McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
I have tried to figure this one out and just can't come up with any other explanation other than redistribution of wealth, as in Algonquin Township Road District tax dollar resources being given away to Cuba Township.
We have been told there were IGAs between Cuba Township Road District and Algonquin Township Road District. Although we are awaiting any such copies from Algonquin Township Road District, it won't change much as it relates to the point of this article.
According to Cuba Township Highway Department, records were lost in a flood last year so they have no copies of any Intergovernmental Agreement between them and Algonquin Township Road District. Intergovernmental agreements are permitted but they are not to be used as a means of redistribution of resources.
(5 ILCS 220/5) Sec. 5. Intergovernmental contracts. Anyone or more public agencies may contract with any one or more other public agencies to perform any governmental service, activity or undertaking or to combine, transfer, or exercise any powers, functions, privileges, or authority which any of the public agencies entering into the contract is authorized by law to perform, provided that such contract shall be approved by the governing bodies of each party to the contract and except where specifically and expressly prohibited by law. Such contract shall set forth fully the purposes, powers, rights, objectives and responsibilities of the contracting parties. (Source: P.A. 91-298, eff. 7-29-99.)
We have obtained records from Cuba Township that makes it clear, Algonquin Township resources were used at NO CHARGE for the benefit of the Cuba Township Road District, which at the time was under the control of Thomas Gooch as the Road Commissioner. Gooch is Bob Miller's current attorney in legal action against him in McHenry County courts.
What makes this situation so interesting is how the same services were billed to Cuba Township when Gooch was no longer the Road Commissioner. Why was it free to Gooch and not his predecessor?
So that there is no misunderstanding, we are not implying that these two public bodies cant work together on projects. They can, but with limitations. The IGA authority was never intended to make it ok for one public agency to tax it's residents so that they could have their funds applied to the residents of another taxing district.
As we understand the IGA Act, as outlined above, it only provides certain powers approved by the public bodies and limits their powers to those authorized by law to perform.
(605 ILCS 5/6-107) Sec. 6-107. Road districts have corporate capacity to exercise the powers granted thereto, or necessarily implied and no others. They have power: (1) to sue and be sued, (2) to acquire by purchase, gift or legacy, and to hold property, both real and personal, for the use of its inhabitants, and again to sell and convey the same, (3) to make all such contracts as may be necessary in the exercise of the powers of the district. (Source: P.A. 96-996, eff. 1-1-11.)
The evidence points to Algonquin Township labor and machinery being used at NO CHARGE for the inhabitants of Cuba Township. That appears to violate the above-referenced statute as machinery is, in fact, personal property of the Road District and the laws specifies its use to be for the use of its inhabitants.
- May 2011 - Hydro excavate slit trench and locate utility lines - NO CHARGE
- October 12, 2011-Milling for Cuba Township Road District at various locations. Labor: 27 hrs. -NO CHARGE
Billing for such services after Gooch left office shows how such a transaction would be proper, assuming the IGA spells out the required items, which we are still waiting to confirm.
- August 27, 2013 - 12 Hours of milling at Tower Lakes Mill & Labor: $250.0 an hour - $3,000.00
We believe that a proper application of the IGA Act is when the contract ensures only powers provided by law are exercised and that one taxing body is not being used to fund the costs of another taxing body.
For example, Algonquin Township Road District has equipment and resources that can benefit another and those resources are provided under the contract. A contract that would have been substantially more expensive if done with a private entity. Algonquin Township Road District is compensated for the use of that equipment so those taxpayers are made whole and Cuba Township Road District was able to provide a service to their taxpayers at a reduced cost.
It is clear at the 2013 rate of $250.00 an hour for milling, Cuba Township received approximately $6,750.00 worth of services for free.
In short, Algonquin Township Road District resources were given away to inhabitants of another district in 2011 and done so in violation of the Road District law in our opinion and quite possibly a 14th Amendment violation.
Any argument that tries to claim they can do this would then also imply you can be taxed in Algonquin and the equipment purchased can be used by all other communities at no cost. Yes, that is an extreme example but that is the simplest way to point out why the actions taken with Cuba Township in 2011 are inconsistent with our laws and their intent.