Edgar Co. Local Governments owe the State over $166,000 in overpaid PPRT –

Edgar County, IL. (ECWd) –

The local governments in Edgar County owed the State of Illinois a total of $166,119.51 in overpayments the state made with the personal property replacement tax back in 2014.

A list of all Edgar County overpayments are below, with the School Districts, City of Paris, and County governments making up the majority of the overpayments.

There is no schedule for repayment to the state at this time.

Edgar                               EDGAR COUNTY 0231010023 20,238.31
Edgar BROCTON VILLAGE 0232400010 262.34
Edgar CHRISMAN CITY 0232400016 1,149.74
Edgar HUME VILLAGE 0232400038 55.67
Edgar KANSAS VILLAGE 0232400040 225.61
Edgar METCALF VILLAGE 0232400051 273.15
Edgar PARIS CITY 0232400063 22,667.65
Edgar REDMON VILLAGE 0232400070 24.87
Edgar VERMILION VILLAGE 0232400089 46.00
Edgar BROUILLETTS CREEK TOWNSHIP 0233020010 144.34
Edgar BUCK TOWNSHIP 0233020012 104.68
Edgar EDGAR TOWNSHIP 0233020025 323.63
Edgar ELBRIDGE TOWNSHIP 0233020027 929.25
Edgar EMBARRASS TOWNSHIP 0233020029 104.68
Edgar GRANDVIEW TOWNSHIP 0233020033 85.74
Edgar HUNTER TOWNSHIP 0233020038 46.00
Edgar KANSAS TOWNSHIP 0233020040 495.43
Edgar PARIS TOWNSHIP 0233020063 2,574.50
Edgar PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP 0233020068 229.76
Edgar ROSS TOWNSHIP 0233020073 714.04
Edgar SHILOH TOWNSHIP 0233020077 206.35
Edgar STRATTON TOWNSHIP 0233020082 159.95
Edgar SYMMES TOWNSHIP 0233020084 303.55
Edgar YOUNG AMERICA TOWNSHIP 0233020095 456.09
Edgar BROCTON FPD 0235100082 129.87
Edgar CHRISMAN FPD 0235100131 400.10
Edgar HUME FPD 0235100322 93.13
Edgar KANSAS FPD 0235100336 311.02
Edgar METCALF FPD 0235100434 133.94
Edgar PARIS FPD 0235100533 1,998.13
Edgar PARIS-UNION UNIT SCH 95 0237250950 35,496.18
Edgar SHILOH CUSD  1 0237260010 25,175.03
Edgar KANSAS CUSD 3 0237260030 7,024.88
Edgar PARIS CUSD 4 0237260040 14,682.31
Edgar EDGAR COUNTY CUSD 6 0237260060 17,032.98
Edgar BROUILLETS CRK TWP RD & BRIDGE 0239020010 205.61
Edgar BUCK TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020012 102.40
Edgar EDGAR TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020025 581.57
Edgar ELBRIDGE TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020027 2,072.33
Edgar EMBARRASS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020029 394.90
Edgar GRANDVIEW TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020033 158.07
Edgar HUNTER TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020038 154.42
Edgar KANSAS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020040 634.65
Edgar PARIS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020063 4,008.44
Edgar PRAIRIE TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020068 264.61
Edgar ROSS TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020073 1,028.73
Edgar SHILOH TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020077 600.11
Edgar STRATTON TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020082 272.42
Edgar SYMMES TWP ROAD & BRIDGE 0239020084 308.01
Edgar YOUNG AMERICA TWP RD & BRIDGE 0239020095 1,034.34

IL-Leaks




IDOT District 5 – Free Rent and Property Tax Avoidance ?

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

According to a recent document dump from the Illinois Department of Transportation in relation to a Freedom of Information Act request about certain things happening at the District 5 IDOT Headquarters, it appears they are allowing a private business to utilize office and customer space within D-5 Headquarters Building in Paris, Illinois – and failing to report the non-public use of the tax exempt property to the Edgar County Tax Assessor.

Here is how is appears to be working:

There is a little known Credit Union by the name of “Paris Hi-Way Credit Union” that is receiving either free rent, undocumented rent, or rent without a lease. For the moment, I will assume there is no rent being paid simply because there is no rental agreement or lease agreement.

Not only is no rent being paid, the Credit Union is using the utilities of the people of the State of Illinois – your untilities.

Paris Hi-Way Credit Union
13473 Il Highway 133
Paris, IL 61944

That is the same address as the IDOT District 5 Headquarters in Paris, Illinois.

IDOT has authority to lease real estate

IDOT has the authority, under law, to lease real estate they deem they will not use for a period of time:

Sec. 2705-555. Lease of land or property.
    (a) The Department has the power from time to time to lease any land or property, with or without appurtenances, of which the Department has jurisdiction and that is not immediately to be used or developed by the State; provided that no such lease be for a longer period of time than that in which it can reasonably be expected the State will not have use for the property, and further provided that no such lease be for a longer period of time than 5 years, except as provided in subsection (b).

The problem is, there is no lease, at least they cannot find one.

Real Estate Tax Exempt Status?

Next, real estate owned by the State of Illinois, or any other government body is exempt from taxes…unless it is not being used for public purposes. For example, if a public body with a government owned building were to lease out office space to a private business, that office space would be subject to real estate taxes, and those taxes would be the responsibility of the private business (the leaseholder).

Searching the Edgar County Assessor’s website, this real estate is listed as 100% tax exempt. There could be several reasons for that, including the State’s failure to notify the county that a portion of their real estate was no longer being used for a public purpose.

The Property Tax Code explains procedures to use in situations such as this:

 Sec. 15-55. State property.
    (a) All property belonging to the State of Illinois is exempt. However, the State agency holding title shall file the certificate of ownership and use required by Section 15-10, together with a copy of any written lease or agreement, in effect on March 30 of the assessment year, concerning parcels of 1 acre or more, or an explanation of the terms of any oral agreement under which the property is leased, subleased or rented.
    The leased property shall be assessed to the lessee and the taxes thereon extended and billed to the lessee, and collected in the same manner as for property which is not exempt. The lessee shall be liable for the taxes and no lien shall attach to the property of the State.

It is clear that the State agency only has to provide copies of leases for 1 acre or more of leased property, however, any leased property (no matter the size) shall be assessed and the lessee held responsible for the taxes.

Additionally, annual certifications must be filed with the county and they must also comply with Sections 15-10, 15-15, and 15-20 of the property tax code.

Short of some obscure  law that we can’t find, the operation of a private business in a state owned facility without a lease is a violation of the law.  In addition, not paying property tax on the business space used robbed the taxpayers of this county their portion of applicable property tax to go towards services for the public.

Indications are that this type of activity is not limited to District 5.  We are working on gathering the rest of the information to see how many other operations with this same pattern is happening state wide.

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Edgar County Board Meeting – 8-13-2014 –

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

The Edgar County Board held its regular monthly meeting today, August 13, 2014, at the courthouse. There were several actions taken, among those were:

-Roll Call: Dan Bruner was the only board member not in attendance

– Sandra Willett (currently Clerk Pro Tempore) was appointed to fill the vacant office of the Edgar County Circuit Clerk following the death of Karen Halloran on July 31, 2014. This office will be on the ballot this November for the remainder of the unexpired original term ending in December of 2016.

-Majority voted “No” on paying the invoice of Thomas McGuire and Associates. Heltsley, Farnham, and English voted no. The invoice was for $1415.20 –  which will dramatically increase when the county gets sued over not paying the legitimate invoice. Thanks guys…for costing the taxpayer even more money.

-Approved several highway department resolutions to include the reappointment of the County Engineer, Arron Lawson.

-Hired Linda Leeth as the part time Assistant Animal Warden

-Accepted the resignation, effective January 2, 2015, of the Edgar County Assessor, Beverly Markley (I believe she is retiring)

-Approved advertising for a county assessor

-Appointed the following to the Airport Advisory Board: Dale Barkley, Joe Scheiner, Jerry Kesler, Jake Barrett

-Hired Jerry Griffin as the Airport Manager

-Transferred $15,000 from the Probation Services Fees Fund to the General Fund

-Approved the 2015 holiday schedule – the same as the Supreme Court with the additional day of Good Friday

-Awarded new phone system bid to “MidWest”

-On recommendation of the Sheriff, voted to disband the Sheriff Merit Commission (should have been disbanded decades ago)

-Jeff Voigt commented that the budget is in excellent shape

-County Treasurer commented about paying back the tax anticipation line of credit as soon as possible to avoid paying the $20 per day interest

During public comment Rev. Jack Hoffman asked the board to consider some type of rules for setbacks on high power electrical transition lines within the county – Kirk Allen asked about the residual monies from the mass transit – John Kraft asked the board to state which statute gave them the authority for an airport advisory board.

Video will be added here as soon as it gets uploaded.

 

EdCoLogo




IL Dept of Revenue says: Tax Edgar Cemetery Farmland

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

Good news finally coming out of the Edgar County Assessor’s Office. They will follow the law (somewhat of a unique idea in Edgar County) and assess the farmland the Edgar Cemetery is leasing out. We’ve only been after them about this for a few months and it looks like it is going to happen.

Property tax issues, particularly those that should be paying but  aren’t – due to the township assessors either not knowing what they should do, or willfully ignoring the fact that some property in Edgar County has been illegally exempted from property taxes, have been one of our focuses for the past 6 or 8 months.

We first published an article on July 10, 2012 about the Edgar County Cemetery Association not properly filing the required annual Certificate of Tax Exempt Status, unlike the City of Paris filing false reports (Hell, let’s call it like it is: they LIED on the reports and swore under oath the reports were accurate), the Cemetery Association just didn’t file one. I think the PUBLIC has the right to expect our assessors to actually be able to see that farmland does not equal cemetery use.

I haven’t received the FOIA back from the Illinois Department of Revenue on this property, but it will definitely be interesting to see how the submitted paperwork will read. I am guessing it will contain the same deceptive moves the city tried, but I hope I am wrong and they were completely truthful with their paperwork.

Now taxed:




Dept. Of Revenue: Tax the Transfer Station!

PARIS, IL. (ECWd) –

This article will explore our local property tax system, and the efforts our local elected and appointed public officials and former public officials go to in order to conceal information detrimental to their plea for 100% property tax exemptions. The taxpayers of this county should expect equal and fair treatment on all property tax related issues. False, misleading, or omitted information on official tax forms should not be tolerated. We ran articles on this subject as early as April of this year – here, and here.

Illinois Department Of Revenue Decision

The final decision from the Illinois Department of Revenue on the Transfer Station property is that the City of Paris is 100% exempt on property taxes for 2012. It also states that the Edgar County Assessor should assess the property “leases” to Ingrum Waste Disposal II, Inc. (Page 2 of the pdf below). According to the amended agreement between the city and IWD, Inc. with the resulting tax being the responsibility of IWD – not the city (Page 21, item #11 of the pdf below).

I can only hope this issue has a higher priority in the justice system than spending almost two years prosecuting someone for driving on a suspended license, as was recently pursued by the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Public corruption, as this clearly is, should be the top priority of prosecutors, second only to capital crimes. The cost of prosecution weighed against the potential gain of a finding of guilty – The potential gain here, is instilling in the minds of our public officials that conduct such as this will NOT be tolerated. This will greatly increase the public trust in our local government.

The property in question here is owned by the city of Paris and leased or “contracted” by Ingrum Waste Disposal II, Inc. It is operated for-profit, and the property is no longer for public use (during the life of their agreement).

Inspecting the documents submitted to IL. DOR: When I asked our assessor for a copy of the documents the county sent to the Dept of Revenue, she told me she didn’t keep a copy and sent the originals to DOR. Sensing something wrong with not keeping copies, I immediately submitted a FOIA request to the DOR seeking a copy of all correspondence between the City of Paris, Edgar County, and DOR.

The documentation I received was priceless, as you will read about below. My suspicions were confirmed – in an effort to get by without paying property taxes, there was a joint effort to lie, misstate evidence, and conceal the truth behind the agreements and operations of the Transfer Station. Even when I asked the assessor this morning whether she received a determination from DOR on the property, she said no, they needed more information from the city. The documentation I received from DOR, the complete record of correspondence, shows no letter requesting additional information from the city. After I showed the copy I received, she confirmed the Transfer Station and property would be assessed and taxed.

I’m just glad Todd, from the Department Of Revenue, could see through all the “smoke and mirrors” while reviewing the information provided.

Now to the actual documents submitted…

Docket # 12 23 2

Inaccurate statements on the PTAX-300:

Step 3, Line 12, “Is any income derived from this property

It should be checked “YES” – The question asks if ANY income is derived, not if the property owner derives income…

Ingrum Waste Disposal II, Inc. (IWD) operates the “City Transfer Station,” collects fees from customers, and derives income from this property

-Paul Ruff, the City Administrator, knew this when he swore under oath that ALL of the information was true and correct.  Is marking NO true and correct?

 

Step 7, Number 3 should read:

The transfer station is operated by Ingrum Waste Disposal II, Inc. and they derive income from this property.

– The transfer station is operated by IWD, a for-profit business. Beverly Markley knew this before she filled the form in and certified to its accuracy.  She also knew that marking the box NO in regards to income from the property was not true nor accurate!

“Service to the county” – what a joke. If you follow that logic, every business in Edgar County operates as “service to the county.”

 

 

Affidavit of Use, dated August 23, 2012, signed by Paul Ruff:

The last sentence implies the City is still operating this Solid Waste Facility, when in fact it is operated by IWD, Inc as a for-profit business. Again, Mr. Ruff knew this at the time he completed the affidavit.

Paris Landfill Property “history sheet”:

This one is somewhat misleading. While their statement “No income for the City is generated from this property” is a true statement, they failed to state that IWD, Inc. has operated on this property for several years and has derived income from this property for several years.

Statement by Richard James, dated August 27, 2012.

In reading numbers 5 and 7, one could conclude the city is still paying a subsidy to the operators of the Waste Transfer Facility. While both paragraphs are true at face value, he failed to state the City no longer pays a subsidy, and hasn’t for years, to IWD to operate this facility. IWD operates it as a for-profit business with a luxurious no bid contract giving him a clear exclusive.

Amended Facility Operating Agreement

This document is effectively a lease of the property. It gives IWD exclusive use and that they can retain all revenue from the operation of the facility during the term of the “agreement.”

The City Transfer Station is operated as a for-profit business and is no longer available for public use.

The part of the property in question should, in addition to the building, include the acreage contained within the fence surrounding the building. This acreage is used by IWD in the operation of the Waste Transfer Facility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What these public officials have done is distort the facts to sway the opinion of the Illinois Department of Revenue. It is clear this is a combined effort between the Edgar County Assessor’s Office and the City of Paris. Any other party doing this would be considered perjury and tax evasion.

Now is the time for some definitions:

Perjury

A person commits perjury when he intentionally lies under oath, perjury can also be committed by knowingly signing or acknowledging a written legal document (such as affidavit, declaration under penalty of perjury, deed, license application, tax return) that contains false information. (ABC News)

False Statements

The crime of false statement involves knowingly and willfully making a false statement to a government official (such as an investigator) about a material fact, or falsifying or covering up a material fact. This latter point includes knowingly omitting information that is material. The key point is the speaker’s intent: that the speaker has knowingly made the false statement, or omitted relevant information. (ABC News)

 

View the complete file below:

Download (PDF, 1.93MB)

 

 




County Board Violates Own Policy Manual!

Our Pledge of Allegiance at every County Board meeting means nothing if we don’t understand what it means and blatantly ignore the very pledge they recite every month.

In the Pledge of Allegiance we all pledge allegiance to our Republic, not to a democracy. “Republic” is the proper description of our government, not “democracy” and you may be surprised to find that the word Democracy doesn’t appear ANYWHERE in our US Constitution!  In a republic, sovereignty is in each individual person while a democracy the sovereignty is in the group. 

 A very basic explanation on video can be found at this link:

 Understand Your Government!

So what does this have to do with a County Board that Violates its own county policy manual?  

Rule of Law – The Principal that NO ONE is above the law

  •  The County Board and other County Officials are ELECTED by law! 
  •   County Board adopts a County Personnel Policy, which outlines the fringe benefit of Health, Dental, Vision insurance for its employees.
  • That very Policy adopted by the County board CLEARLY states all County Employees are covered by the Fringe Benefits…………………

 EXCEPT………………

ELECTED OFFICIALS AND DEPARTMENT HEADS!

From Page 9 of the Policy Manual: “…except for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, all employees of EDGAR COUNTY are employed at will. That is, either the Employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time.  The fringe benefits referred to in this handbook apply to regular full-time employees. All employees of Edgar County are covered by these policies except Elected Officials and Department Heads!”

There are other exceptions but none which would permit the Elected Officials to receive Health Care benefits, or any other fringe benefit as outlined in the Policy Manual!

 Every County Board Member receives Health Care Insurance, in direct violation of their very own County Personnel Policy!

 Upon discovering this information I sent the following e-mail to the States Attorney, Mark Isaf, Chief Law Enforcement Officer in our County Government.

“Mr. Isaf, I raised an issue with the County Board this morning pertaining to the County Policy Manual and its specific guidelines pertaining to fringe benefits. 

The Introduction page of that manual clearly spells out the following:

The fringe benefits referred to in this handbook apply to regular full-time employees. All employees of Edgar County are covered by these policies except:

  • Elected Officials and Department Heads
  • Employees hired on a contractual basis, unless an individual contract provides otherwise.
  • Employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement
  • Personnel appointed to serve without compensation.

Elected Officials and Department Heads are defined in the manual as:

A. Office Heads: shall be defined as the elected county positions of County Clerk, County Treasurer, Circuit Clerk and State’s Attorney as well as the appointed      positions of Probation Officer and Supervisor of Assessments.  

B. Department: shall have the same meaning as “office” which shall include the Offices of County Clerk, County Treasurer, Circuit Clerk, State’s Attorney, Probation Officer and Supervisor of Assessments

Chapter 6 clearly spells out the benefits and services as Health, Dental, and Vision insurance.  The County Board confirmed they do in fact receive these benefit, as do Department Heads.

Upon notification that the board is clearly violating the County Policy Manual by providing these benefits to Elected Officials and Department Heads I was informed that those benefits cannot be changed for 10 years as they have been set by law 180 days prior to the election. 

As you know, there is no 10 year guideline for setting salaries.  Couple that with the fact providing something in direct violation of the rules established doesn’t imply you can’t correct it as fringe benefits are not salary and does not fall under the Salaries and Fees referenced in our Illinois Constitution, which is the law of the land.

 The Illinois Constitution clearly states:

 Article VII – SECTION 9. SALARIES AND FEES
    (a)  Compensation of officers and employees and the office expenses of units of local government shall not be paid from fees collected. Fees may be collected as provided by law and by ordinance and shall be deposited upon receipt with the treasurer of the unit. Fees shall not be based upon funds disbursed or collected, nor upon the levy or extension of taxes.
    (b)  An increase or decrease in the salary of an elected officer of any unit of local government shall not take effect during the term for which that officer is elected.

My purpose for raising this issue is twofold.  Actions in violation of the county policy by ALL our elected officials must be addressed and corrected first and foremost but also the financial savings to the county for health insurance to a wide number of people would offset and more than likely cover the entire expense for the county to hire a County Administrator, which I think you would agree we are in desperate need of.  Mr. Keller did agree and even stated he has wanted a County Administrator for years.    

I am asking that you take appropriate action to correct this matter as it appears from the comments today County Board has no intention of addressing it.    

I would appreciate confirmation that this matter is being addressed and corrected.”         

______________________________ 

If we are ever going to fix things in this county we must look at the problems and determine whether or not we are going to operate like a democracy or a REPUBLIC!  A Republic is based on the Rule of Law, which our elected officials ALL took an oath to uphold! 

If our own elected officials are allowed to turn up their nose at the very rules they expect everyone else to follow where does that leave us as a society? 

If a persons OATH is to have any meaning and value at all we MUST demand accountability.  The concept of Do As I Say, Not As I Do must stop! 

I pray that Mr. Isaf takes the position to advise the elected officials that they are in fact violating the county policy and put a stop to the spending of our money on items currently forbidden by County Policy, however, I suspect the following will happen:

  1. Ignore the exposed self-serving action of our Elected Officials
  2. Change the County Policy to permit themselves to receive Health Insurance

People of Edgar County, Place your bets! 

 




Rule of Law -What does it mean?

 UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT SHALL HAVE ONLY POWERS GRANTED BY LAW!

Source:  Illinois Constitution.  (When is the last time anyone read it?) http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con7.htm

Article VII  SECTION 8. POWERS AND OFFICERS OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND UNITS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT OTHER THAN COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES

Townships, school districts, special districts and units, designated by law as units of local government, which exercise limited governmental powers or powers in respect to limited governmental subjects shall have only powers granted by law.

County government, Section 4(d) specifically spells out pretty much the same thing!  

County officers shall have those duties, powers and
functions provided by law and those provided by county
ordinance.

Municipalities are covered in Section 7, which states in part:

Counties and municipalities which are not home rule units
shall have only powers granted to them by law and the powers
(1) to make local improvements by special assessment and to
exercise this power jointly with other counties and
municipalities, and other classes of units of local
government having that power on the effective date of this
Constitution unless that power is subsequently denied by law
to any such other units of local government;

So whats the point of all this?  I firmly believe that if we can’t fix our out of control local government we can never fix things at a state or national level. 

One step at a time is the approach I have taken and history supports that Edgar County is out of control, but what does that mean?

  • For months I have proven over and over illegal spending was taking place by our 911 Board.  “Most” of that has stopped because of the exposure but they still are breaking the law and our elected officials refuse to put a stop to it or hold them accountable for the illegal acts that took place.
  • Health Department Employee charged with stealing, and for what ever reason they are holding her accountable, but not the 911 Director and its Board Members?
  • County Board stealing funds from other accounts and putting it in the General Fund to cover their expenses, all while KNOWING it is illegal for them to do that.  How do we know they KNOW its illegal?  Because the County Board Chairman confirmed it on video, yet they continue to do it and the States Attorney has done NOTHING to stop it.
  • Past Sheriff selling guns illegally and to date NOTHING being done about it!
  • County Property being leased for private purpose and to date they have yet to follow the law and send a tax bill to the people using the property for their own gain, which is what the law states MUST take place.
  • Mass Transit District Employees stealing and finally are going to be held Accountable to the law……………..by OUTSIDE Agencies! 
  • School District Board Members and Employees think they are entitled to a “GOOD MEAL” every now and then?  NO WHERE in the law is the power given to them to feed their face on our dime!  NO WHERE, yet it continues to take place.  Is it any wonder are taxes keep going up?
  • Motor Fuel Tax money being used to pave PRIVATE driveways!  Ever wonder why Illinois has some of the highest taxes on fuel?

These are just a few examples of the many illegal acts we have reported on. We will be bringing you more information and updates of such gross violations of the law your going to re-read the story several times just to grasp the magnitude!

How do these things happen and fester into the normal way of doing things? 

By good people doing nothing!

I know, we are all busy and have to work to survive however the vicious circle that has been created is clearly designed to do just that, keep you so busy making a survival that you don’t have the time or energy to get involved and hold your elected officials accountable. 

When your elected officials don’t read the law they fall prey to a select few savvy business people who literally dictate to them as to what they should be doing and at the same time those very public officials think the world of the people doing it because they don’t have to think or learn their job.  They sit back and feel good something’s getting done and they take the credit, all while it’s costing you and I dearly!  

We are going to expose the ignorance of many more public officials as it’s clearly out of control.  Hundreds of Thousands and in some case’s MILLIONS of dollars being fleeced from our LOCAL government bodies that leads to nothing but a decay in our way of life and the rule of law. 

An illegal act is still illegal regardless how many people claim otherwise.  We have dozens of cases where elected officials do things without any authority by law yet just because they pass a motion at a table they think its legal.  The law doesn’t work that way!  

For those that think my efforts are to simply dig up dirt on specific people or to fulfill some political goal you’re wrong.  I have other things to do with my life, however nothing more important than ensuring our Constitution is followed! 

I would like to share a brief story because my efforts have NOTHING to do with the ‘specific” people breaking the law as some of the many things I have uncovered involved people I thought were honest people and in some cases were friends. 

Over 6 years ago we had major illegal acts taking place by some of our Fire Trustees for the Kansas Fire Protection District.  When I tried to fix those things I discovered that the law was clear those trustees were to be appointed by our Township, NOT the county Board.  More digging PROVED an illegal annexation of a piece of property done many years ago that caused our Fire District to be in two townships, which shifts the appointments of the trustees from the Township Board to the County Board. 

We all know the County Board BLINDLY appoints people to boards and to this day that continues.  What I discovered and PROVED, was the annexation was in fact illegal and done outside the powers of the law.

It went through the courts and a judge authorized the annexation so surely it was legal? So how does it happen?  No one is reading the law, including the judge that allowed it to happen.  The lawyer for the district brings the annexation paperwork to the courts and if no one objects then presto, annexation complete, even though the law didnt permit that action to take place!

I objected years after the fact and PROVED it was wrong and we took legal action to fix it!  Had it not been for our past Township Supervisor being willing to stand up and fight the good fight I don’t know if it would have gotten fixed when it did.  

That was the FIRST step I took over 6 years ago to try to fix part of MY local government. That 6 month effort exposed to me that the vast majority of our local government is being ran by the seat of the pants with no plans, no vision, and total disregard for the law. 

Case and point, the Clark Edgar Rural Water District:

  •  is $24.4 MILLION Dollars in debt
  • No 1, 5, or 10 year plan for the organization
  • Not a single board member has read the statute they are bound to.
  • They don’t count interest in their debt, even though they are paying damn near $500,000.00 a year in interest.
  • They think its OK to say they can’t guarantee their minutes are 100% accurate! (Isnt that the purpose of “approving” the minutes, to ensure they are accurate?)
  • Fabricate an answer to justify an illegal $2.75 Million Dollar line of credit.  (which by the way the Chairman of the Board is a Stock Holder in the very bank the public body is paying interest to on that line of credit.  Any idea where Shareholder Dividends paid to stockholders come from in a bank?  Profits, that are derived from Interest Payments, that are paid by the Chairman of the board, yet they don’t count Interest?  Doesn’t he realize that the dividend checks he gets from that bank are coming from some of the very payments he is in charge of dispatching? ) 
  • Give away public property every month and see nothing wrong with it!  (that’s one of those stories your going to have to read a couple of times to believe!)

Get involved, demand answers of your local officials and when they refuse, take the steps necessary to remove them from their position. 

We The People must demand accountability. 

Stop them from fleecing our money on things not allowed by law!

Take Back Your County, Take Back your State,

Then Take Back Your Country!

 

 

 

 

 




Edgar County Board Meeting – “What really happened”

EDGAR CO. (ECWd) –

Just in case you missed reading in other local publications what really went on at the county board meeting this month, here are some comments and a video of the meeting.

– J. Kraft asked for an itemized list of expenditures of the proposed transfer of $71,100.00 from the TORT Fund to the General Fund – Treasure Don Wiseman noted that he did not have an itemized list and stated that he was asked for a fixed amount by the board.  Motion was later made by Jeff Voight to table the transfer until an itemized list can be obtained.  Was this transfer an attempt to use TORT money for non-TORT expenditures?

– J. Kraft asked when the appointed trustees, the two that are not allowed by law to be a trustee of the Mass Transit District, would be replaced. The only answer received was “We gave it to the State’s Attorney”. It boggles my mind why it would take a State’s Attorney to interpret: Except in a Metro East Mass Transit District, no Trustee of any District may be an elected official of the municipality or municipalities or county or counties creating the District." (70 ILCS 3610/4) 

– K. Allen asked about the Airport contract and who gets the money from the timber cutting.  (Our speculation is that none of the brilliant minds on the board gave any thought to revenue generation for the tax payers.  With luck we will be wrong!)

– K. Allen thanked the State’s Attorney for recovering the ETSB (911) funds paid to S. Craig Smith of Asher and Smith Law Office.  Recovery of those funds avoided a lawsuit intended to recover them.  It took over 14 months for the right thing to be done! 

– K. Allen also asked whether the county board would remove Dee Burgin from the ETSB (911) board, especially due to the fact he was found, in a court of law, to have violated a person’s civil rights. No answer received.

– The Holiday Schedule was approved with Good Friday being added to the state required dates.

– Among other items, was a funds transfer from Animal Control to the General Fund, something that, according to the Animal Control Act, can only be transferred on the first Monday in March of each year. Funds were transferred in spite of knowing it is not allowed, something we wrote about last year also. I guess that takes the “knowingly” out of the requirement of proving “knowingly violated the law”, since it is on video.

– The County Treasurer’s report, which reflects a $1.1 Million Dollar Deficit, is here as a pdf document.

– Treasurer stated he has had several inquiries as to when the taxes for the new high school bonds would hit the property tax bills. He also had inquiries asking about the ambulance tax – answer: it was a voter approved tax, to support the ambulance district.

– County Assessor stated the continued change, and timing of the change, of insurance companies creates a hardship for her employees when it comes to the annual deductibles paid and she requested they take insurance actions at the end of the calendar years to avoids those problems in the future.

– The county farm ground leases were continued another year, under the same conditions, with the Taxpayers of Edgar County paying the property tax bill that, by law, is the responsibility of the leaseholder (as discussed in our previously published articles). I asked this question during “right to revert”, but the video cut it off.

– K. Allen asked about the contract for the Deputies, in relation to drug testing, and requested any new contracts fix the issue.

The August 8, 2012 Edgar County Board Meeting video is below.

 

 
“Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.” ~ J. C. Ryle

 




County Board Ignores Misappropriations!

As usual, the county board sits silent and does nothing to hold people accountable for misappropriations of county funds even with stacks of evidence.

More amazing is the auditors report and 2 page letter of suggestions the board should implement to prevent further misappropriations, fraud, and theft of assets.  Those suggestions match our very complaints pertaining to the 911 board and its single employee, Nanett Crippes.

In the Auditors report there is a paragraph that reads as follows:

Fraud and Illegal Acts:  During the audit, allegations of potential fraudulent activity in the Emergency Telephone Services Department were communicated to us.  We considered these allegations in evaluating potential risks of financial statement misstatement and in selecting audit procedures to perform.  We also conducted follow-up discussions with various members of the County Board.  The results of our procedures did not support the allegations and we found no evidence of any impropriety.”

So what does that paragraph really mean?  The video explains everything in full details starting at the 3:58 mark however its important to point out what that paragraph means.

One MAJOR point to remember is the fact that this same accounting firm has been doing the county audits for years and makes THOUSANDS doing it and this year was the FIRST time they looked at the financial expendatures of your 911 board!

“During the audit, allegations of potential fraudulent activity in the Emergency Telephone Services Department were communicated to us. “

Not only did we communicate the information but we also provided a stack of documents to include payments, minutes, and other numerous pieces of evidence to support the allegations.   Key point is the very auditor we presented that information made it clear that what we presented was outside his scope of authority to look at!  Outside his scope because the County Board chose to not allow the auditor to look past the last year.  We have been hammering the 911 board on their fraud and theft for over a year and half and the FIRST year they ever got audited was after we exposed them and the crimes did stop! Small victory that it stopped but when do you go back and look at the facts of theft and hold them all accountable?

“We considered these allegations in evaluating potential risks of financial statement misstatement and in selecting audit procedures to perform.”

If they report the FACTUAL theft of our tax money, which was from the previous year, that means they, the auditor would be exposed for MISSTATEMENTS on their financial statements during those previous years!

YES, they FAILED to even audit 911 until the Edgar Count Watchdogs put the pressure on them yet the county board and the States Attorney has taken no action at all to hold anyone accountable for the theft and misappropriations of our tax money and the County Board actively instructed the auditors to NOT look at previous year information! 

That fact came from the auditor, who by the way is no longer with the firm!  I wonder if our complaint had any impact on that?  When exposed to fraudulent activity they are bound to investigate and this one did not!

 “We also conducted follow-up discussions with various members of the County Board.  The results of our procedures did not support the allegations and we found no evidence of any impropriety.”

Discussions with various members of the board?  YES, they have confirmed exactly what we have been trying to expose for over a year, a select few on that board think they control what goes on in this county, and so far they have gotten their way, illegally!  The discussions SHOULD have been in an open meeting with ALL the County Board members, NOT various members!

Why no evidence of impropriety found?  because the board refused to let them look past the last year!    The procedures established were to ONLY look at the last budget year and that procedure ensures the auditor is protected for Failing to report the illegal acts they missed in previous years.  By claiming there was nothing found it appears was their sorry attempt to discredit the Watchdogs.  Sorry folks, you can’t discredit the truth!  They found nothing becuase they were forbidden from looking at the very years of theft we presented for two key reasons.  1.  Exposes them for not doing there job during those years and 2. Protects there hand picked people from having the theft documented by a licensed firm that cant be ignored.

I challenge this county board, just as I did at the meeting, to prove my allegations wrong.  I challenge the States Attorney to sit down and look at the evidence of illegal spending and tell the public it didn’t happen.

My presentation begins at 3:58 mark however just before taht was Mr. Kraft exposing yet another peice of property that is not being billed for property tax.  He covered that story here: Property Tax not being paid.




Property Taxes and Assessors

EDGAR CO. –

At a time when property taxes increased by over 100% for some property owners in Edgar County, the Edgar County Watchdogs are still finding property where no tax is being assessed. The latest piece came to us by accident while we were waiting for the monthly Animal Control meeting to begin. Several people were looking at the waste-high weeds next to a corn field that belongs to the Edgar County Cemetery Association and I decided to check to see if taxes were being paid on the property. Of course, knowing how things operate in this county, we already knew the answer before looking at the records in the assessors office.

Edgar County Cemetery Association

After obtaining the tax records from the treasurer, our suspicions were verified. Taxes were not being paid. Property owned by the Edgar County Cemetery Association is tax exempt property, UNLESS they lease it out – as the case with farmland on North High Street. Generally speaking, the Illinois Property Tax Code states exempt property, once leased, is treated as nonexempt property- with the leaseholder (the farmer in this case) responsible for property tax payments.

No Surprise after City of Paris Transfer Station and Ingrum Waste

This should not come as a surprise to the Edgar County Board, as we raised the issue in their April 2012 meeting, where I talked about Edgar County leased property that is taxable and the fact that the county is wanting to pay the property taxes on the property instead of the leaseholders. I also talked about the discovery I made with the City of Paris property (Transfer Station lease to Ingrum Waste) that has been listed as tax exempt, when in fact it was leased – again no property taxes paid to the county as there should be. I talked about the fact the City of Paris has been submitting false certificates of tax exempt status to the county assessor. The signature of the city attorney at the bottom verifies the information provided is true – in this case it turned out to be false. The same issue was brought to them prior about the farm and hangar leases at the Edgar County Airport.

Assessors, County Board

 One has to wonder if the assessors are properly serving the People, townships, and county by allowing certain properties to go untaxed. Where is the oversight? It is my belief, the County Board should immediately require a complete records and property inspection of all property reported as tax exempt property – and seek the prosecution of those submitting false or incomplete paperwork to the assessor.

Role of the Board of Review

The Board of Review is responsible for assessing all property that was omitted from the assessment books. Leased property falls under this catagory when it is identified as not currently being assessed.

To approve all Homestead Exemptions

To ensure all assessments are equitable within the county and townships…

To hear valuation complaints and adjust assessments on their own inititative after property owner has been notified and given an opportunity to respond.

Illinois Property Tax Code

Official Notifications Sent

In the past couple of weeks, I have sent two notifications to the County Assessor and to each county board member requesting that certain properties be immediately listed, assessed by the board of review, and a tax bill sent that included the current year and the past three years – as the law allows. You can view these documents here:

Transfer Station Letter

Cemetery Farm Letter

 




Elected Tax Assesor Forced to Resign – Conflict of Interest

EDGAR CO. –

David Wright of Kansas is the Deputy Assessor in the County Assessors office.  He was also the elected multi-township assessor for Kansas, Grandview and Buck Townships. 

After over a year of investigating and fact-finding it became clear everyone’s expressed concerns that holding both offices was a conflict of interest are in fact true. 

This was one of those situation where pretty much everyone knew it was wrong considering he would be in a position as a Deputy Assessor to review his own work performed as a Multi-township assessor. 

The challenge was getting anyone to listen and read.  As many of you know the resistance to fixing things in this county is overwhelming.  After months of hitting brick walls we came across an opinion from the Attorney Generals office specifically on this very subject. 

http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/opinions/1993/93-017.pdf

We forwarded that opinion to a county board member who presented it to the States Attorney. Shortly thereafter we received a copy of Mr. Wright’s resignation letter.  Dave Wright Resignation

Note that in Mr. Wright’s resignation letter he reports he has been doing this since 1986.  That leads to a pretty simple question.  How is it that for 26 years no one has either recognized or even asked if there was a conflict of interest? 

Why did I look into this so hard?  because Mr. Wright is our Kansas Tax Assessor.  Our house property and farm out buildings have not changed since 1961.  The actual footprint of our property has not changed since it was established in 1901.  Then last year we received a tax bill that raised our taxes 104% on our home property.  Upon investigating our own tax records we found numerous errors and the responses we got pertaining to those errors was enough to piss off the pope!

Q. Your records report that our house has a finished attic.  How did you determine that?

A. You have curtains in the windows.

Truth: Our attic is not a finished attic and I invited them out to prove it.  They corrected it on the recording and reduced our tax!

Q. Your records report that we have a full finished cement basement.  How did you determine that?

A. It has windows in it.

Truth: Our home was built-in 1901 on a foundation of Bricks with a half cellar with brick walls.  So you see our home does not have a full finished cement basement.  It got corrected and reduced our tax.

Q. The outside dimensions you have for our home are not correct.  Who measured it?

A. Those measurements were taken by a group of High School students as part of a class project.

Truth: Tax assessor collected pay for work he never did or had someone else do and because of that we have paid more in taxes because of their error!

Q. Your records show a building on our property that does not exist and has not since 1962.

A. It’s not my job to remove the buildings you take down.  If you don’t tell us it stays on the tax record. 

Truth: We elected a person to do his job, which was property assessment.  Something I think we can all agree is happening to often, even though the economy is down, our assessments keep climbing.  If he was doing his job then he would see that there is no building there and the card in their office should be corrected.  This is a perfect example of a conflict of interest.  He is supposed to be working for WE THE PEOPLE on one hand and ensuring we are treated fairly and accurately yet he does nothing to correct the tax card in his capacity as Deputy Assessor.  Building was removed from the record and reduced our tax.

Q. Why did my property boundary change.  Nothing has changed since this property was built and the building locations have not changed in 50 years yet now you have doubled my lot size. 

A. We have a new program that uses areal imagery to measure your lot.  It wasnt measured properly in the past so you have had less tax all this time.

Truth: So for over 50 years each and every time an assessor comes out and assesses our property they did it wrong?  NO, that is not it at all.  If it is, they should have all been fired and forced to return their pay for not doing their job.  The truth of the matter is the County is broke and it’s the assessors office that controls the money flow coming in. Easiest way to do that is increase lot sizes on property with a new program.  They changed our lot size as a means to increase my taxes, in my opinion!  There is no foundation to change a lot size that has been the same for over 100 years.  They refused our request to correct this wrong.  Here in lies a huge conflict of Interest!

Now that we have proof a conflict of interest was clear it would seem logical that everything Mr. Wright did in those capacities that raised our taxes should be reversed.  It was wrong and We The People paid the price. 

While addressing this matter I saw people come into the tax assessors office who had their boundaries changed as well and increased their taxes, in some cases 600 percent.  I know I am not the only one that this has happen to so how many others are willing to stand up and fight this ongoing increase of our property taxes?

Q. Why have all our creeks on our farm property been changed from wasteland to tillable ground, or CRP ground?

A. The computer does that.  We will correct it.  Just tell us where the creeks are and we will fix it.

Truth: Someone programmed the computer to do what it does!  If you don’t catch this stuff, your ground that was considered waste ground as the lowest tax there is now gets dumped into a higher tax bracket and you pay.  They KNOW it’s happening but are silent and unless you bring it up you pay the price. We got it corrected and reduced our tax.

This is not an isolated case either.  Locally one of our largest farm owners in the area went through the same thing I did. 

If we have elected officials who only look for things that raise our taxes and ignore those that reduce them we have a major problem.  

We The People are to be represented by our elected officials in a manner that is fair and just.  I think it’s clear from just this one example, the single events that happened to me lay out a very clear picture these people have forgotten they are public service employees.  They are not placed there to make our life harder to live yet that is what is happening.

Why has this happened?  Because We The People have let it happen.  We became complacent and so busy making a living we didn’t take time to get involved.  I am of the opinion not getting involved is like not having car insurance.  It,s too late to get it after an accident.   

Get involved people and stand up for your rights as citizens and ask bold questions.  The truth has no agenda!