Former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster adds the following to the discussion on the Valley Hi Nursing Home’s having $40 million in the bank and a budget of $10-11 million which pretty much breaks even:
Some Thoughts on Valley HI
None of those, myself included, have all of the current and intricate information necessary to make factual statements regarding the county’s Nursing home operation.
What background I do have, I will offer the following thoughts.
Valley Hi’s mission is to protect the health safety and welfare of the county’s less fortunate.
Needless to say; that, over the years has changed to where the population of the facility is inching toward a 50/50 mix of Medicaid and private pay clients.
A review of the facility, done in the late 1990’s, laid the ground work for the county board to make decisions regarding the future of Valley Hi.
It was recommended that they
- continue the operation as it had been but seek outside help to streamline the operation
- ask the county residents if they would be willing to be taxed to continue the operation or
- put the facility up for sale.
The referendum approach was the board’s choice and voters said they were willing to fund the operation.
In 2014, as we wrestled with the growing cash reserves in this fund, it was suggested that the county’s Legislative Committee seek legislation that would allow a reduction in the annual levy to better address actual financial needs but then, should the need arise, be able to raise that levy to meet those cost changes without having to go back to another referendum.
I’ve not seen where the county board has followed through on that.
My guess is that they have asked our state legislators to address the issue. [It was on the legislative agenda, but nothing happened in Springfield.]
To the cash-reserve issue:
Personally, my choice would have been to sell the facility in 1999. I do not subscribe to government running anything other than barebones, basic needs. The public chose a different path. Based on that path, it is the responsibility of the county board to ensure that clients of the facility are well cared for.
I believe it was stated by staff that, based on the “financial health” of the state of IL, they would like to see a $20,000,000 cash reserve and another amount for upcoming and major maintenance issues.
Bottomline: For this fiscal year, I would take the current sum levied down to $1,000,000; then reduce that amount annually until the Medicare, Medicaid situation stablizes.
Further, I would want assurance that the $1,250,000 and the $750,000 (already taken) would REDUCE the GENERAL FUND and not simply increase another levied amount… in other words, do NOT do a “shell-game.”
Spend down the $20,000,000 (+/-) before going back to the taxpayers for an increase in that levy… should it be warranted.
= = = = =
The last time I looked, the balance was over $0 million.
Previous articles on the Valley Hi Nursing Home levy:
- Finance Committee Provides Dilemma for Gottemoller
- Budget Back to Finance Committee
- The Finance Fight over Valley Hi Taxes – Part 1
- Finance Committee Fight over Valley Hi Taxes – Part 2
- Walkup Says Valley Hi Levy Will Surface at Tues. Night Meeting
- Valley Hi’s Financial Future
- Finance Reverses Course, Cuts Valley Hi Levy by $750,000
- A Former County Board Candidate Views on Valley Hi
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.