A press release from McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks:
McHenry County Board advances $100 Per Household Rebate From $40 Million Valley Hi Surplus
WOODSTOCK, Ill. – McHenry County homeowners will each get $100 refunded to them from the massive surplus that Valley Hi Nursing Home has accumulated, under a resolution proposed by County Board Chairman Jack Franks.
Franks, D-Marengo, said the surplus, which at the end of the 2017 fiscal year stood at almost $40.1 million, was a result of years of overtaxation, and that homeowners are entitled to a rebate.
“A responsible government should have a rainy-day fund, but the reserve that Valley Hi has accumulated is enough to fund several years of operations.
“That’s obscene, especially given how brutally overtaxed the homeowners of McHenry County are.
“I promised when I ran for this office that I would rebate a healthy amount of this back to the taxpayers without jeopardizing Valley Hi’s operations, and that’s exactly what my resolution does,” Franks said.
If the resolution is approved by the County Board, every homeowner who qualified for the homestead exemption on their 2018 tax bills, and who paid their taxes on time, would receive a $100 check on or before the end of next February.
About 88,000 properties potentially qualify, which would result in a rebate of about $8.8 million, which Franks said would in no way put Valley Hi in any financial peril.
“The generous and caring people of McHenry County approved a referendum, and opened their wallets, to build and run a home for the county’s indigent seniors to live out the rest of their days in comfort and dignity.
“It was never the will of the taxpayers to endow Valley Hi with a $40 million nest egg.
“The County Board this year significantly reduced county government’s tax levy, and is in good shape to reduce it further for 2019’s tax bills.
“Rebating some of this surplus back to taxpayers fits in perfectly with our mission to provide whatever tax relief we can,” Franks said.
The resolution passed the Public Health and Community Services Committee on Thursday, and is scheduled to go before the County Board for a vote at is Oct. 16 meeting.
Valley Hi’s revenue comes from Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, the property tax levy, and from some private-pay customers.
“A $40 million surplus for Valley Hi is indefensible. Period,” committee member John Reinert, R-Crystal Lake, said.
“Giving some of that back to the taxpayers without hurting Valley Hi’s financial stability is the right thing to do.
“The County Board for years has debated what to do about this surplus, and I’m pleased that a plan that provides some tax relief is moving forward.”
“We always should be looking for ways to keep more of what taxpayers earn in their own pockets,” said committee member Chris Christensen, R-Cary.
“Valley Hi has a $40 million surplus in part because past County Boards didn’t keep an eye on the financials. This is a step in the right direction to right a wrong without hurting Valley Hi’s mission. I wholeheartedly support this measure.”
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It should be noted that the Valley Hi surplus was developed by taxing all taxpayers, not just homeowners. And, among homeowners, those with more valuable properties paid significantly more than those with lower valued properties.