EDGAR CO. (ECWd) -
At the September 2012 Edgar County Board meeting, we were informed the board was not going to transfer the $71,100 from TORT fund to general fund. This comes on the heels of a question I presented to the board during the August meeting. At that meeting I requested an itemized list of expenditures supporting the transfer of TORT funds (a special fund) to the general fund.
Unanswered FOIA Request
A Freedom Of Information Act request was also sent asking for receipts and invoices for the funds in question. On August 13, 2012, I requested the following information from the Edgar County FOIA OFficer, a 5 day extension was asked for, and to date no response to the FOIA request has been received.
- Copy of all transactions/receipts/expenditures of the TORT Fund since Jan 2011.
- Copy of all transactions/receipts/expenditures of the Dog Fund since Jan 2011.
- Copy of all transactions/receipts/expenditures of the Rabies Fund since Jan 2011.
In light of the unanswered FOIA request, there most likely were no invoices or receipts to support the transfer of funds. We have been informed this transfer has been done every year, which is the reason the board wanted to transfer again. I believe the State's Attorney informed the board they canot use TORT funds purposes outside the scope of the law. Wow, what a novel idea!
In past articles, we have explained the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act in how it related to local government entities. The proper use of those funds are pretty clear. The bottom line is the TORT fund cannot be used as a slush fund for local governments.
Truth In Taxation
Illinois law makes it illegal to use levied funds for any purpose other than its original purpose. General fund tax increases (over .5%) require voter approval, while TORT tax increases fall outside the cap on property tax increases and can be raised as any time. The law is specific on allowable expenditures from this fund to prevent its unauthorized use.