Shelby Co. (ECWd) –
Over the years we have exposed a laundry list of malfeasance and illegal activity in Shelby County and each time we see two patterns emerge. One is those who will dispute any exposure of wrongdoing by attacking the messenger on any front possible while ignoring both the bad conduct and the actual message. The other is one where good people do their own homework and realize the message is accurate and rather than ignore it, they step up and get involved in being a part of the solution to fixing the problem. Shelby County is at the forefront of being the example of how a Constitutional Republic is supposed to operate as we have seen the latter example of people far more often in Shelby County than any other place in the state.
One of the milestones showing they are leading the charge in good governance was when the Shelbyville Township citizens tossed the Township Board, Clerk, and Supervisor after exposure of both malfeasance and illegal acts and then elected all new members. Those new members who stepped up to fix the problem rebated $735,000.00 to the taxpayers of the township as reported at this link. That same board put a stop to the over-taxation created by the prior board and these actions led to a state law limiting taxation in Townships to prevent what took place by prior officials.
After exposure to the illegal Shelby County farm lease, confirmed by two former State’s Attorneys, the county farm ground sat idle for one year. It was then that a select few naysayers who had never so much as stepped foot in a county board meeting in prior years became local ‘experts” on the farm and its leasing. The former State’s Attorney Nichole Kroncke went so far as to testify on her attempt to change the law by claiming: “..it is estimated that last year alone Shelby County lost between $60-$80,000.00 of lost revenue..”. We covered that portion of her misinformation to the House of Representatives in this article. A few locals picked up that unfounded revenue claim and spread it all over social media as if it was the gospel. Neither the former SA nor these locals had a shred of proof to support such claims.
Total Shelby County Farm income: (Revenue minus expenses)
- 2017- $28,003.20
- 2018 – $27,401.21
- 2019 – $31,485.91
- 2020 – 38,072.69
- 2021 -$6,958.13
- 2022 – ($6,849.55)
While the orchestrated effort by a few to go back to the old way of doing business and lease the farm to a private farmer, it’s clear, they are either in total denial of good business practice, have lost all sense of what income really is, or have lied that making money is really their goal for the county.
The average revenue to the county during the leasing operation for the 6 years above averaged $20,845.27. That figure amounts to a whopping .45% of the entire Shelby County revenue sources. As the numbers prove, the county did not lose an estimated $60,000.00-$80,000.00 as some have falsy said for going on 2 years.
Was our request for the law to be followed years ago really a bad thing as some have claimed, or is the truth of the matter it has led to good people stepping up and ensuring county revenue from the farm ground is higher than ever seen before?
A select few board members stepped up to the plate and went with a custom farm operation. Due to the county not having the needed budget to move forward at the time, a local farmer stepped up and donated his efforts, as did others, to get a crop in and out for the county. Rather than include the actual expenses related to that year of farming, a select few ‘experts’ started spreading false information and implied the county made $177,145.18 while ignoring the $6,849.55 in taxes and farm improvements the county paid and the fact that one year did not include any custom farm expense as it has this year.
As it stands, for 2023, keeping in mind the county budget cycle is not January-December, the County has an income of $110,564.19 from the custom farming operation. While there is yet a wheat crop to harvest and custom farm expenses to be paid, the numbers indicate that custom farming is the best course of action if they are going to farm the ground. That figure accounts for 2.27% of the County revenue to date in 2023, which is just over 5 times what it was leasing the ground out for a private farmer, the path a select few want to go back to. Why do these few ‘experts” want the ground leased rather than custom farmed?
These are just a couple examples of how malfeasance exposed has led to a clear benefit to the county both financially and reputationally. Ignoring the select few that have continued to spread false information about these matters, the fact remains, good people took the law to heart and took the appropriate steps to be good stewards of the county’s resources. Those steps have earned them a reputation for being law-abiding officials who have the taxpayer’s best interest in mind.
It is our understanding the current direction for the county farm is to harvest the wheat and then identify the burial sites properly to resolve the unknown grave site issue on the farm ground before moving forward with further farming operations.
Our hat is tipped to the officials in Shelby County that are actually fixing things for the good of the taxpayers.