PARIS and HARRISBURG, IL. (ECWd) -
RIDES Mass Transit District (RIDES) has filed its answer to Edgar County’s Motion to Dismiss.
Here is our opinion on their argument(s);
RESOLUTION IS VOID AT ITS INCEPTION
The Edgar County Ordinance and Resolution never set forth the five requirements to form a contract under Section 5 of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act
On page 3, RIDES looks to the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act claiming it gives the County the authority to enter contracts under Section 5 of the ICA, which at first glance appears to do that. However, this Ordinance was not a contract as defined under Section 5. Requirement of using Section 5 as authority include the mandated provision that any contract “shall set forth fully the purposes, powers, rights, objectives, and responsibilities of the contracting parties”.
The Edgar County Resolution/Ordinance 0413 (found in this article) fell short on those requirements as follows:
- It only authorized dissolving ECIMTD stating that ECIMTD could no longer perform those services, and
- Adequate services could be performed by a larger Mass Transit District, and
- ECIMTD determined it should dissolve to provide Clark and Edgar Counties the opportunity to join a contiguous Mass Transit District.
- Then it goes on to say that the ECIMD should wind up its affairs and distribute all remaining fund to the County Treasurers of Clark and Edgar Counties.
Later, in a Resolution, Edgar County purported to dissolve ECIMTD, that the county board annexed Edgar County into RIDES-MTD on July 1, 2013, and that all assets left from dissolution of ECIMTD be conveyed to RIDES as the County’s “contribution to RIDES”
Then, RIDES passes two Resolutions in June of 2013, one annexing Clark County and one annexing Edgar County. More on that later…
RIDES DID NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO PERFORM THE ACTION
CLARK COUNTY NEVER PASSED AN ORDINANCE DISSOLVING ECIMTD
EDGAR COUNTY COULD NOT BE ANNEXED INTO RIDES
In Section 9 of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, the legislature carved out special conditions for counties to participate in intergovernmental agreements. The main mandate is that a county can participate in the absence of specific authority, provided, that “the unit of local government contracting with the county has the authority to perform the action.” This appears to specifically and expressly prohibit any contracts or agreements where the unit of local government does not have authority to perform the action (see Section 3 of the ICA which limits cooperation in these instances).
RIDES did not have the authority to perform this action (and still doesn’t) because Clark County never voted and approved a Resolution or Ordinance dissolving the ECIMTD. See this article written in 2013. What Clark County did, instead, was what we initially stopped Edgar County from doing, which is why Edgar County re-wrote their dissolution Ordinance.
Without Clark County voting to dissolve the ECIMTD, neither Clark nor Edgar Counties could be annexed by RIDES according to law. The District must be contiguous to the county being annexed, and with Clark County not properly annexed, Edgar County is prohibited from annexing due to it not being contiguous with the District.
RIDES claims that citing Section 9(b) of the Local Mass Transit District Act make Edgar County's claim invalid. However, Section 9(a) is what Edgar County should have used, which actually put further limits on where the remaining funds are distributed. The Resolution should still be held void.
DOWNSTATE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ACT DOES NOT APPLY
Finally, RIDES relies on the Downstate Public Transportation Act, 30 ILCS 740, for the authority for Edgar County to give these funds to RIDES. RIDES Cites Section 2-15(b), which is wrong…the language they are using is found in Section 2-17(b) and applies only to “a County or Counties” that provide public transportation in such county or counties. Another requirement is to file 3 copies of any public transportation agreement with County Clerk and the Illinois Commerce Commission and must thereafter comply with “An Act concerning public utilities”. The language RIDES points to only applies to counties who operate their own public transportation and have complied with the Illinois Commerce Commission rules found in Section 2-17(a). Edgar County and Clark County do not operate their own public transportation.
RIDES also cites Section 1005 of the Counties Code, 55 ILCS 5/5-1005(3):
3. To make all contracts and do all other acts in relation to the property and concerns of the county necessary to the exercise of its corporate powers.
This Section does not authorize the County to give these funds to RIDES.
SECTION 4 OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION ACT DOES NOT APPLY.
RIDES cites Section 4 of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Act, failing to understand that Section 4 only applies to “administrative joint boards” or other legal or administrative entity created to “operate the joint or cooperative undertaking” – something RIDES does not meet the definition of since it is its own “unit of local government”. This section was clearly meant for entities like the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency (IMEA) which is truly a “joint or cooperative” board – or more local, the Paris Cooperative High School, another truly “joint or cooperative” board.
Mandamus cannot mandate an act in violation of law.
RIDES repeatedly asserts that both Edgar County and RIDES “falls under” the above referenced Acts. We agree. However, “falling under” those Acts means they must comply with the provisions spelled out in those Act. Giving these funds to RIDES is not allowed under any of the above Acts.