MARSHALL TOWNSHIP, CLARK CO., IL. (ECWd) –
St. Mary’s Cemetery in Marshall, Illinois is a privately owned cemetery operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, tax parcel number 08-08-24-09-101-001, and is a new discovery of ours – in a previous article, we wrote how the City of Marshall used the advice of their attorney, who obviously cannot read properly, and voted to give the Marshall Cemetery $10,000 again this year.
This article shows the Township of Marshall has given St. Mary’s Cemetery at least $15,900.00 from 2012 thru 2015 – that is $15,900.00 of public funds given to a private cemetery in violation of every law governing cemeteries and townships. I understand they will redistribute more township taxpayer wealth to the cemetery again this year in the amount of $5,300 – bringing the total to $20,900.00 from the township for this cemetery and more than $68,900.00 to both cemeteries total (if payments go out this year) – in violation of law. The taxpayers of Marshall Township should be questioning why they are being excessively taxed each and every year if the township is going to simply give their money away.
With a cemetery owned by a religious organization, it appears this redistribution of your wealth might also violate the Constitutional provisions found in Article X, Section 3:
SECTION 3. PUBLIC FUNDS FOR SECTARIAN PURPOSES FORBIDDEN
Neither the General Assembly nor any county, city, town,
township, school district, or other public corporation, shall
ever make any appropriation or pay from any public fund
whatever, anything in aid of any church or sectarian purpose,
or to help support or sustain any school, academy, seminary,
college, university, or other literary or scientific
institution, controlled by any church or sectarian
denomination whatever; nor shall any grant or donation of
land, money, or other personal property ever be made by the
State, or any such public corporation, to any church, or for
any sectarian purpose.
Additionally, Article VIII of the Constitution applies as a sectarian cemetery can never be a public purpose.
It certainly appears from the checks, that once money was sent, it was never enough and had to keep increasing over the years.
If the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield does not have funds available to maintain their cemetery, they should dissolve it and sign the cemetery property over to either the township, the municipality, or a cemetery district. No other options are available to use public funds on it.
The township attorney, Richard Bernardoni, wrote the single most screwed up legal opinion I have ever read. This is his attempt at telling the township they are authorized to give this money to the cemetery – damn the law, just listen to your attorney. We suggest once again that Marshall Township take immediate steps to terminate their contract with this attorney for his opinion. Read our opinion on this letter in a previous article.
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