Kelly Liebmann, an Unsuccessful candidate for a Republican nomination for County Board in District 6, spoke in favor of deep-sixing the tax for the Valley Hi Nursing Home last night.
Here’s what she said:I’m addressing you today because I believe the Valley Hi tax levy needs to be abolished.
I moved to Wonder Lake in 2004, and like many current McHenry County residents, never voted to fund Valley Hi.
I’m certain that a slew of residents who voted in favor of the taxpayer funded nursing home in 2002 have left the state seeking jobs or retirement and lower taxes.
I did a bit of research on the Valley Hi tax levy’s history.
The 2002 referendum that was passed read as follows:
Shall McHenry County be authorized to levy and collect a tax at a rate not to exceed 1% for the purpose of building, maintaining and operating a county nursing home?
It was reported the referendum was “asking voters to approve a $3 million dollar property tax increase; half would cover the annual debt service for building a more cost-efficient and slightly larger nursing home, while the remaining funds would fill the operating costs gap.”
In 2002, Valley Hi’s administrator, Timothy Wenberg, claimed that a new building would allow the county to cut staff and save money.
At that time Valley Hi had a budget of $5.6 million dollars.
Fast forward to today—the current annual budget for Valley Hi is over double that amount at $11.5 million dollars.
This leaves me wondering–how has the County done saving money on Valley Hi?
Well, the County has “saved” $40 million dollars in additional taxes from residents.
Poor government administration and complacent elected officials have created the glut in Valley Hi’s reserves greater than fifty percent of McHenry County’s total property tax levy of $79 million dollars.
In these still weak economic times, Valley Hi has become a burden on taxpayers and has not produced the 2002 cost-saving results residents would have expected.
A 2002 Daily Herald headline read
“Valley Hi struggles as state delays payments.”
The argument of supporters today is the same as it was in 2002—the levy is crucial because Medicaid payments were cut because of the state’s budget problems.
Echoing the same fear mongering as 14 years ago.
It is time to abolish the Valley Hi tax levy completely.