Finance Reverses Course, Cuts Valley Hi Levy by $750,000

The front of the campaign piece used by District 4 Republican candidates for County Board last year says they will cut taxes and spending. If this budget passes as proposed, they will have fulfilled that pledge.

The front of the campaign piece used by District 4 Republican candidates for County Board last year says they will cut taxes and spending. If this budget passes as proposed, they will have fulfilled that pledge.

What a difference five days makes.

On Thursday, the members of the McHenry County Board’s Finance Committee voted 4-3 against lowering the $3 million Valley Hi Nursing Home levy by one penny.

First-term member Chuck Wheeler, who was recently appointed to the Valley Hi Operating Board moved to cut it by $750,000.

When the roll was called, Nick Provenzano and Yvonne Barnes joined him.

The other four members, Committee Chairman Mike Skala, former Committee Chairwoman Mary McCann, Jim Heisler and Larry Smith voted against the motion, killing it.

I got more than a clue that the wind direction was changing on the Valley Hi levy Monday night when Board Chairman Joe Gottemoller expressed surprise that the motion had not passed.

That was outside the GOP interview room where those desiring to be appointed to rest of Metra Board member Ken Koehler’s seat presented their credentials.

I didn’t make it to the  5:30 meeting on Tuesday where the Finance Committee was reassembled in an attempt to get a majority to put the budget and levy ordinances on 30-day review, but was told that the substance of Wheeler’s motion was advanced, this time with Provenzano making the motion and Barnes seconding it.

The vote this time around was 5-2.

Heisler and Smith switched from “No” to “Yes.”

Skala and McCann, both up for election, continued to oppose cutting the $3 million levy by one cent, despite the over $40 million sitting in bank accounts and the $10-11 million operating budget pretty much breaking even.

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More tomorrow about what happened at the County Board meeting which started at 7.

Previous articles on the Valley Hi Nursing Home levy:

If you would like to call or email your county board members to express your views on whether they should levy the $3 millions or not, you can find their phone numbers and email addresses here.


Finance Reverses Course, Cuts Valley Hi Levy by $750,000 — 11 Comments

  1. Way to go Chuck!

    Way to go County Board.

    Keep standing up and fighting for the tax payers!

  2. Kudos to Chuck.

    However, I don’t think this goes far enough and will be proposing that we cut $2 Million.

    That will leave $1 Million which is the approximate amount of the current annual shortfall.

    Previous shortfalls were only around $500K and we are only up to $1M due to slow pay by the state, which presents a cash flow issue but not necessarily a long term situation.

    To the extent that we have shortfalls beyond that, we have 40 Million Dollars to fall back on.

    That will at least stop the continued growth of the surplus fund, which does not earn much interest these days either.

    I have asked that the entire issue be placed on the full Board agenda as a discussion item at the next meeting as Tom Annarella from Valley High was not at the meeting last night.

  3. Great. They can put the money to district 155 busses for high school students who have medical conditions that make it dangerous to walk to school

  4. Actually, they can give the money back to the taxpayers and let THEM decide what to do with their own money.

    What a thought!

  5. So, does the overall levy get cut by $750K resulting in taxpayer savings or does the total levy stay the same and the $750K is moved around to support other areas resulting in no taxpayer savings?

  6. Based on the comments make by our Finance Director at the meeting last week, it sounds like the money is just being shifted around.

    That is the other side of the coin we need to address.

  7. If it’s going to be shifted around, shift it to paying off other county debt.

    Interest we pay for our county loans is waste and could be used for better services or reduction in the county levy.

    We should get a vote on levy increases also, 2/3 vote of approval would justify any increase.

    Yes Mike, on occasion when justified before hand, people will vote to raise their taxes.

    Dist 26 in Cary is a classic example.

    Even with that Dist 26 increase, our school taxes are less than almost half the other county school districts.

    Hard to believe, but the numbers are right in this blog.


  8. $750k divided by 116040 the number of housing units in the county, equals about $6.50 dollars per house.

    Of course commercial and industrial would get their cut of the pie.

  9. In my opinion it was illegal to continue to levy a tax on the Vally Hi construction for many years after the project was completed and conditions of bond satisfied.

    In my opinion it is also improper for a government entity like Valley Hi to build excess reserves in the Millions of Dollars on the backs of taxpayers.

    The net result of excess taxation is that McHenry Taxpayers of today and yesterday are subsidizing McHenry taxpayers of tommorrow.

    While Valley Hi is static, the population of McHenry County taxpayers is not with taxpayers coming into and leaving the County every day, recently we are experiencing more of the latter.

    Those who were fortunate enough to leave McHenry County were taxed a premium on Valley Hi and as for the rest of us, we are waiting to see if the Board is going to correct this “wrong” through taxpayer refund or relief.

    While the effort of C. Wheeler is commendable and he is a well intentioned civil servant trying to do the right thing, I question the rational for the $750,000 annual reduction as it has no basis in either compensating taxpayers for improper monies collected or amount to serious reduction of excess funds “presumably” under the control of Valley Hi.

    I am proud of the fact that it was my campaign for County Board which first brought to light this sordid affair considering the size of the Valley Hi largesse appearing as book entries in the Millions of Dollars on its financials.

    What a Board member may want to do is verify these funds actually exist and perform an accounting as to what was legally allowed to be collected from taxpayers versus what in fact was actually collected with the difference being immediately refunded to McHenry County residents with statutory interest.

    The oversight by County Board on this facility is inexcusable and more senior members on McHenry Board need to be held accountable for the lack of oversight.

    If they cannot read a financial statement perhaps a seminar is in order.

    If the they knew of this largesse but turned a blind eye, the public should demand he, she or they resign immediately!

    Finally, other than a book entry on Valley Hi financials, has anybody on the Board confirmed these excessive funds actually exist by demanding proof of the actual deposits or securities comprising of these funds and verifying the same with the depositories holding this taxpayer booty.

    Just saying!

    In the final analysis, in these extremely difficult economic times which will only be made worse by a slow economy and disfunctional Federal government which continues to accumulate deficits into the Trillions whose interest must be paid annually through tax collections and/or issuance of further debt, it is time all of us examine what role local government should play in our individual lives and whether or not it should include a facilities like Valley Hi.

    The reality for tomorrow is if government entities do not fall in line with present day economic realities already experienced in the private sector, choices governments have today to voluntarily streamline will no longer be available tomorrow but be made for them on an emergency basis through drastically shrinking tax collections.

    In my opinion, serious dialogue should be given concerning the future of Valley Hi . . . . .

    We need a County government which is visionary and proactive for these untested times rather than being reactive telling residents what they cannot do!

    During my campaign, my nickname for the Board was “the can’t do Board” because every time I raised an issue which might give the taxpayer relief like foregoing exorbitant benefits, pension and questioning what I believed may be unnecessary or excessive spending, all I heard in response is “the Board can’t do that”.

  10. Mike Walkup you have to realize you have no clue.

    The levy is still based upon a calculation and the consequences for this is problematic for the future .

    Why don’t you and your other county board members fihure on the consequences for Your votes.

    Oh and why don’t you focus on school’s oh that a right it is about
    THe children.

    Hog wash

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