CLARK CO. (ECWd) -
As we have done in the past, we will continue to do in the future: Expose the truth with facts to include public records and state statutes.
In what we have been told is an effort to imply we have not done our homework on matters, the Marshal Advocate ran a story regarding my claim the funds from the sale of the Mass Transit operation shared by Clark and Edgar County still belong to those counties respectively. Sadly, the reporter, Gary Strohm, should have been the one to do some more homework.
In order to better understand a few things for those not familiar with the most basic principals of law as it relates to our local government bodies, you must first realize one very important fact! Those government bodies only have the power to do what the law says they can do!
So the questions that come out of the resolution that this reporter referenced as the reason the county can't keep the funds from the sale of assets by the East Central Illinois Mass Transit District must first be answered.
- Can the Clark County Board draft a resolution to "join" and "annex" into the Rides Mass transit? Yes they can because state statute says they can.
- Can they appoint a board member to Rides Mass Transit? Yes they can because state statute says they can.
- Can they transfer all assets received by the Treasure upon the dissolution of the East Central Mass Transit District, assigned and conveyed by the County Treasure to Rides Mass Transit? No they can not because nothing in the state statute for county government permits the giving away of public assets!
- Can they give Rides authority to Rides to apply for Grants and Operating assistance after July 1st, 2013? No they can not because nothing in the state statute for county government permits a county to grant powers to another public body!
Had this reporter done his homework and investigated the matter he would have known I was well aware of the resolution he referenced as I wrote about that resolution and provided a link to it in an article a year ago. (Click Here for previous article)
The reporter stated: "This may have been allowed by state statute. However, except for a resolution approved by the county board."
Does he not realize that just because a resolution is passed it doesn't make it legal? Using his logic the county board could pass a resolution to give all the board members a raise effective immediately. Sure they could vote on such a resolution and even implement it however it would be 100% illegal to do because it would be a violation of our Illinois Constitution, which is state law.
Without statutory language authorizing the action you're forbidden from doing it!
In addition, it's not that it "may have been allowed", as it's a mandatory act by statute so those funds clearly are "required" to be divided accordingly but please don't take my word for it. Read the statute for yourself! How hard is it to understand "shall be disposed of by payment to the treasurer of the county or municipality which created it, or if created by 2 or more municipalities or counties, by payment to the several treasurers!
And as if that is not clear enough for a reporter to understand, I challenge him to find any language in that statute that permits the county board to GIVE AWAY county assets paid to the treasurer!
(70 ILCS 3610/9) (from Ch. 111 2/3, par. 359) (Click here for link to entire statute)
Sec. 9 ..... "After payment of all its debts and settlement of all obligations and claims, any funds remaining after the sale and disposition of its property shall be disposed of by payment to the treasurer of the county or municipality which created it, or if created by 2 or more municipalities or counties, by payment to the several treasurers, first, to repay in whole or pro rata, funds advanced to the authority, and the balance, if any, pro rata according to the length of scheduled transportation route miles operated in the several municipalities and unincorporated areas of the several counties during the preceding calendar year."
The purpose of my informing the board about their portion of the funds is because the law clearly supports that it belongs to them. They should still have hopes of receiving that money because the law outlines that a portion of those funds do in fact belong to them.
One other very important element that the reporter failed to report on, is what must happen long before the annexation resolution can be adopted, which in this case we suspect is the very legal foundation to demand the return of the money from Rides Mass Transit.
If the participating municipalities and counties approve of such discontinuance of the Eastern Illinois Mass Transit District, they may by ordinance or resolution, as the case may be, authorize the District to discontinue its services and wind up its affairs. A copy of such ordinance or resolution or both, shall be filed with the county or municipal clerk or clerks and the Secretary of State.
We know that no such resolution to discontinue services was ever passed but just to make sure again I submitted a FOIA for the minutes where a vote was taken to adopt such a resolution. And for the record, the resolution that was passed by the board did not contain ANY language pertaining to discontinuing services, which is a prerequisite of annexing into another district! (Click on the link for the MINUTES and RESOLUTION).
This morning I received the response to my FOIA and no such resolution was provided pertaining to a vote to discontinue services!
For the sake of a great debate, lets assume they did vote to discontinue services. The law very clearly requires them to wind down their affairs and after all debts are paid the money BELONGS to the Counties involved, PERIOD!
But again, don't take my word for it. Read a properly prepared resolution that followed the letter of the law! (Click here for an example of a legal resolution on terminating services of a Mass Transit District)
What did I say in July of 2013 about this matter?
"I believe that this entire mess will again prove to be a real problem down the road when more facts come out and more questions get answered."
Clark County, GO AFTER YOUR MONEY!