Coles Co. (ECWd) -
As the State of Illinois crumbles from failures of our public officials to know and do their job, one only need to look at their local government to see much of the same problems. For years we have been asking public officials a simple question. Where in the law does it give you the power to do what you did? Commonly known as Dillon's Rule.
Who knew Coles County was $1,105,000.00 in Bond Debt? According to its Comptroller filing, the county sold Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2008, among other Bonds, to "finance construction of an office building for the Regional Office of Education". The original issue of those bond was $600,000.00 of which they currently owe $270,000.00, however that number does not reflect the interest.
Is county government allowed to sell bonds to build an office building for the Regional Office of Education? Where in the law does it give them the power to do what they did?
How the game is played.
The School code has outlined County Board obligations as it relates to the Regional Superintendent.
(105 ILCS 5/4-2) (from Ch. 122, par. 4-2)
Sec. 4-2. Office and supplies. Provide for the county superintendent of schools a suitable office with necessary furniture and office supplies.
Although the counties code does not specifically permit the County to bond for an office building for the Regional Superintendent, the Building Commission Act does, which is how the county built this office building.
Is there anyone in their right mind that spends $600,000.00 plus interest to build an office building so you can provide a suitable office for the Regional Superintendent?
Under Dillon's rule, the Building Commission has 1)powers granted in expressed words; 2) Those necessarily or fairly implied in or incident to the powers expressly granted, and 3.) Those essential to the declared objects and purposes of the corporation, not simply convenient, but indispensable.
Working backward, most would agree that building an office building is not essential in order to provide office space. Some may contend that building an office building is necessarily or fairly implied to the power granted of providing office space. I think that is a stretch. That leaves us with the first rule, powers granted in expressed words.
Although the Building Commission has the power to sell bonds and build buildings, the Public Building Commission Act has limitations set by resolution when they were created and can not be expanded without the approval of the voters. The PBCA states, The County Board of any county that has created a public building commission for a limited and specific purpose may expand that purpose by resolution.
- What did the Resolution creating this commission outline as the limited and specific purpose?
- Why are the taxpayers of Coles County burdened with this expense when the Regional Superintendent represents six others counties from that office? (Clark, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Moultrie, & Shelby Counties)
An FOIA request has been issued for a copy of the original Resolution that "shall specify the limited purpose for which such Public Building Commission is to be created." Any bets there was any reference to the construction of an office building so the county would be able to provide a suitable office for the Regional Superintendent?
As this relates to the other counties obligations, we understand there is a lease agreement with those counties and the Building Commission. That too has been FOIA'd and we will update accordingly.
We also note there have been numerous school superintendents that are convinced the duties of Regional Superintendent could easily be performed by the applicable School Superintendents, which would save a small fortune to the taxpayers.