Yeah, I figured that out after I posted that - sorry...
So I reworked things a bit and and am using the following:
Private Sub FHUYear()
Dim FHUYear As Integer
Dim sqlConn As New SqlConnection
sqlConn.ConnectionString = My.MySettings.Default.PETS_DatabaseConnectionString
Using sqlCmd As New SqlCommand
sqlCmd.CommandText = "DECLARE @reportYear int = YEAR(getdate()) - 2
DECLARE @Year int = concat(@reportYear, '000')
SELECT Count(*) FROM tbEXPENSES WHERE LOADNUMBER = @Year"
sqlCmd.Parameters.AddWithValue("@FHUYear", SqlDbType.Int).Value = FHUYear
Select Case FHUYear
Case Is = 0
Dim frm As New MessageBox2290
Case Is >= 1
Catch ex As Exception
Problem is I am always returning a '0' even if a record exists?
FYI: The DECLARE is using 2 years from current only to ensure I return proper result of '1' since last year's (2018) has not yet been entered. However this is returning a '0' as well.
In the MSSMS the result returned is a '1' which is what I expected to see. Yet using the exact same query inside the VB.NET form it is always returning a '0.'
I'm pretty sure it is an error with the AddWithValue parameter in which I do not fully understand how to implement this.