mike walkup’s initiative, but of coarse he’s going to take credit for it.

    I’m not a big fan of chuck wheeler but he is the one who brought this idea forward Not walkup.

  3. stand4truth do your research. Wheeler brought it up in 2015.

    Walkup brought up the surplus when he was on the Valley Hi Commitee prior to Wheeler’s election to the board.

    Walkup was taken off the VH Committe after the 2014 elections because he was vocal about his opposition to the excess fund balance.

    Cutting the VH levy only passed now because reformers have been elected and will continue to get elected.

    Why do you think all the talk of cutting the size of the county board is going on and why it’s on the ballot?

    Administration is having a hard time controlling the board and getting projects passed in committee.

    Cutting the board size and changing the structure will allow them to control the game again.

    Cutting the board size was never, and will never be about saving taxpayer money in salaries.

    It’s about easier control.

  4. According to Andrew Gasser’s blog, the entire budget of Valley Hi is around 14 million.

    If they want to reduce the surplus funds, they could massively cut the budget.

    They could even afford to give it nothing, and after this year they’d still have about 28 million leftover. http://andrewgasser.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Transmittal-letter-11.19.14ras.pdf

    If they cut the levy for it last year and now have more money in reserves than they had last year, doesn’t that tell you that they can afford to cut even more?

  5. Northwest Herald

    McHenry County’s Valley Hi capital plan not a plan to spend down reserve, administrator says

    April 26, 2016

    By Kevin Craver

    “The Operating Board, which itself came out of the reforms, has said that a reserve of $16 million would be sufficient.

    Because of the tax cap, the County Board will have to reinstate the $3 million levy next fiscal year or lose it, requiring a voter referendum to reinstate it.”



    FY 2016, no tax levy for Valley Hi.

    FY 2017, proposed $2.75M tax levy for Valley Hi.


    To understand how Valley Hi fits within the County, the County has the following fund categories in its budget (there are additional sub-categories):

    General Fund – Major

    Mental Health Fund – Major

    Valley Hi Enterprise Fund – Major

    E-911 Enterprise Fund – Non-Major

    Debt Service Funds

    Division of Transportation Funds

    Other Non-Major Funds


    6 selected notes about Valley Hi from the August 10, 2016 McHenry County meeting agenda packet for the Public Health & Human Services committee:



    FY 2017 budget contains a line item of $1,806,542 for “Fund Balance Enhancement” in “Expenditures” “Object Level 1 Description”.

    “Fund Balance Enhancement” recent history:

    FY 2016 – $0 Appropriated

    FY 2015 – $0 Actual

    FY 2014 – $0 Actual

    FY 2013 – $0 Actual



    Valley Hi is recommending the hire of 2 more FTE’s next year.



    “Mr. Sarbaugh informed the committee members the MHB (Mental Health Board) has been affected by the decision of the County to not take the Valley Hi Levy in the 2016 budget.”



    “The earliest they can pay off their bonds, without penalty, is 2018.

    The funds would come from Contractual Services (fund).”



    “Human Resources works diligently to come up with changes to the Health Insurance program.

    They were previously told to expect a 11.5% increase in these rates.

    They have recently been informed they don’t expect the increase to be so high though these costs are unknown at this time.”



    “Valley Hi will be using nursing agency staffing in a targeted and deliberate manner, focusing on the night shift, until the facility is able to recruit nurses.

    The use of agency staffing will only be done for shifts in which Valley Hi has not been able to fill with its own staff and would result in the subsequent reduction in the labor cost budget line.”

  6. Joe,

    Valley Hi used to levy $6M, more recently $3m, and last year $0.

    The other money VH pulls in is from (taxpayer funded) Medicaid reimbursements.

    VH cannot cut property tax levy any further, but the board can increase your taxes by voting yes to the proposal.

    It’s time to get out of the nursing home business!

  7. A small error in some dates listed for the links.

    During his interview with WGN, the little ‘gimmick’ stated that Valley Hi was for the indigent.

    I do not see where the money is coming from for costs incurred serving the indigent.

  8. I’m curious as to how Interest Income for 2017 more than doubles from about $80,000/year to $175,000?

    Do they expect next year’s interest rate environment to dramatically improve over current rates?

    Or is the $40+ million in Cash being invested differently?

    Was there a rationale provided as to why a $1.8 million “Fund Balance Enhancement” is required?

  9. Valley Hi was developed to serve those in need- it doesn’t-

    it is a government run entity that directly competes with for profit companies.

    Their census count has been suspect for years.

  10. Sell It.

    FYI- It’s NOT EXCLUSIVE to McHenry County residents who fund it.

  11. Coffey,

    The interest has grown after candidates in the primary pushed for better investment of the excess surplus money.

    Some felt interest could sustain Valley Hi so the levy could be reduced to 0 permanently.

    The Tresurer has increased investment amounts slightly, but the CDs now are earning more than the .25% they were earning previously.



  12. Last year VH interest earnings on $40 million about $75,000 and next year projected to be $175,000.

    That is interest rates .001875% and .004375%.

    There are many CDs offered online (FDIC insured up to $250,000 each) at interest rates 1.35%-1.75% for 2-5 year terms.

    CD s can be cashed in early with only accrued interest lost.
    This compares favorably to uninsured cash earning .001875%.

    Valley Hi Board members,County Administrators, and County Board members (notably McCann) have refused to answer why Valley Hi Fund needed to keep $40+ million cash at rapid access status all these years.

  13. Thanks Susan for doing the math
    On the interest rate.

    That’s a PITIFUL return.

    No reasons or EXCUSES given for
    Why they only used county banks
    For the CDs.

    Seems like another ISSUE to me.

    Again don’t understand why they
    Are talking about new roof & floors
    At this point, with a 7 year old building.

    County administrator, Peter Austin’s
    BIG SPENDER comments on using
    Money for frivolous other things like the gazebo concern me.

    Doing a good job with managing Valley
    Hi is appreciated, but isn’t a mandate
    To OVERANTICIPATE future or frivolous
    Expenditures with TAXPAYER MONEY.

  14. For more information DO READ
    A previous thread
    ‘Valley Hi WISH LIST’
    From 4-25-16

    Wasn’t that long ago SOME
    BIG SPENDERS spent taxpayer
    Money on s consultant to come
    Up with this possible spending

  15. One example from Valley Hi wish list I find particularly galling:

    $25,000 for Artwork to hang on walls.

    There are two floors approximately 3 hallways of rooms each, approximately 12 hung pictures each.

    Many wall hangings are newsletters, resident photos, resident-mad arts-and-crafts, and seasonal decorations.

    Many residents/residents’ families would LOVE to donate wall art from home.

    Many local artists would probably also donate for the exposure.

    MCC art classes could probably supply art for the walls.

    This is uncomfortably close to another public agency’s scandalous use of public funds for Art:


    The Veterans Association spent $20 million on expensive Art, so an Illinois military mother organized a collection of donated Veterans’ artwork which the VA could display at its offices instead.

    VH seems to be trying to indicate a quantum leap in expenses to justify renewing the $3 mil levy.

    According to a report prepared for VH by McHenry County Administration, VH will be operating at a more than $7 million a year deficit within a dozen years.

    This number is significant because the legal levy (.10% of EAV) will be below $7 mil unless TAXABLE McHenry County real estate valuation halts its relentless march lower.

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