At the beginning of Thursday’s McHenry County Finance and Audit Committee McHenry County Board Chairman candidate Mike Walkup called for the abolition of the property tax levied for the Valley Hi Nursing Home.
He pointed out that the nursing home usually breaks even, but its bank account has $41.7 million.
Next there was a long meeting.
At the end members get a chance to make comments.
Mary McCann, who chairs the Public Health and Human Resources Committee, said she had read allegations that veterans were been turned out of Valley Hi, a falsehood.
She said that Valley Hi Administrator Tom Annarella had reported that this year his operation would be in the red, but next year “we’ll be in the black.”
Chuck Wheeler asked for past memos on privatizing the nursing home, emphasizing that he was not talking about shutting it down.
Yvonne Barnes was up next.
She asked for a presentation before the committee on the Valley Hi levy.
She said she wanted to learn “the consequences of our actions.”
Barnes referred specifically to the use of Valley Hi funds for “other things.”
There has been talk of surplus borrowing money from the fund to finance capital projects, rather than issuing bonds.
“The Valley Hi levy is a topic of conversation right now,” she said.
Barnes wanted to get “truth” out in the public, rather than “people making up their own stories.”
“Michael Walkup made his comments today.
“It’s a very important topic to all of us.
“We need to know the facts and get the information out to the public,” she concluded.
Chairman Mike Skala seemed to agree that such a meeting would be worthwhile.
Reflecting on Walkup’s statement, McCann observed,
“I would say he doesn’t understand it.”
Barnes’ rejoinder was,
“I think he does and he knows what he is talking about.”
Barnes pointed out that Walkup was not talking about giving the surplus back to taxpayers, but “just not taking [more] from the taxpayers.”
She said the discussion she was hearing was “full of loud people just stating inaccuracies. We need to be proactive in stopping that.”
McCann said she thought “a lot of this loud talk comes down to loud talk about not trusting elected officials and they themselves are elected officials.
“How do we [develop] trust?” she asked.
Barnes pointed out that if the County Board is collecting money for Valley Hi and then using it for something else, “that is misleading to the public.”
A person just told her, “I just heard you just stopped giving services to all the Veterans in the county.”
“It’s not true,” McCann said, referring to a letter to the editor.