By: Diane Benjamin
Last November the McLean County Board raised your property taxes.
According to Board member Wendt, the County revenues were $1,000,000 higher than the previous year. It wasn’t enough.
Something interesting happened before the final budget vote. An amendment was offered by member Erickson to use part of the reserves instead of raising property taxes. Member Segobiano stated that the reserves are a savings account and everybody has one. Sorry, everybody doesn’t sir.
Member Wendt stated reserves are created by over-taxing the citizens.
The conversation was very long and enlightening. Luckily, audio of the meeting is available. http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/4420 You can click anywhere on the audio and probably pick up the back and forth. The vote on the amendment came around 1:07:00.
I say luckily the audio is available because the approved minutes to not reflect what happened. You can see the minutes here: 11-17-2016 minutes Page 4 and following lists much of the discussion, but not who voted to raise your taxes. Actually, the County NEVER lists who votes yes or no. Much of the time it’s immaterial because the votes are unanimous, but raising taxes IS a big deal and citizens have a right to know who voted for it. I STRONGLY urge you to read the comments starting on page 4 or listen to the audio. The entire conversation is not reflected in the minutes.
The members highlighted in yellow below are the no votes to the amendment. The vote was 9-9 – Matt Sorensen cast the deciding vote to reject the amendment therefore raising your taxes. Yes, Republicans voted for you to pay more! Look up what party they claim to be in here: http://www.mcleancountyil.gov/index.aspx?nid=464 Sorensen claimed to be a republican.
Evidently I need a ruling from the States Attorney about minutes and recording the vote.
Does it make any sense that an audio is needed to find out who voted for what?
Back in October of 2014, the Illinois Attorney General ruled McLean County’s Public Comment Policy violated the Open Meetings Act. See the story here: https://blnnews.com/2014/10/02/mclean-county-slapped-by-attorney-general/
The same old policy is still listed on the County website.
I’m going to ask the Attorney General for a ruling on listing actual votes per member.
The question then will be: Does it matter?