Franks: McHenry County property tax rebate program a 'grand slam' for taxpayers
More than 52,000 McHenry County homeowners applied to receive a property tax rebate from the Valley Hi Nursing Home fund surplus, county officials said Thursday.
The county-run facility's abundant reserves of nearly $40 million have been heavily debated for years.
This spring, county board members authorized allocating $15 million toward a rebate program, which allows eligible residents to recoup just under 30% of the county government's share of last year's property tax bill.
The applications processed as of Thursday -- the application deadline was Wednesday -- make up about $9.1 million, which exceeded board Chairman Jack Franks' expectations, he said.
Some paper applications are still being tabulated, and more could trickle in through the mail.
To determine a homeowner's rebate amount, the county is using a formula based on the property taxes paid to the county government last year. Someone who paid $500, for example, is expected to receive just under $150.
Once they're vetted and approved, qualifying homeowners can expect to receive their checks in the mail in early October.
"Government is getting so much better in McHenry County, and it's working for the people, and this is evidence of that," Franks said. "We're aware of the severe property tax burden, and we're doing everything we can to reduce those property taxes and give people back their money."
Unclaimed funds from the rebate -- currently just under $6 million -- will go back to Valley Hi. That money could be put toward the proposed expansion of the Woodstock facility to add a dementia unit, Franks said, noting preliminary cost estimates have come in around that amount.
Even if that project is completed, Valley Hi would still have nearly $25 million in reserves, he said, covering more than two years of the nursing home's operating expenses.
"We're expanding services, and we're cutting taxes," Franks said. "It's more than a home run; it's a total grand slam for our taxpayers. Everybody wins."