Zero Transparency: McLean County

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.

 

Taxes Vote

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?

 

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Comments

  1. So the vote was to steal from taxpayers savings to put into the countys savings when the county’s savings account has a cool million in it. That’s how liars and thieves operate.

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    • The reserves aren’t a million – that’s just the additional revenue received. I would have to look at every fund balance to see how much the actual reserves are.

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  2. If ever a government entity needed a watchdog it is most surely the McLean County board. My hope is that more of this stuff is going to get exposed because there is a land mine of open meeting act violations, total lack of transparency, accountability and complete disregard for your tax dollars. The board is filled with a bunch of “had beens,” like Segobiano who has been on for 150 years, Caisley and Buchanan, who both need to be in a nursing home (I would recommend Sugar Creek to deal with their apparent dementia), Ben Owens who has numerous campaign finance reporting violations, Matt Sorensen (recently resigned) who should be in jail. And to top it off, if you’d like to come and watch this show in action, meetings are conveniently held the third Tuesday of each month at 9 am, when most tax payers are working to pay the higher taxes imposed on us by them.

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  3. Way to get more than point of view, Diana. If you bill the blog as “news,” you should talk to more people than just the most conservative board member. Again, I’m left expecting more from you.

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