In the Committee of the Whole Meeting of the McHenry County Board Thursday, I was astounded at a statement that Finance Committee Chairman Mike Skala made.
He said there “has to be statutes saying we can’t do it, a statute, then we can do it.”
It’s at 1:16 on the tape.
Skala was referring to taking part of the huge Valley Hi Nursing Home surplus (still approaching $40 million), accumulated by overtaxation by prior Boards, to lower taxes next year.
For those who do not know what Dillon’s Rule is, I encourage you to take a look at one or more of the items listed on Google.
In short, it says just the opposite of what Skala said.
A non-Home Rule unit cannot do anything that is not specifically allowed by state law.
A Home Rule unit–like Woodstock, Lake in the Hills, Barrington Hills, Huntley or Crystal Lake–can do anything not prohibited by state law.
McHenry County is not a Home Rule Unit.
Chairman Jack Franks points to this sentence from 55 ILCS 5/5-2001:
“Provided, any surplus that may remain after the payment of all demands against said fund, may be used for other purposes.”
This is in a section referring to a referendum allowing a government to exceed the Tax Cap, if I read it correctly.
That there was no authority to pull money out of the nursing home fund was recognized by the County Board a couple of years ago when such a request was put in the County Board’s legislative package.
Perhaps one or more of the attorneys who read McHenry County Blog will provide input.