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Homeowners now eligible for 30 percent property tax rebate From Valley Hi budget surplus

Post Date:04/17/2019 1:58 PM

WOODSTOCK, Ill. – McHenry County homeowners will be able to apply to recoup just under 30 percent of county government’s share of last year’s property tax bill after the County Board voted to rebate $15 million from Valley Hi Nursing Home’s ample fund reserves.

The rebate, which the County Board approved at its April 16 meeting on an 18-6 vote, will leave the county-run nursing home with, at a minimum, more than two years of reserve funding. What’s more, the County Board will begin studying the addition of a 20-bed dementia wing to the facility.

County Board Chairman Jack Franks, who proposed the rebate last fall, called the County Board’s vote a win for both Valley Hi and county taxpayers. The nursing home for many years has held a fund reserve of about $40 million, which would cover almost four years of its operations, which Franks said was the result of years of overtaxation.

“When property-tax bills are mailed out next month, they will include instructions on how homeowners can apply to get some of their tax money back. I know of no other government doing this,” Franks, D-Marengo, said. “We’re delivering tax relief while strengthening Valley Hi’s mission to care for our indigent seniors. That mission will be improved, courtesy of the long and thoughtful debates the County Board has had in the months leading up to the vote.”

Interested homeowners will be directed to an online form on the Treasurer’s Office website to determine eligibility. To be eligible, homeowners had to have taken the homestead exemption during the 2017 tax year for bills payable in 2018, and had to have paid their taxes. Homeowners who are exempt from paying any property taxes under the disabled veterans’ homestead exemption do not qualify.

The amount of the rebate will be calculated by a formula based on the amount the homeowner paid in taxes to county government in 2018. About 88,000 properties in McHenry County could potentially qualify. For example, a homeowner who last year paid $500 in property taxes to county government would get just under $150 back.

Unclaimed funds from the rebate will go back to Valley Hi.

County administrative staff, Valley Hi Administrator Tom Annarella, and the private firm retained by the county to audit and monitor Valley Hi’s finances backed Franks’ plan as safe and responsible in the months leading up to the April 17 vote.

“Valley Hi Nursing Home is a treasure and a testament to McHenry County’s caring and generous spirit, and to county government’s fiscal discipline,” Franks said. “The County Board in the two years since I took office has reduced the county tax levy by more than $18 million, and now we’re safely and responsibly rebating $15 million back to homeowners to help make ends meet, save, or spend in local businesses. We’re doing everything we can to help keep taxpayers in their homes, while standing as a shining example for other local governments to follow.

The County Board’s Public Health and Community Services Committee will ask for a request for qualifications for a market study for the construction of a Valley Hi dementia wing at its May 2 meeting.

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