WOODSTOCK – Online applications for McHenry County residents to collect a portion of a $15 million rebate of Valley Hi Nursing Home surplus funds went live Friday.
The online portal, which can be found at mchenrycountyil.gov, allows homeowners to apply to recoup almost 30% of the McHenry County government’s share of last year’s property tax bill. About 88,000 properties in McHenry County could be eligible.
McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said in a news release that this represents another promise made to taxpayers and kept.
“The County Board has reduced the county tax levy by more than $18 million since I took office,” Franks said. “Now we’re safely and responsibly rebating $15 million of Valley Hi’s ample fund reserves back to homeowners while improving and expanding Valley Hi’s services to McHenry County’s seniors.”
The rebate was approved by the County Board last month by an 18-6 vote.
Eligible residents received a letter in the mail with their property tax bills. Since then, McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller said her office has been receiving constant calls about the rebate.
One of the most common concerns has come from seniors who do not have computers but still want to apply, Miller said.
To ensure these people have access to the application paperwork, Miller said her office will be mailing applications to about 200 residents.
Eligible residents must have owned and occupied taxable, homestead-exempt residential property on April 16 – the day the rebate was approved – and paid their 2017 property taxes in full.
Rebates will be based on the amount that homeowners paid in property taxes for the county government portion of their tax bill, according to the letter sent with the bills.
Homeowners can calculate their rebate by dividing the total property taxes paid to McHenry County in 2017 by $50,543,619 – or the county’s total yield from all 2017 taxable homestead properties – and then multiplying by $15 million.
When applying, Franks recommended residents have their property tax bill in hand because the website will require a homeowner’s property index number.
Homeowners who apply can expect to receive a check in the mail in September or October.
Any unclaimed funds from the rebate will go back to Valley Hi.
Franks said the estimated $25 million in reserves remaining after the rebate – an amount that could be much higher depending on how many people do not accept the rebate – still would be five times greater than any other county-run nursing home.
The deadline to apply is July 31.
Another Valley Hi-related topic that has drawn a lot of debate is the addition of space to care for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
County Board member Chris Christensen, who also is chairman of the Public Health and Community Services Committee, said a quotation request for a feasibility study and cost study for the project is out, and the board is hoping to have results back by July or August.
From there, Christensen said it will be up to the board to approve such a project.
“We rebated $15 million, and we’ll be able to, at the same time, expand services for our citizens, so this is a grand slam for the citizens of McHenry County,” Franks said.
A list of frequently asked questions about the rebate is available on the McHenry County government’s website.
Hard copies of the application also are available at the McHenry County Treasurer’s Office, 2100 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock.