Grafton Township Trustees Forego Opporunity to Reverse 2013 Tax High

A press release from Grafton Township Supervisor Linda Moore:

Grafton Trustees Tax to the Max

At the January meeting of the Grafton Township Board, Supervisor Linda Moore proposed keeping taxes constant, but Trustees LaPorta, Murphy and Zirk refused to second the motion to discuss the Resolution to authorize the Supervisor to amend the Levy to last year’s extension.

Grafton Township Trustees Barb Murphy, Rob LaPorta, Betty Zirk and Gerry McMahon.

Grafton Township Trustees Barb Murphy, Rob LaPorta, Betty Zirk and Gerry McMahon.

Trustee Zirk however launched into discussion alluding to a risk that would be great if the township were not to collect the maximum tax dollars possible.

When asked to identify the risk, none could be explained.

In order for a local government to collect about the same as last year, its levy must be pretty close to the amount collected last year. That figure is called the “extension.”

Because there is some growth, a tax district could actually raise its levy a (the county assessor says about one-quarter of one percent for the county as a whole) tiny bit without raising bills on last year’s taxpayers.

Last year the extension for the combination of the Grafton Town Fund and the General Assistance Fund was $1,070,637.00.

The levy passed in December 2012 for this coming year was $1,102,142.00.

Because nothing was done, Grafton Township taxpayers will have to come up with an extra $31,505.00 in taxes.

As I understand the process, there is a short window of opportunity after the County Clerk’s Office decides what the tax rate will be and how much taxes will be extracted from taxpayers’ pockets. In that perhaps less than a week’s time frame, a district may make a last minute change.

The maximum that a tax district can increase its tax bill this year under the tax cap is 3%. By making the levy 4% higher than last year’s tax collections, the township trustees have decided to extract as much property taxes out of your pocket as is allowed by law.

”For the last three years, I have voted to keep next year’s real estate tax collections equal to the year before.” said Supervisor Moore.

Supervisor Linda Moore posted a separate agenda. This agenda gave Trustees Zirk, LaPorta, McMahon and Murphy another opportunity to adopt last year’s taxes to match the amount received last year.

Grafton Township taxpayers could actually have seen a small tax cut if Trustee Zirk would have favored this resolution. Zirk is the only trustee who is running for re-election.


Comments

Grafton Township Trustees Forego Opporunity to Reverse 2013 Tax High — 30 Comments

  1. For a more accurate and unbiased account of what happened, please refer to the First Electric Newspaper’s article: http://www.firstelectricnewspaper.com/2013/01/no-levy-rollback-at-grafton-but-office.html
    - Moore’s “much needed tax break” works out to be about $1 for every household.
    - According to Trustee Murphy, county officials informed her it was too late to ammend the levy.
    - Clerk Ford didn’t receive Ms. Moore’s request to add this to the agenda until Wednesday, too late by township rules to be included in agenda

    Also, people may find it interesting that Ms. Moore refused to return funds intended for the original Grafton Food Pantry on Allison Court: http://www.firstelectricnewspaper.com/2013/01/sun-city-group-charges-moore-hijacked.html

  2. Hmm, do you think household taxpayers can afford this? Let’s see, $31,505 tax divided by 22,000 taxpayers = $1.43 average per household more per year.

    Moore compared to Klemm’s township, who did not raise taxes. Algonquin township incurred a fraction of the growth that Grafton township experienced and is continuing to experience. Moore as usual, compares apples to oranges, and lacks basic math and planning skills.

    Trustees approved the average $1.43 increase per household to address the growth that did take place (one of the highest in the state) and for the growth that is continuing. And to ensure the township receives it’s allocated funding from the state.

    Voters in Grafton Township – please contact as many as your friends as possible to get out an vote.

  3. Indeed LuvLuv: actual text below from FEN:

    Sun City Group Charges Moore Hijacked Pantry Money Donation

    A spokesman for a Sun City Neighborhood Group confirmed rumors Thursday that Grafton Supervisor Linda Moore cashed checks intended for the Grafton Food Pantry and refused to return the money. Gerald LaBonte, Neighborhood 12 elected representative, charged during Public Comment at Thursday’s Grafton Township meeting that Moore kept $1,080 mistakenly given to her in late October.

    The money and six big boxes of edibles, said LaBonte in a detailed account, came from the 22nd food drive among Neighborhood 12′s 181 homes to benefit the Grafton Food Pantry on Allison Court in Huntley. The Charitable group’s original and still officially incorporated name is the Grafton Township Food Pantry. That’s also, however, what Moore last year began calling the food donation operation she runs out of the Township offices on Vine Street in Huntley.

    “Unfortunately,” said LaBonte on Oct. 29, “our resident who volunteered to deliver donations…didn’t know there were two food pantries in Grafton Township. As a result…the donations were given by mistake to the wrong food pantry.”

    LaBonte said when he discovered the error he asked Moore for the money back on Nov. 5. “A summary of the Supervisor’s response was that the checks were already cashed, that the money would not be returned and that the money’s would still be benefiting needy families….”

    LaBonte said that wasn’t good enough since the Grafton Food Pantry could have used it to buy what he said was “over $4,000 worth of food” from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Moore’s operation can’t. “We want our donations to help not just some needy families but as many needy families as possible,” LaBonte said calling Moore’s decision a “legalistic” response to “an innocent mistake”.

    Moore didn’t reply to LaBonte during the meeting . FEN questioned her afterward, however.

    “This was General Assistance funds as far as I’m concerned,” said Moore adding she’d have to consult her attorney about giving the money back.

    Didn’t you check with your attorney back in November?

    “Yes.”

    And he said it was the Township’s money and you couldn’t give it back?

    “Indirectly”, said Moore.

    “I have to be careful with General Assistance Funds,” she said.

    In the pic: Grafton Supervisor Linda Moore’s food pantry.

  4. Deep down, somehow I feel it’s the trustees fault that Linda Moore accepted the food donations and donation checks that were not intended for her. Yep, it’s the trustees fault.

  5. For a more accurate and unbiased account of what happened, please refer to the First Electric Newspaper’s article: http://www.firstelectricnewspaper.com/2013/01/no-levy-rollback-at-grafton-but-office.html – Moore’s “much needed tax break” works out to be about $1 for every household. – According to Trustee Murphy, county officials informed her it was too late to ammend the levy. – Clerk Ford didn’t receive Ms. Moore’s request to add this to the agenda until Wednesday, too late by township rules to be included in agenda

    Also, people may find it interesting that Ms. Moore refused to return funds intended for the original Grafton Food Pantry on Allison Court: http://www.firstelectricnewspaper.com/2013/01/sun-city-group-charges-moore-hijacked.html

  6. Good news, it is legal to refund the donations made by mistake to the township Office. Details are pending.

  7. It took two months and public disclosure of this incident for you to determine this?

    Perhaps you should have realized that if it wasn’t illegal to hijack the funds in the first place, it was certainly unethical.

  8. “The Sun City Group asked for you to return their donation on November 5th, 2012. Today is January 12, 2013. That’s 69 days. Linda Moore, why did it take so long for you to decide refunding the groups money was the appropriate thing to do?”

    “Sun City’s LaBonte brought this up during the 1-10-13 Grafton meeting. Pete at FEN reported this on 1-11-13. Ta Da! On 1-12-13 Linda Moore says she will return the groups money at some point in the future. LaBonte, don’t hold your breath waiting for a check from Linda. She’s not good at writing checks.”

    MORALLY BANKRUPT!

  9. From FEN Comments:

    Linda –

    Daah, “it’s legal to refund”. Of course it is! But daah, daah, it was ILLEGAL to NOT REFUND SUN CITY AS ORIGINALLY REQUESTED!

    Your guilt that was exposed to the public will CHAIN your campaign efforts to the sewer. And yes, you can still be legally charged for this!

    Sleep much?

  10. More from FEN:

    Anonymous said…
    Linda, quit trying to cover up and make excuses for your crime.

    Calls should be made the Lou Bianchi, the States Attorney, and Illinois’ Attorney General.

    Let’s not forget she is also refusing to pay the open balance on the Forensicon Bill which is preventing their report detailing how she and her GA tech assistance deleted the Government Financials which she later admitted to in court, after the $20,000 expense was incurred based upon her lies.

    and

    Let’s not forget how her Audit Firm resigned before presenting the Final Audit Report and how she told the partner of this audit firm to stop communicating with ALL trustees; refusing to answer their questions.

    and

    Let’s not forget how she is refusing to pay for the Forensic Audit to begin, that was approved by the Board.

    The Coverups have begun to surface….
    The Perfect Storm is about to hit…
    Justice will soon deliver!

    January 11, 2013 at 6:11 PM

  11. Anonymous person: It is easy to launch an attack without an identity, you can say anything and not be responsible for it being correct.

    My “crime” is saving the taxpayers from a $5 million dollar unneeded town hall.

    Forensicon has been paid in compliance with court orders, no more or less.

    Trustee LaPorta has communicated extensively with the auditors to the point where the auditors are so frustrated with his repeated threats they resigned.

    I do not have the authority to order the forensic audit, even though the exiting trustees would like me to have such authority.

    The hateful comments do nothing to serve the tax payers and need to stop.

  12. Nice deflection from the issue at hand Linda.

    Care to explain WHY you cashed multiple checks that were NOT made out to YOUR food pantry?

    Care to explain why it took you so long (69+ days) to offer to refund those donations?

    Why are you AGAINST a thorough, forensic audit of the township finances?

    Stop living for the building issue. That died a long time ago.

  13. The details regarding refunding the donation error of individuals are pending.

    I am in favor of the forensic audit, I just don’t have the authority to order it.

    Strange that the trustees are trying to give me more authority than I actually have by law.

    My only “crime” is saving the tax payers millions of dollars and squashing the dreams of carryover trustees to build something we don’t need.

    I wish the carryover trustees would let that go and work to save taxes.

  14. Linda, you wish the CARRYOVER TRUSTEES would let it go?! You and your cohorts are the only ones talking about the dead horse of the building!

    If you don’t have the authority to order a forensic audit, then who does? You are the individual BLOCKING it by refusing to cut the check!

    YOU are the individual BLOCKING the Forensicon report. What are you trying to hide? Stop deflecting blame. Cut the checks, and be done with it!

  15. Linda, Didn’t Trustee McMahon get elected along with you?

    IMO, McMahon is not a “carryover trustee” especially since the two of you had an affiliation prior to your bumbling and stumbling in office.

    Linda, try and do exactly the opposite of what your thoughts are and serve the public, not frustrate the public.

  16. Anonymous person: It is easy to launch an attack without an identity, you can say anything and not be responsible for it being correct or respectful.

    Dillions Rule: Article VII Sec 8 1970 Illinois states governments “shall have only powers granted by law.”
    True Trustee McMahon is not a carryover trustee but he is an exiting trustee.

    I am in favor of the forensic audit, I just don’t have the authority to order it.

    Strange that the trustees are trying to give me more authority than I actually have by law.

    The trustees do need to pay for the completed audit so that we can conduct the legally required audits that are late.

  17. Hey Moore –

    Most likely the audit firm resigned because their 7 months past due work was still incomplete; they did not want to publicly respond to Trustee questions, including why they significantly changed their management report 6 months after originally submitting, and because the only questions they were willing to answer were those they received in written form first. Interesting tactics by EMP.

    The good news is, after your leave office, both you and the prior audit firm can still be questioned, and called into court by the Forensic Auditor.

  18. Anonymous person: It is easy to launch an attack without an identity, you can say anything and not be responsible for it being correct or respectful.

    The trustees hired this auditor and paid them for one year’s audit. After they paid the auditor, they insisted on questioning the auditor for work they approved and paid. Makes you wonder…….

    Trustee LaPorta threatened the auditors repeatedly and this is the reason for their resignation. He is not running for re-election.

  19. Wow, LaPorta must be quite powerful to ‘threaten’ an accounting firm! Must be he was sending them questions they could not answer or did not want to answer within a public forum where the press would be.

    Hey readers that are Partners with accounting firms – would you feel ‘threatened’ by governmental clients if they asked detailed questions of the work you performed for them in a public setting with the premise that it was public information and nothing containing confidential HR issues etc?

    All – The former title of Trustees within Townships were Auditors. Included within Trustees responsibilities are audit and review of township transactions which have direct deliverables to Township financial statements.

    Historically, Trustees have ongoing communications with Auditors including emails, phone calls and public hearings. Supervisor Moore instructed EMP’s Partner Thermen to cease ALL communications with Trustees. Hmmm.

    Thus the Trustee’s ongoing requests for questions to be answered within a public forum that EMP initially stated they would complete; although nearly a year late but later declined and resigned. Double hmmm.

  20. Aside from trying to sweep this under the rug by hiding it for over two months, let’s not forget that Moore’s methodology to determine if the money was refundable WAS TO CONTACT AN ATTORNEY – and only after a resident brought it to an open meeting and castigated her.

    Not only was this donation bungled by Moore, it cost the taxpayers money to help unravel the problem! This leaves Moore with yet another black eye (how many eyes does she have!), but this time her key voting block of Sun City resident ought to shun her at the upcoming debates.

  21. Moore, discrediting those asking question by calling them “anonymous person(s)” does not change the questions asked of an elected official. Your “dehumanizing” method sheds light.

  22. The auditor resigned because their bill was not legally approved.

    The auditor was explicitly told **BY YOU** not to discuss the any part of audit with the trustees.

    Since many irregularities were brought to light, you sought to quash all discussion at a public meeting.

    Why not display transparency with these issues and get them addressed? If they are truly small issues, the discussion ought to rectify the matter quickly, unless…..

  23. Here is an excerpt from the resignation letter sent by the auditors:

    “On November 15, 2012, Mr. LaPorta e-mailed our office again, now stating that “Myself and/or our attorney’s will be contacting the AICPA and other professional organizations in your profession to determine if this is a normal reply. We will notify them of this refusal.” He then states “We will also invite various media (2 newspapers and 2 on-line blog newspapers) to attend this meeting, of which we will highlight Paul’s refusal.”

    This is not the first threat that has come from the Board via Mr. LaPorta. At the beginning of our engagement, Evans, Marshall & Pease, P.C. was told that if the audit of the financial statements did not coincide with the allegations put forth by him, that legal action may ensue Our management letter set forth a number of items that we felt should be implemented, however nothing was found to impact the fairness of the financial statements for either audit period.”

  24. Anonymous person: It is easy to launch an attack without an identity, you can say anything and not be responsible for it being correct or respectful.

    Many of the anonymous comments posted here are incorrect. The comments also seem to be from insiders. Which of the anonymous comments are posted by elected officials who wish to conduct a board meeting without notice to the public by hiding their identity? I have no way to know.

  25. If somebody brought in a donation and later said “Oops”, then it’s too bad. Climb all over the person who made the mistake, not the group that received it.

    If I put money in the Salvation Army kettle and later say I intended to give it to the Woodstock Christmas Clearing House, the SA is not going to give it back to me. If I go in a Lutheran Church and make a donation and then wished I’d put it in the plate at the Catholic Church, I’m not going to get my money back.

    There is a County full of people are so glad they don’t live in Grafton Township. You “anonymous” people are nuts. Grow some backbone. Put your Full Name with your comments.

  26. It appears as if LaPorta is the only one with backbone towards the auditors who were withholding information from the Trustees as directed by Moore. Thanks to LaPorta for attempting to obtain full disclosure from the firm hired to do such.

    The Law WILL support the Sun City residents to obtain the money back as originally requested so that matching dollars will be received from the Food Bank and so that the residents from Sun City can receive the full tax deduction from the 501C; both of which Moore’s closet cannot receive matches from the Food Bank, and does not have 501C status.

  27. The obvious difference, Gus, is that here in Grafton, you have the REAL and ORIGINAL Grafton Food Pantry and Moore’s newly formed Grafton Food Pantry.

    Because the names are so similar, it was only a matter of time until something like this happened – nor will this be the last time while Moore is in office, I suspect.

    This is just the first time that this has made it to the public’s ear. Catholics & Lutherans – different groups. SA & WCCH – different groups.

    A sharp guy like you should realize that!

    Who knows how many other things have been swept under the rug?

    When things happen once or twice, you shrug your shoulders and move on.

    But when these incidents of incompetence happen every couple months and on a grand scale, shouldn’t people be expected to ask the serious questions? And that’s why Moore is in “Damage Control” mode.

    Also, how much money are we talking about here?

    Tens? Hundreds? Thousands of dollars?

    I don’t think I’ve read the amount in question. I doubt these people would be raising a stink over a $20.

    In this instance, one person made a mistake with other people’s charitable contributions which were intended for a VERY specific cause.

    When you make your mistakes, it’s with a small amount of money OF YOUR MONEY.

    Again, a sharp guy like you should realize this.

  28. It sure sounds like those who do not like Cal, Cal’s site, Cal’s timing, Cal’s opinion, Cal’s knowledge, Cal’s professional history, or Cal’s article content feel quite happy to USE his site for their own mean spirited, partial information, political and personal harping about Moore.

    I mean, they are always giving Cal’s competitor kudos and credit and link and find nothing wrong with posting that content here but gosh forbid they would give Cal any credit or post his content on their so-called “friendly” neighbor site.

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