piquedShelby Co. (ECWd) –
It’s silly season once again and it should be no surprise we once again are looking at Shelbyville Township as it relates to the current Township Officials and their recent campaign flyer (b/w pic from flyer). The short video speaks for itself but we will go into more detail below.
Before we dive into each bullet point, read the closing request on their campaign flyer and let that sink in as you read the rest of the article.
“We appreciate the support you have given us in the past and your vote once again would insure the continuation of these policies and programs.”
Let’s look at some of the claims this group is making, apply some facts to the statements, and then maybe you can make informed decisions this electoin cycle.
- Maintained a balanced budget in all accounts and have kept the Township debt free.
How can you have a balanced budget when you take money from one fund when it was never budgeted for such a transfer? In 2014-2015 fiscal year budget there was nothing entered for a transfer yet they transferred $20,000.00 from that fund. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year budget, we find the same thing. No budget transfer listed yet $10,000.00 was transferred from it. Most public officials know you can’t spend money that was not budgeted. I would argue removing funds from an account of which such amounts were not budgeted is not exactly maintaining a balanced budget in all accounts! (Budget-Transfer Resolution-Actual transfer spreadsheet created from the Annual Report)
As far as the debt-free claim, I don’t suspect that would be hard for anyone to do considering they are taxing at limits far exceeding the Supreme Court’s formula for determining excess taxation. We covered excessive taxation and fund balances in this article.
In addition, comparing the two unaudited reports, Township Supervisor’s Annual Financial Report and the Illinois Comptroller Annual Financial Report, we have found some rather large discrepancies. They are sufficient enough that we have asked an Accountant to prepare a report on it. We will report on them separately once we receive the report. This discrepancy was raised with them during public comment at their last meeting.
- Efficiently maintained the roads, bridges, and cemeteries in Shelbyville Township added a new section to Oak Grove Cemetery, Jordan Cemetery. And Mt. Carmel Cemetery and built new fencing around all cemeteries in the township.
And managed to do all that while increasing the Road District tax levy every year for the last three years and transferring $30,000.00 out of the cemetery fund without ever budgeting it. Huh, are these accomplishments another indicator of excess taxation?
- Administered an effective General Assistance Program for the needy.
This one piqued my interest. I guess you have to define effective. I can only assume, based on what I have been told, to these officials, “effective” is giving money to anyone that walks in the door and says they need it, which is what has taken place. I was told they have never turned anyone down for General Assistance. If that is the case, I think a forensic audit is in order as most townships find the majority of those seeking general assistance are already on some other assistance program and if that is they case they do not qualify for General Assistance.
All that aside, how effective is their administration of this program when they illegally transferred $55,000.00 away from this public aid program and used it for other purposes? Only after we exposed those actions was some of the money returned ($35,000.00) with a promise at the last meeting to return the remaining $20,000.00. We first covered this issue in this article.
- Actively supported the older members of the community through the Senior Citizen’s organization.
My hats off to them for this one but I guess it’s easier to stop this type of support than it is to comply with the requirements of the programs. The board decided to stop all donations yet they use donations as a battle cry to get re-elected? Only in Illinois!
- Actively supported many youth groups in the township.
Yep, they sure did. So much so that once the public was made aware of $93,000.00 of their tax money going out the door, they hired an attorney and sent a cease & desist notice that such donations can not continue unless done so within the guidelines of the law. Instead of continuing legal donations, they stopped them all together.
- Given assistance to our Veteran’s Organizations.
Being a Veteran, I appreciate support for our Veteran’s, however, we could not find anything in the Township statute that permitted giving money to Veteran’s Organizations, which would indicate they were giving taxpayer money away without legal authority. Most Veteran’s I know support a government that follows the law, which is all we ever asked.
- Preserved a tax rate at 9% and we are opposed to tax and salary increases.
Now this one is where it gets interesting. I don’t know what 9% tax rate they are referring to as that number does not appear anywhere in the Tax Extension Report we received from the County. What does become problematic with their claim is this spreadsheet of their tax levies created from the public records included at the link below.
The facts show the Township and Road Districts combined taxes have risen the last three years. Kind of hard to claim you’re opposed to tax increases when your own tax levy paperwork shows you have increased taxes the last three years.
As far as opposed to salary increases, let’s start by saying no one on this board took issue with the illegal hiring of one of their own board members to be an employee, which increased his take to a total three times his board pay. In addition, I can’t imagine anyone would want a salary increase when they are making $4,500.00 a year, which is $375.00 per meeting, of which they have 12 of them. The last meeting was about 17 minutes long. Let that sink in.
The Township Supervisor is bringing down $16,800.oo so I suspect he too is comfortable enough with the part-time salary not increasing. As a comparison, our Township trustees make $25 a meeting, which was decreased prior to the last election from $35 a meeting because they felt guilty making that much an hour, which is how long the meetings typically take. The Supervisor makes $3,600 a year.
What did this group say in their campaign flyer again?
“We appreciate the support you have given us in the past and your vote once again would insure the continuation of these policies and programs.“
I wonder how they can ensure the continuation of at least three of their programs when they said they are not going to donate anymore?
If the taxpayers of Shelbyville are so inclined to support the actions of this group, then so be it! You get what you vote for. We simply want those who do vote to do so with an informed understanding of what they are voting for instead of the typical blind support we see in small community elections.