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June 18, 2024

Joe Hackler – Do You Condone Spending Taxpayer $$$ This Way?

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On September 25, 2013


Arcola Township has continuously sent simple Freedom Of Information Act Request to their attorney, needlessly spending hard earned tax money and like some other public bodies, will attempt to say FOIA requests are costing them too much, which is BS.

Mr. Hackler, this article is not about any attempt to make you feel bad, but it is an attempt at pushing you into demanding that the township you are elected to represent put a stop to this useless spending of your constituent’s tax money. I don’t think they will be happy when they read this. Please talk to the other trustees about this and don’t let them tell you they have to, because there is litigation of a lawsuit, as that lawsuit has nothing to do with this request.

I recently sent a FOIA request to Arcola Township, requesting the following:

1.       Detailed list of all income and expenses of the “Comfort Station Fund” since April 1, 2011.
A general ledger printout or a financial transaction history report will be sufficient.

Thinking something as simple as that would not “ruffle any feathers” I actually expected a response commensurate with the level of professionalism a public office should have.

Oh, how wrong I was…what I received was basically what I would frame as low level intimidation, similar to the kinds of letters sent to previous FOIA requestors of this public body. Instead of simply providing the requested public records, they decided to spend Arcola Township money, your tax money, money that I am sure you worked very hard to earn.

Mr. Mark Petty, Petty Law Office, was given the FOIA request and authored a letter, on the backs of the taxpayer, to tell me they would provide what I asked for, a “general ledger printout or a financial transaction history”. Only this was not any ordinary letter, it was more of an attempt by Petty Law Office, on behalf of Arcola Township, and ultimately in behalf of the citizens in Arcola Township, to make a FOIA requestor like me somehow feel inferior to their “superior minds” – IT WILL NOT WORK!. After all, they run the place and who are we to ask anything of them?

When reading his, I mean YOUR response, please note that he refused to even acknowledge that I sent a FOIA Request, but instead insisted on referring to it as a “request for information” – which it was not. It was a FOIA Request, or Freedom Of Information Act Request.

Mr. Petty , in this letter, thinks they only have to provide “documents”, which is a false statement. What they must provide upon request is the following, taken directly out of the Freedom Of Information Act:

(c) "Public records" means all records, reports, forms, writings, letters, memoranda, books, papers, maps, photographs, microfilms, cards, tapes, recordings, electronic data processing records, electronic communications, recorded information and all other documentary materials pertaining to the transaction of public business, regardless of physical form or characteristics, having been prepared by or for, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body.

Although the following has nothing to do with the request and letter in question, I must also mention that another part of the Act the Township refuses to acknowledge applies, is the part about Records of Funds:

(5 ILCS 140/2.5)
    Sec. 2.5. Records of funds. All records relating to the obligation, receipt, and use of public funds of the State, units of local government, and school districts are public records subject to inspection and copying by the public.

When you combine the — USE OF public funds with the having been prepared by OR FOR, or having been or being used by, received by, in the possession of, or under the control of any public body; any person with an 8th grade education can understand that credit card receipts were prepared for a public body when the card was used, and cell phone bills were prepared for a public body when they were printed and mailed to the public body as part of the monthly cell phone bill.

View the FOIA Request and the Letter from the Citizens of Arcola Township (via Petty Law Office) – you should all be proud to spend your money so he can write letters as idiotic as the one he sent to me.
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  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 16:16h, 25 September Reply

    I’m a little confused. Why would Mr. Petty need to send a letter at all? Why not just send information requested.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 17:21h, 25 September Reply

      That’s what I was thinking…

  • Arcola Lola
    Posted at 19:55h, 25 September Reply

    Joey, 3 weeks ago I asked you a question. You still haven’t bothered with an answer.
    The question was,
    Do you (Joey Hackler) agree with what Richie Rich said about you voting against a raise for Deana only because you didn’t want it to be taxed?
    Why is it so difficult for you to answer that question? I know that there are people waiting for a response.
    And don’t bother coming back with a response like “I won’t comment to nameless posters”. That has proven to be untrue!

    • Joe Hackler
      Posted at 20:58h, 25 September Reply

      As I said before… “Not the case.” Why again can someone I represent not tell me their name? You mentioned something before about the Secretary being “vengeful”, or something of the sort as a reason you won’t. Well, I am not the Secretary. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who have asked me why I would respond to nameless cowards, nameless people can say whatever they want with no repercussions or accountability. I agree – I share their frustrations. But, alas here I am still willing to talk and you still won’t have the decency to be public, to come neighbor to neighbor and discuss the issues. I feel sorry for that fact. I chose you to say this to because of people on here, you have been the most personally insulting and out of bounds so if even you can address me public person to public person, even after everything you have said – then that will set a good precedent for others on here if they actually want to talk to me.

      • Arcola Lola
        Posted at 21:32h, 25 September Reply

        Oh my, you have been taught well haven’t you? You did everything BUT answer my question. I do not have to give you my name, just know that I am registered to vote, and you will not get my vote next time. You work for me! Not the other way around!

        • Joe Hackler
          Posted at 22:19h, 25 September Reply

          I plan to serve only one term but thanks for the heads up! God Bless ya.

          • Arcola Lola
            Posted at 22:54h, 25 September

            Just to give you a heads up. I will not go toe to toe with someone that is obviously too inexperienced to know when to stop talking and when to answer the questions. I will not entertain someone that can’t answer a question that was directed to them and only sidesteps said question.
            Now, in response to your snide comment about serving only one term. This explains A LOT! You don’t care what happens, you are not planning on being here. Guess that’s typical of someone who is nothing more than a college kid looking for a path to political greatness.

  • purple raider
    Posted at 07:04h, 26 September Reply

    Joe,I hope you are prepared to stand for awhile,because Arcola Lola kicked your butt again.Why can’t you answer the question?As always when you guys are confronted with a question you won’t or can’t answer you change the direction.
    P.S.-neighbor to neighbor usually meets face to face,have you called Terry Foran yet?

  • Taxpayer
    Posted at 07:45h, 26 September Reply

    Is everyone paying attention? Joey Hackler was hand picked for this election, Butch Mast was hand picked for this election, Dale Knowles was hand picked for this election, Barney Joergens was hand picked for this election, Corky Clark was hand picked for this election. All knowing nothing about township business yet they were to be good little pawns for the 3 who set up this scheme to spend our tax dollars anyway they want to with no accountability. Bill Coomb, Mark Nacke can’t you control what your secretary is doing. Did you really think putting this group together would let you cover everything up. .At some point you are going to run out of reasons why the public cannot see the receipts for all of your spending of our tax dollars. We can’t blame the little pawns here the blame has to be put where it belongs. The little pawns are starting to realize this now. How dirty is this whole mess?

  • Wont B Fooled Again
    Posted at 08:18h, 26 September Reply

    Now it’s all making more sense Joe.The questions asked about the caucus and the way it was run,and now you say your leaving after one term.Well thats just great,getting the Township into a lawsuit,letters from the Il. Atty. Gen.,and leaving the rest of us to clean up the mess you guys have made! If you don’t care to leave your hometown in better shape than you found it,then maybe you step down now and go back to Springfield.I for one am going to stay here and fix what you guys have screwed up,I know there are others that will help.Think what you want,but those you call “nameless cowards”are like minded people building a better Arcola.

  • JW
    Posted at 09:31h, 26 September Reply

    Bill Coombe , Mark Nacke, Corky Clark, were all 3 of you not born and raised in Arcola. Why is it that you are trying to mask the activities of the township. You keep giving all of these requests to a lawyer that was not born and raised here. Why can’t you guys just give the receipts that these guys are asking for? Or maybe the reason you 3 are trying to hide this information is that maybe it is not going to turn out for the best for Arcola Township, which you guys are running. Since you are all home town boys surely you have a little respect left for Arcola to put an end to this mascaraed. We as taxpayers could end up with a little respect left for you if you could make that happen.

    Posted at 23:36h, 26 September Reply

    Guys and Ladies…..John and Kirk can not do this alone …In our county we are starting a fund drive to help these guys out ..We are seeing results in just 3 or 4 months from their work . It looks like gilman and their health dept. will recoup over one million dollars from the flood grant..why because of E C W D….PLEASE HELP.. MURRY

  • Unhappy Taxpayer
    Posted at 07:13h, 27 September Reply

    $300.00 checks to Sunrise Gas,$2600.00 A/C unit for house trailers, and farm fuel.All this and Supervisor Clark refusing to call for an audit.People have been asking for the Township to be audited for weeks, and it has fallen on deaf ears.Court dates set and postponded,foia’s sent and incomplete information returned.What do we (taxpayers) have to do to look where our tax money has gone?Anybody have any ideas?Anybody?

  • Murry
    Posted at 07:59h, 27 September Reply

    Sorry about the post I put up last night… it was late. What I’m trying to express is that we have 2 guys here that are laying out their heart and souls for county’s they don’t even live in. We need to support they’re efforts because they are supporting us by exposing the corruption in OUR local government. They can’t ask for funding but they can accept it. As I said last night, we are doing fundraising because of the amount of taxes they are going to save us from the misuse of our government funds. We have already seen a difference in the FOIA’s they have gotten back. The wear and tear on their cars and trucks – even if everyone sent them $100 – that wouldn’t put a dent in the expenses incurred driving from county to county. The question you have to ask is “do you have time to do what they do for us?” Probably not. So let’s show our support of this very worthy cause.


  • CPA
    Posted at 13:49h, 27 September Reply

    Unhappy Taxpayer why don’t you listen to Mr. Murry from Gilman. Try to round up about $1500.00 for an accredited Auditor and let Ecwd bring him over with them, then we could see all the books. If it is private money they could surely make that happen

  • jmkraft
    Posted at 15:02h, 27 September Reply

    Are the Comfort Station and the Township Offices both the same building…with the same entrance?

    • Arcola Lola
      Posted at 15:24h, 27 September Reply

      Yes they are in the same building. But the door is locked…

    • Richey Rich
      Posted at 16:13h, 27 September Reply

      Yes Sir, its all in one.

    • john doorman
      Posted at 16:59h, 27 September Reply

      if so whats the big deal

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 15:16h, 27 September Reply


  • Unhappy Taxpayer
    Posted at 15:38h, 27 September Reply

    jmkraft, yes same building and same entrance.CPA count me in for $250.00 towards a audit.Come on people ,lets round up some cash and get a look at OUR books!

  • jmkraft
    Posted at 17:28h, 27 September Reply

    What part of the building is the “Comfort Station”?

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 17:34h, 27 September Reply

    Good question. I assume the main lobby and restroom. You might have to FOIA them for this info. Good luck.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 18:26h, 27 September Reply

    Joey, can you tell us what part of office is comfort station?

  • Watch Tower
    Posted at 19:05h, 27 September Reply

    I will match the $250.00 from U.T. Money well spent tracking down my tax money.Bring the audit on!

  • Aware n Arcola
    Posted at 19:32h, 27 September Reply

    CPA count me in for $250

  • jmkraft
    Posted at 21:40h, 27 September Reply

    Does the Comfort Station offer internet access as a “comfort” or something, or was that $549.89 check meant for something else…?

    • Richey Rich
      Posted at 22:40h, 27 September Reply

      Maybe the comfort station extends to Kemp!!

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 21:54h, 27 September Reply

    I Seriously doubt it would be available to public. I’m sure they will now say it was, though. Who is check payable to?

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 22:12h, 27 September Reply

      a local wireless ISP

  • Richey Rich
    Posted at 22:10h, 27 September Reply

    Hey Joey, your name is up in lights on this one, I see you ignored a direct question. Lets keep it simple so you dont get off track. What will it take to get the gas reciepts for the card or cards used by Deana?

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 22:39h, 27 September Reply

    Pretty expensive wireless service!! Something else to get to the bottom of, huh? I am furious knowing the thousands of dollars her and Mark have wasted. Then they have the nerve to whine about being broke.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 05:56h, 28 September Reply

      It was for a year and comes due again in December.

  • High Rider
    Posted at 07:19h, 28 September Reply

    CPA I’ll go $100.00 and Joe,I don’t want to hear any more about your so called “audit”.Your auditors have looked at the books since 1998,and never caught the lack of 1099’s for gas card compensation to the seceretary.Some of us are offering our own money for audit,are you in favor or not.Yes or No?

  • CPA
    Posted at 07:34h, 28 September Reply

    Joey, Nice non answer but it looks as though you might not have any choice in the matter. It appears the taxpayers are getting pretty tired of all the games you at the township are playing with taxpayers money . It did not take very long to raise 1500. After all those are not the township books those are taxpayers books that everyone has a right to see how there money is being spent. Surely Joey you can agree with that without more information?

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 07:48h, 28 September Reply

    Some have posted that township pays for her internet.

  • jmkraft
    Posted at 07:56h, 28 September Reply

    For those that like the quote of “we have been audited and they found nothing wrong”, I have just two words for you: “Dixon, Illinois”.
    they too were audited year after year and found nothing wrong…until someone went on vacation…then they found $53,000,000.00, fifty-three-million-dollars, that was stolen over a period of 15 or so years. Nobody is saying anything has been stolen here, it is just the fact that routine audits do not look everything. Here in Edgar County the annual audit only looks at what the county board tells them to look at, and then only sees what people show them – but, hey, it passes the state mandate…

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 09:00h, 28 September Reply

    Instead of blaming certain people for starting this investigation (which is LONG overdue) they need to drop their arrogance and admit mistakes have been made and start correcting them. First step would be getting rid of Deana. She is the biggest problem. Then next election we can take care of the rest of them.

  • Corn King
    Posted at 09:11h, 28 September Reply

    It is great that you guys are putting your money up for an audit. I am concerned that if the Clerk or Secretary will not produce records through a FOIA, how do you think an auditor get any information? The auditor can ask, but I dont know if there is any law stating that they have to produce records. But there is a law through FOIA and they do not comply. Maybe Mr Kraft can give his opinion on this. My money is on ECWd not an audit. Its just going to take time.

    Posted at 09:53h, 28 September Reply

    John and Kirk are better than ANY audit …Just send money and support to EDGAR COUNTY WATCHDOGS ..I don’t know their address just look it up…they also need your tips too…MURRY

  • Aware n Arcola
    Posted at 16:47h, 28 September Reply

    jmkraft and Kirk Allen,how about it are you guys up for a Dixon type audit?I’ll see you guys get monetary support from us,after all it didn’t take long to raise a audit fund.By the way does anybody know when she goes on vacation?

  • Wally
    Posted at 07:20h, 03 October Reply

    Is this the calm before the storm. Rest easy for now township board your day of reckoning is coming. Bill Coombe, Mark Nacke , Corky Clark, and Deana Shields are you ready to star answering questions?

  • JW
    Posted at 16:44h, 09 October Reply

    Hey Joey and Corky have you read the paper today about all the good things that are happening with the TIF maybe you need to go back to all of your voters and tell them the truth about there tax dollars. After all Joey you are just a 1 term guy and Corky you were just doing what you were told by the secretary.

  • Unhappy Taxpayer
    Posted at 07:28h, 11 October Reply

    JW,would you consider giving a check to the Township for $761,000.00 to clean up a lawsuit because they were under insured one of the good things?After all it was TIF money that helped bale them out.

  • Jim C
    Posted at 14:26h, 17 October Reply

    All has quieted down here in Arcola Township since all the farming has started. Maybe Bill Coombe can get his farming done before he answers all the Foia requests. They have been doing just what the federal government has been doing kicking the can down the road to avoid answering any questions. Nov. is coming soon, then maybe us taxpayers will start getting some idea about how bad the township books are. Hope the watchdogs keep the pressure on. If they need some assistance just let us know here. If they can bring this out in the open then we can get rid of the bad apples and move on to better things. I know we are all fed up with the federal government and we have the same thing going on at the township level. Where did they learn this?

  • Aware n Arcola
    Posted at 07:29h, 18 October Reply

    You are right Jim,Nov. can’t get here soon enough.The Dogs will see to it that the Twp. answers the FOIA’s they have sent,then they will have to start explaining.Hey Joe,how are you doing with your homework assignment,people on here are still wanting answers.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 16:10h, 20 October Reply

    Joey is too busy assuring everyone that he has everything under control. He is still trying to convince all of us that the TIF is the reason the Township is having financial problems. Having a high paid secretary (that no other Township of our size has), all the wasted money by Nacke doing personal favors for everyone with township equip., paying thousands of dollars for the secretary and her family’s gas, all this plus more has nothing to do with it. What a jerk.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 17:00h, 20 October Reply

      You forgot about the part where they declared someone a “first responder” (which he isn’t) so they could justify him taking the township vehicle home (and anywhere else) at night.

      • Shadow Puppet
        Posted at 20:28h, 21 October Reply

        Who declared Nacke a 1st responder? How would he be contacted as a 1st responder? Is Deana his dispatcher? Joey did you have anything to do with this? I want an answer.

  • Unhappy Taxpayer
    Posted at 07:22h, 21 October Reply

    J.W and jmk,all the questions are bringing to light just what they been up to all these years.People have started to notice thr Rd. Comm. driving his own truck more,and the lack of for his farming operation.As for Joey,he is in over his head,all the talk before the election was just that-talk.Many of us are waiting for the court date to answer the FOIA’s,that should start some very intresting talk out of the Twp.

  • Mike
    Posted at 15:48h, 21 October Reply

    It looks as though everyone is starting to see thru the smoke screen these clowns thru up at the election just so they would keep there jobs so no one could find out what was going on. All was blamed on the TIF for making the township broke. But look now all the “unsigned” facts that was sent out are turning out to be correct. And by the way that was public information also. And Bill Coombe will not release any information on the township, what more do you think they are hiding. It appears they cannot come up with anymore reasons for why they need more money, so now it is just a waiting game. I hope the taxpayers win this game it would be fun to beat the arrogance of this government that they could steal our money and think they can get by with it. It did not first appear that these guys were criminal but if you take something of someone else’s isn’t that stealing?

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 17:37h, 21 October Reply

    Mike, they are still blaming it on the TIF.

  • Watch Tower
    Posted at 07:39h, 22 October Reply

    Mike,the smoke will start to clear after the Nov.court date.The township is no different than a young child,always looking to blame someone else.The refusal to answer FOIA’s has brought more questions along with some answers.Such as the fact that R. C.Nacke and seceretary Shields cooked up a gas card deal nobody knew about untill Supervisor Clark informed us that it went back to 1998.And yes all those years of comensation without filing 1099’s.The first responder issue,the personal favors,the use of township equipment for personal gain,the vacation trip at taxpayer expense,and the list goes on and on.I find it ironic that the TIF extension they fight so hard is not only a life line they used in the Maladay lawsuit,($761,000.00 payed out of TIF)may be their down fall in the end,because of their actions in the past.Clerk Coombe once stated the township has never been questioned before,and now that they are they don’t like it.Well I don’t care what they do or don’t like,I want answers,and thanks to the Watchdogs we will get them.

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 10:30h, 24 October Reply

      “Maladay lawsuit,($761,000.00 payed out of TIF)”
      When was this lawsuit and how did they justify paying the settlement out of TIF?
      Was it in a Federal or Circuit Court?

      • Shadow Puppet
        Posted at 18:54h, 24 October Reply

        Circuit Court, Douglas Co Case# 1993L17
        “Aware n Arcola” Posted this some time ago) so I dont know if this is 100% correct,
        $741,600.06 Thats the amount of TIF funds recaptured for the Arcola Township lawsuit.This amount was paid out from 1999 through 2009.When the Twp. asked for help to pay off the lawsuit,they were told payments toward the lawsuit were not TIF eligibe.So working with Rep. Tim Johnson and Springfield they could run the money through the County,the County could then give the money to the City which in turn would write the checks to the Twp.By doing it this way,the funds were earmarked for the Twp.The city in no way,shape,or form ever fought to keep the funds from getting to the Twp.Because of the structure of the TIF as mandated by Springfield,this was the only legal way to pay the Twp.They in turn sold bonds to cover the rest of the lawsuit.If anybody would like to see the letters written and actions taken in this matter,the city has all such documents on file for anyone to read.

  • Mike
    Posted at 09:50h, 22 October Reply

    Watch Tower, Don’t forget the couple of comments coming from Bill Coombe and Corky Clark the first saying the township cannot survive with the TIF district in place (Brilliant Assumption) and the second saying if the TIF goes away your real estate taxes will go down, another one of their lies to mislead the public from the real issue. With the town making such big gains what could their motives possibly be to try and hurt the City and School from further growth? Is this all for their personal gain or a power trip for the top four at the Township? Regardless it is all pretty disgusting to have this happening here in Arcola. I hope these guys can hold their heads high and tell the citizens of Arcola we did this for our Community. but it does not look like we can believe too much of what comes out of the township anymore (not too reliable). So why don’t they open up those books and just let everyone see what has been going on. I am sure we can think of several other things that was put into print from the township that just isn’t exactly true.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 08:21h, 23 October Reply

    Let no one be fooled. Everything that comes out of their mouths goes back to one person. DEANA. she has absolute control of that office and in the end will be the cause of their downfall. She needs to go!!!!! She tried to do same to Hindsoro. They were smart. They got rid of her. Now when are we going to wise up?

  • Richey Rich
    Posted at 12:11h, 23 October Reply

    JW, they need Deana. Not a one of them know how to do the job they were elected to do. She has taken over everything, so she is invaluable to them. They will need a quick course in their duties after this is all over. But really what is there to do at the Township on a day-to-day basis anyway, Man the comfort station? Gotta laugh at that. I think the Queen of Kemp is going to have a rude awakening. I assure you she still thinks she is untouchable. The watchdogs have brought down bigger fish than this. Save the date: Nov 14 2013.

  • We Are Watching
    Posted at 14:41h, 23 October Reply

    Richey Rich there is a lot to do at the township like setting up fundraisers for the Douglas County sheriff’s primary. You know she has her favorites and after all she has worked on plenty of elections out of that office .Oh I am sorry, Comfort Station. Maybe Fred Galey will get to use the office also

  • Lake Lady
    Posted at 07:22h, 24 October Reply

    Remember the talk of the phone calls made from the Township office?Don’t be suprised about the fund raiser,after all she has the sheriff in her back pocket too.He sat on the Township board when they got the $761,000.00 from the city.Mark and Deana ran a fish fry for Sheriff Magrew and his relection.Richey,maybe that helps explain why we need the office,there seems to be alot of stuff to control in the Township.I also look foward to Nov.14th.

  • School Zone
    Posted at 10:41h, 24 October Reply

    Joe Hackler,I hope you read this weeks Record-Herald.The TIF money we get at the school is greatly appreciated.I remember you saying one of your goals was to do away with the TIF,why?Can’t you see the good it does in the school and community?With the State of the shape it is in we need to watch out for ourselves.Now,I don’t claim to know all there is to know about the financial condition of the Township but,after reading some of the posts and doing a little research I don’t see the dire straights you claim the Township is in.I hope you reconsider your stand on TIF,after all $80,000.00 for a Comfort Station appears a little extreme.

  • CPA
    Posted at 11:49h, 24 October Reply

    School Zone, In the beginning it was Bill Coombe and Mark Nacke saying the township can’t survive with the TIF in place. Or was it there secretary telling them to say that. Well now that time has passed it has became very evident that just because they say so maybe that is not exactly true. All of the figures that are shown in the paper with there financials and the over spending that they have admitted to so far maybe they could reconsider there stance on TIF. After all Mark Nacke said in an open meeting that they did not want to do anything that would hurt the school. And we all see in the paper if the TIF does not get renewed there are only two more payments left and then the school can depend only on the state money and we all know where that is. So township why don’t you worry about cleaning up your own mess that you have gotten into and let the school and the rest of the town move on. No more smoke screens if your financially in trouble show everyone and maybe we could understand. Hiding behind a lawyer is not very convincing that there is not something seriously wrong at the township. Creditability of the township after all that has been brought to lite, is not there strong suit. I think we all have a little trouble believing anything Bill Coombe and Mark Nacke would have to say right now.

  • Jim C
    Posted at 15:24h, 24 October Reply

    I believe we would have trouble believing much of anything coming out of the township from any of them . With there sneaky attitude toward not letting anyone look at the way they keep any of there books without consulting a lawyer what could anybody take from that except there is something very wrong. If there wasn’t then what could be the big deal?

  • Watch Tower
    Posted at 19:21h, 24 October Reply

    Your right CPA,how could any taxing body in this state gripe about a short fall with the balances they put in the paper.Just look at the last 3 years of their financial reports,they have gone up each year.All that with gas cards amounting to who knows how much,not to mention what else there could be since they won’t release the FOIA information.Yes indeed their creditabilty is very lacking,but I suppose thats what you get when you question someone thats never been questioned before.

  • jmkraft
    Posted at 19:26h, 25 October Reply
  • Watching
    Posted at 14:17h, 28 October Reply

    JMKRAFT, we see by your article we here in Arcola are not the only ones that think they are above the law about giving out information. It appears from the agenda tonight from the arcola township meeting you are on again tonight. They are going to talk about your FOIA request and they are going to discuss the hearing coming up. Letter from Bill Coombe and letter from Mark Petty. Do you think they are going to start agreeing with you guys for a switch. Might be interesting reading. If anyone would attend or ask for minutes it might be quite different from the agenda

  • Aware n Arcola
    Posted at 07:40h, 29 October Reply

    Joe,how did the Meeting go last night?Did the board discuss all the items on the agenda?Since the Township doesn’t alow their meeting minutes to be published in the paper,how about posting them here?I know you don’t like to meet face to face,so you should feel right at home putting the actions the board took last night here.I’m sure jmkraft has better things to do,but maybe he could get the minutes by way of a FOIA.Come on Joe,think back before you were elected and carry out the promises you made.Don’t forget your actions on this board will be scrutinized in the future,and you are a young guy.THINK ABOUT IT!

  • Richey Rich
    Posted at 10:48h, 29 October Reply

    Their agenda is a joke. Executive session is on every agenda. I think it’s a place for them to go and hide if need be. I believe there is a timeline to potentially release those minutes. Do you think the almighty Dept Clerk knows that? She should for what she gets paid. But knowing and doing are two different things. Maybe its time for a FOIA request of any executive session minutes that have been released for the public to view. I would wager there aren’t any. Dec 2012 the agenda had (Executive Session – Caucus). I don’t believe that would qualify for discussion in executive session. They do what they want. November 14th is getting closer.

  • Politically Correct
    Posted at 08:07h, 30 October Reply

    It’s to bad it has come down to this.Joe, you claimed to run for this board as a fresh face with new ideas,when in fact it seems the exact opposite.Here’s some examples of new ideas you might try to incorporate into the board.How about posting the minutes of the meetings in the paper or if thats to much trouble on the window at the office.Answering FOIA’s the Township has recieved so as to avoid legal action.Also closing the Comfort Station would help,since it’s not really being used for it’s intended purppose,such as being open for festivals held here in town.Joe,the Township has a creditabilty problem and the vail of secrecy is not helping.Other taxing bodies have had to deal with issues like the ones facing the Township,and when they are adressed quickly and honestly the matters are resolved and everybody moves forward.So here we are Joe with a court date facing the Taxpayers of the Township and a board unable to do what they were elected to do……BE ACCOUNTABLE to the taxpayers of the Township.Joe you are a young man and I wish you every success this country has to offer,but remember this,I know this is just a small position on a small board in a small town,but you are a member of the board.And as a board member what action or inaction the board takes,like it or not, will be a part of your resume.

  • Big in Bowdre
    Posted at 09:43h, 30 October Reply

    Richey Rich and Politically Correct your whole board is a joke, every body watching is just waiting for another one of there bone head moves. They have gotten themselves into a position now that they are going to show those watchdogs that they are the kings of your tax dollars and no one can question that. You guys are picking on that poor little Joe when we all know who really runs the show. Joe ,Bill, and Mark can say whatever, but it don’t really count until she says it is so. After all, what are they hiding by not answering the Foia’s. These three do not have a mind of there own and can’t figure out why she does not keep receipts and it looks as though the rest of the board does not care. Now anything they say does not matter much to anyone except in there little circle. They cannot hide forever she showed her true colors here and maybe it will happen there.

  • Legal Eagle
    Posted at 17:15h, 30 October Reply

    B n B and PC it may be after the court hearing the ball will start to roll.Starting with the cacus and the phone calls made from the office,there are serious questions that deserve an answer.That being said others such as the lack of receipts,1099’s for compensation,audits that some how miss accounting and proper business procedures,A/C units bought that don’t comply with limits set by the board,also need to be adressed.All this and more can be brought to bare through the court proceedings.A ruling in favor of the ECWD will make answers to these questions and future FOIA’s much easier to come by.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 17:19h, 30 October Reply

    Big in Bowdre, BIG difference though. You guys were smart and GOT RID OF HER!!!

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 17:32h, 30 October Reply

    Big in Bowdre, You guys were smart. YOU GOT RID OF HER!!!

  • Richey Rich
    Posted at 09:40h, 08 November Reply

    Well, Well I see that the Township Clerk has a lot of time on his hands from reading this week’s article. I assume he has all his ducks in a row for next Thursday. He was crying a river in the Record Herald this week about how they have been working with 1992 funding all these years. Very misleading. I wish someone would explain how you can have more dollars at the end of a budget year and be working from the same funding as 1992. A $4,600 raise for your part time secretary, fancy new door lock, internet paid at her home, gas for her before her raise, attorney fees that are not needed and who knows what else. Times are tough. I hope most will read that bogus article and see through the smoke and mirrors.

    • jimbob
      Posted at 15:08h, 08 November Reply

      42% of Arcola’s available EAV is in TIF. No other community in east central Illinois, besides Tuscola (mall) has their EAV take up more than 5% of EAV. Not Champaign, not Mattoon, not Charleston, not Monticello, not Paris, nobody… Can you now see how that would constrain budgets like the Road District? If there was no TIF then we could set property tax rates against 37 million EAV but with current TIF we can only set them against 21 million. This is why we have highest property tax rates in the county and area. People praised TIF for giving the school a bunch of money couple weeks ago but if they understood how TIF works then they would realize that TIF takes more then double the amount they gave back away from the school district every fiscal year! Please tell me how that is sustainable? It is simple math, please learn.

      • Richey Rich
        Posted at 08:31h, 09 November Reply

        jimbob, Some of your comments are correct & some are not. You seems forget the referendums that were passed to pay for the new school building and the education fund. Lets not forget the lack of insurance for a lawsuit that also affected the property tax rate. So go ahead blame the property tax rate solely on TIF. Thats what your election was based on and it is a lie. The way I understand it the proposed extension will carve out major EAV and allow all taxing bodies to have some relief. Oh and do your really think there would be 37 million to levy against if the TIF was not put in place? Let me answer that for you, NO. With your post it clearly reads that you are either the skirt at the township or one that has to check himself at the door before you are allowed to come in. Because you are so smart with math, please tell us how the Township can have more money at the budget yearend than they started with? We are just killing time till Thursday.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 06:40h, 09 November Reply

    Jimbob, the Township would be in much better financial shape if they would get rid of the extremely overpaid PART-TIME Secretary (who with all the money the township has allowed to spend attending meetings) doesn’t even know how to retain records properly and who the township has paid for all her gas for her and her family for years, and who the township has paid for her cell phone and home internet and is the reason the township is having the current problems with Watchdogs and the list goes on and on. It is simple math. Please learn. Your post has nothing to do with Watchdog issues.

  • Unhappy Taxpayer
    Posted at 07:00h, 09 November Reply

    jimbob-if you are so worried about the Road District and it’s budget,ask the Road Comm. how many THOUSANDS of DOLLARS of road patch and blade mix are out at J.B’s.I believe it’s a couple of years old and to hard to be used on the roads.

  • Watch Tower
    Posted at 17:57h, 09 November Reply

    jimbob,I hope you take the time to read Richey Rich,those of us not lead around by the Queen know he’s right.As for the budget issue,why don’t you ask Mark Nacke about the patch Unhappy Taxpayer wrote about,then post an explanation here about the waste of taxpayers money.Take your time,because your going to have to dig deep to figure out a way to blame it on TIF.

  • Lake Lady
    Posted at 07:03h, 11 November Reply

    jimbob,have you talked to Mr. Nacke yet?I too would like to hear that explained.I hope the Township is ready for the 14th,I’m sure the Watchdogs are.

  • BIG
    Posted at 07:13h, 11 November Reply

    jimbob nobody really cares what you say in the paper or these posts your credibility has went to the toilet when you only print what you want your uneducated people to see. That makes it look like you are really on top of things(genius). You should have read a little more while you were in Philadelphia about the constitution what we are interested in is what you are going to tell that judge on Thursday about why you don’t want any taxpayers to see any receipts for the expenses at the township maybe if you would spend more time on something you know we could all be in a better place. Maybe that fact will be in the paper next week

  • CPA
    Posted at 16:37h, 11 November Reply

    After reading the letter in your local newspaper from Bill Coombe I became very curious why he would be opposing the TIF so vocally. I was looking at the web site Environmental Working Group and came across the farm subsidy program which has all the payments to the farmers of Douglas county. These subsidies were paid out between 1995 and 2012 to mention a few Richard Mohr $431,000, Joe Fortney $176 ,000, and Bill Coombe on one of his farms $423,000 now farm subsidy program has been in effect for many years and it is a tool to spend your tax dollar to help subsidize the farmers for growing us a safe and abundant food source. The Tif like the subsidy is also just a tool to keep your tax dollar local and to help subsidize business at a local level. Coombe claims it has made the taxing bodies work from a 1992 budget which is not entirely true because not all real estate in Douglas county is in the tif area , whereas all of your federal tax dollars from Douglas County has been allotted since 1995 and before for the subsidy program ,so does that mean the federal government is working from a 1992 budget also? I think not. The three that are mentioned above seem to be the most vocal about tif.. It appears that we may have conflicting standards here. Unless there is another motive. This has been a very hot topic for some, maybe the ones that believe that these guys know everything about what they are talking about might want to ask these guys to show you ALL of those figures of how this is hurting funding of our Road District. I have heard that a few have tried to see those figures but they don’t seem to be too available. It does not appear the Road District is in too much financial trouble from looking at there balance sheet. I don’t believe it is any taxpayers dream to grow our government any more. So lets grow our town. Thanks for listening

    • jimbob
      Posted at 00:03h, 12 November Reply

      “a tool to keep your tax dollar local” — Yeah, you definitely don’t know how TIF works or the effect it has on taxpayers and taxing bodies. Please, do some research on TIF, you folks seem to be the only group who glorifies it. Last I checked, Arthur is doing quite nicely, has way lower property taxes, and better roads. How many TIF districts do they have again?

  • Aware n Arcola
    Posted at 19:17h, 11 November Reply

    CPA,from reading your post am I to understand the local public does not benefit from the farm program?The amounts listed below rival the $761000.00 the township got to settle the lawsuit.Your amounts go to just one person?It does seem to be a bit of a conflict.Thanks for the tip on the web site.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 08:52h, 12 November Reply

    Jimbob, Arthur didn’t have a huge tax increase due to a Township lawsuit. (I remember how much my taxes went up because of it) They have better roads because they have a Road Commissioner that actually does his job. Get off blaming TIF on your problems and clean up your own house.

    • jimbob
      Posted at 12:34h, 12 November Reply

      Road Commissioners have no authority over roads within city limits. That is the Village of Arthur’s jurisdiction as well as the City of Arcola. The contrast between our roads and theirs is stark. Your folks’ ignorance is shining through more with each post. Keep going!

      Who paid for the lawsuit? Oh yea, TIF…so it would be impossible for any increases in twp tax levy to pay a lawsuit (cuz it didnt happen) to have affected your prop tax rate. You want to know what affects your prop tax rate?? With no TIF, tax rates would be set against 37 million EAV. Because TIF takes up FOURTY TWO PERCENT of EAV, tax rates can only be set against 21 million, which means they have to be higher to meet taxing bodies budget needs. FOURTY TWO PERCENT of EAV taken up in TIF is the highest percentage BY FAR of any community, big or small, in East Central Illinois – and maybe the whole state. The idea that one lawsuit worth 3/4 of a million, PAID OUT OF TIF, has an affect on your prop tax rates and 15.5 million worth of EAV captured by TIF does not, just doesn’t make sense. Please rationalize, it should be entertaining.

  • Knight
    Posted at 10:55h, 12 November Reply

    jimbob again you spout just what you think all your people want to hear. facts and figures tell the story, Fact Arcola township lawsuit raise levy on property taxes to max, lawsuit paid with tif dollars Arcola township did not lower levy. Fact Arthur does not pay there secretary of the road district $100,000 plus Benefits a year. Fact Arthur actually works on there roads. Fact as your road commissioner publicly said in a bar once ,if like what Arthur has to offer why don’t you move there. But actually we know who you are and we don’t want you. It sounds as though you might have your hands full Thursday with your court date it looks as if all of this other stuff will work out alright.

  • taxpayer
    Posted at 11:40h, 12 November Reply

    jimbob your problems are at 108East main why don’t you stop throwing up all the smoke and mirrors and just answer the foia requests from the ECWD. If what you are telling everyone is the truth then what is the issue. How long can you keep up these charades. Bill Coombe get over yourself and do your job. Do the right thing instead of hiding behind a lawyer and put jimbob in her place you have not fallen that far yet.

  • Corn King
    Posted at 16:31h, 12 November Reply

    All the bickering is not going to solve anything. The watchdog group is standing up to the Township for the lack of complete FOIA request. You all have turned this into a he said she said, including Joey Hackler. We all need to wait until this Thursday is over and focus on the real issues. Fact is, the Clerk has not complied.

  • Shadow Puppet
    Posted at 17:28h, 12 November Reply

    jimbob, you want to compare. There are NO and I repeat, there are NO Townships in the area close to the size of Arcola’s that have a secretary. Why do you need one? CPA brought up a good point about subsidy’s. I was told that the Township Supervisor Clark has rental apartments and the rent is subsidized by the government. That subsidy affords less fortunate to have a place to live. Meanwhile Mr. Clark enjoys the tax payers dollars for his personal income. While I am on the band wagon. Dale Knowles received TIF assistance to purchase his Automotive Business and Mark Petty their attorney received assistance for his office building. Dale and Mark have vocally put down the possibility of a TIF extension. They got what they wanted and to hell with anyone else.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 17:52h, 12 November Reply

    Jimbob, you are the one that needs to get your facts straight. The lawsuit was for more like $3,000,000. The TIF only covered a portion of it. Us taxpayers paid the rest of it. I’m surprised your extremely overpaid PART-TIME Secretary with all her invaluable information didn’t tell you all this. You are the only one that sounds ignorant.

  • Just Wondering
    Posted at 17:18h, 14 November Reply

    Watchdogs, please tell us this is not the end of it!!!!

    • jmkraft
      Posted at 21:04h, 14 November Reply

      Never! I will write an article tomorrow, but it was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Basically I failed to properly serve the summons on the Township. I never said I was an attorney, and that showed with the improper service. The next one will be proper.

      By the way, there was no ruling on the public records disclosure since there was no jurisdiction.

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