OLIVER, IL. (ECWd) -
We have written about this unethical and unlawful situation in Clark and Edgar Counties before but thought it time to remind all those still interested that there has been no legitimate effort to rectify this problem.
In fact, the Clark-Edgar Rural Water District (CERWD) Auditor recently (and wrongly) noted that the District could do whatever they wanted with these deposits, including using them to provide services to other people, would never have to return the funds to the individual making the deposits, and would never have to even provide them water service.
There are currently 420 service deposits paid to the CERWD for service connections, some dating back to early 1989, who have never been provided water service.
Here is how this scam works, the district conducts a survey in a township to see who is interested in obtaining water from them, they then collect "deposits" or "tap-on fees" (in violation of the Public Water District Act) for the proposed service, use those promised contracts to obtain state and federal grants and loans, use them to obtain funds thru bonds, and then only connects those people that can easily be reached wherever they chose to run the water lines. In our opinion, this borders on grant and bond fraud by using the list to obtains the funds, knowing all of the promised connections will never be made, and then keeping the deposited funds indefinitely. Then they go one step further and have their auditor tell them they can use the funds deposited for other people and never have to connect or return the funds to the original depositor.
As we have written in previous articles, there is no statutory authority for a stand-alone water district to collect any tap-on fees or deposits of any kind - but they continue to do so because they found an attorney to write them an "opinion" that won't hold water in a court.
Imagine being promised, 27 years ago, that you would get connected to the water district, only to find out they plan on using your improperly taken "deposit" to help connect someone else.