Coles Co. (ECWd)
In Illinois, we have laws passed by our legislature with the purpose of them being followed. The laws pertaining to Township assessments are very clear, however, it is even clearer that certain public officials in Coles County are not following those laws and it's the taxpayers that are now paying for it.
Considering all the County Board members took an Oath of Office, is it asking too much for them to honor their Oath? Or are we now at a point in our society where our words are no longer our bond?
The recent assessment of commercial property in Mattoon Township has raised many questions of the legality of the entire process and we intend to spell out why the County has a serious problem with contracting out obligations of elected and appointed officials.
Who can assess Township property?
35 ILCS 200/2-45(a) - "In all counties under township organization, township or multi-township assessors shall be qualified as required by subsections (b) through (d) of this Section and shall be elected as provided in this Code. Township or multi-township assessors shall enter upon their duties on January 1 following their election, and perform the duties of the office for 4 years."
35 ILCS 200/2-60- "(a) When any township or multi-township assessment district fails to elect an assessor or when an assessor's office becomes vacant for any reason specified in Section 25-2 of the Election Code, the township or multi-township board of trustees shall fill the vacancy in townships or multi-township assessment districts by appointing a person qualified as required under Section 2-45 or as revised by the Department under Section 2-52."
"(b) In the alternative, a township or multi-township assessment district shall contract with a person qualified as required under Section 2-45 or as revised by the Department under Section 2-52 to do the assessing at a cost no greater than the maximum salary authorized for that township or multi-township assessment district under Section 2-70."
Can it be any clearer that Township assessments are to be done by an assessor that is elected, appointed, or contracted by the Township or multi-township? In the event the Township or Multi-Township officials are unable to fill that position through one of the three options or fail to complete their obligations there is only one other way for those assessments to get done.
County Supervisor of Assessments
35 ILCS 200/9-230 - "(b) If the supervisor of assessments determines that the township or multi-township assessor has not completed the assessments as required by law before returning the assessment books under this Section, the county board may submit a bill to the township board of trustees for the reasonable costs incurred by the supervisor of assessments in completing the assessments."
The law is crystal clear on assessments and it provides the power to assess to specific people and we can not find any statute that allows the County to contract with a private entity or person to perform the statutory duties of the Supervisor of Assessments.
In fact, the powers and duties outlined by law for the Supervisor of Assessments do not provide any authority for them to contract out their duties. They only have the power to appoint necessary deputies and clerks. Note it makes no mention of contracting!
35 ILCS 200/3-40 - "Each supervisor of assessments may, with the advice and consent of the county board, appoint necessary deputies and clerks, their compensation to be fixed by the county board and paid by the county."
We raised this issue during the last County Board meeting March 14th, 2017, and were advised that they would get back with us regarding any statutory language that allows the County to contract the Supervisors of assessments duties to a private individual. We have not heard back from the county and contend that is because there is no statutory authority for the County to do what they did.
This is just one of the reasons we contend this contract is void ab initio as there is no statutory authority for the Coles County Board to contract for these services.
We will continue this contract issue with additional exposure why the contract is void ab initio because of multiple violations of our laws by the County Board.