By: Diane Benjamin
The worst part of the Council raising your property taxes last night is they did it for no good reason. They might need the money in the future, so 3% it is. You lucked out, it could have been an increase of 5%.
I attended the Danvers Council meeting last night with John Kraft and Kirk Allen of the Edgar County Watchdogs. We hear the Council was on their best behavior because they knew we were coming. The November meeting had been held in a tiny room where dozens of people could not fit and could not hear what was happening. The Watchdogs and numerous citizens had requested future meetings be moved to a larger room, the mayor finally relented last Friday.
The Watchdogs video taped the entire meeting and will likely be posting it with more comments at some point.
The agenda was not available at the meeting, neither were the minutes from the previous meeting or disbursements approved for payment. The crowd of between 45 and 50 had no clue what the Council was voting on without these documents. The website hasn’t been updated for a long time either. Transparency is zilch. The citizens were allowed to ask questions and they actually got answers! One in particular was about the contract for repayment of tearing down the building the village doesn’t own. Hint: There is no contract.
Even with a flag standing to one side, the Pledge of Allegiance wasn’t said.
Back to property taxes:
A motion was made to not increase the levy, I believe by Ron Sparrow. It went to a 3-3 tie, the mayor voted NO and killed it.
Next was a 3% increase, it passed. Mayor Caisley (judge’s son) stated the increase is needed because someday they may want to redo the maxed out sewer system. If that is what he wanted the increase for it should have been a dedicated tax so that money can not be used for any other purpose. The increase will now go into the general fund with no direction or limitations for spending it.
Lots of other things happen, one particularly funny. The video is needed for it, I will leave it to the Watchdogs.
With a population of around 1189, almost 4% of the population attended this meeting. Imagine if 4% of Bloomington and Normal bothered to attend a meeting!
The expensive village lawyer did way too much talking. There was no reason for her to attend, especially when she didn’t notice the Council voting on items not on the agenda. (Open Meetings Act violation)