DuPage County, IL. (ECWd) –
After learning of the “DuPage County Human Services Grant Fund“, I tried to find out under what statutory authority the County had to make such donations.
Thinking that Chairman Dan Cronin’s “ACT” Initiative was actually worth more than simply buzzwords (Accountability, Consolidation, Transparency), I submitted two separate Freedom Of Information Act requests (below) seeking whatever authority the county used to justify donating $1,000,000.00 to local non-governmental agencies. No responsive document were provided, instead they claimed I was seeking for them to provide research. I would think they researched everything prior to awarding monetary grants using public funds, and no further research would be required.
For the past several years, DuPage County has donated public funds that amount to around $1,000,000.00 each year. This article is not to say those non-profits are not doing good work, but rather to say we do not believe all of those non-profits are eligible to receive public funds from a county.
The source of the funding, according to page 6 of their slideshow, is sales tax.
There are several paragraphs in the Counties Code explaining what a county can donate to, and they include:
- supportive service to prevent unnecessary institutionalization of elderly residents, or, for senior citizen services provide social services to elderly residents
- economic development purposes and promotion of economic development
- for taxes levied for general assistance for needy persons (placed in a special fund) and used only for the purpose levied, with excess funds allowed to go to County Nursing Home purposes (with other restrictions)
- for taxes levied for social services of senior citizens (after referendum approval)
- County Economic Development tax (for counties with less than 100,000 population) (with several restrictions applied)
- Charitable donations for aid to persons in need of assistance – this is strictly to receive donations and to disperse those donations to those needy persons
- Grants to Community Action Agencies – who serve residents of the county, with funds received from the “State and Local Fiscal Assistance Act of 1972”
- Youth services bureaus – must be written agreement and used for those under 18 years of age (55 ILCS 5/5-1089)
- Runaway or homeless youths – (55 ILCS 5/5-1090)
DuPage County Policy (here) and slideshow (here) on the grants explain county requirements an organization must meet prior to receiving a grant – we believe some of these requirements do not match up to the counties code, which we will explain later.
We have requested further information on the grant applications and meetings where these grants were discussed, but you have to ask yourself why they are taxing this million dollars if it is intended to be given away? Why not lower the tax?