Valley Hi – Tax Cutter or Tax Gouger

Valley Hi logo with rehabilitationI’m a little late sharing this with you, but better late than never.

At the meeting before last, I offered my opinion on the over $40 million surplus in the Valley Hi Nursing Home fund.

This is an immense amount of money.

How immense?

The entire property tax collection for McHenry County government is $79 million.

$3 million of that last year was for Valley Hi.

The nursing home, which is masterfully managed by Thomas Annarella, pretty much breaks evenon its $10-11 million budget.

Yet the County insists on keeping a full year’s budget in reserve, plus $1 million in case there is a medical malpractice judgment, plus $5 million for things like a new roof.

Are you going to be tax cutters

or tax gougers?

I asked.

My inspiration came from a supporter of township government who wondered why the County Board didn’t clean its own house before it started trying to sweep away township government.

“Why not target larger governments?” the supporter asked.

Instead of keeping McHenry County government’s share of the real estate tax bill pretty much constant, why not cut them?

By eliminating the $3 million Valley Hi levy, the County Board could cut taxes.

Past cuts from the high of $6 million a year, levied to pay off the money to build the new nursing home, did not result in tax cuts.

They were re-allocated, to the surprise of long-time Finance Committee member Yvonne Barnes and newcomer Nick Provenzano, to other parts of the budget.

Now, it is true, as District 6 County Board member Mary McCann consistently points out that the tax cut would not be a lot of money to each taxpayer.

That reminds me of Grafton Township Board members’ comments when Supervisor Linda Moore tried to keep them from taking as much money from the taxpayers.

Every year they took every dime they could because

  • it would only represent a little bit to each taxpayer and,
  • if they didn’t take it , they would lose it forever.

The converse is equally true.

Any money not taken is saved by the taxpayers forever.

And, I would add, every little bit adds up.

I suggested that if the Board members knocked on doors they would know that property taxes are the biggest complaint.

And, they should be with McHenry County being the 29th highest in real estate taxes for the entire country.

County Administrator Peter Austin did his best to justify keeping the surplus at the last County Board meeting.

His analysis will be analyzed in the near future.

Right off the bat, however, let me suggest that when an enterprise agency is pretty much breaking even, one does not need a year’s expenditures in reserve.

The McHenry County Board at the beginning of a meeting.

The McHenry County Board at the beginning of a meeting before Ken Koehler resigned.

I concluded my comments by asking.

In your next campaign will people recognize you as a tax cutter

or a tax gouger?


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