Lame duck Democrat supervisors cry foul, cite voter suppression at the order delivered by county clerk last week preventing tax extension of levy for 708 mental health board on 2020 property tax bills
The Kane County state’s attorney’s office (KCSAO), under the leadership of Jamie Mosser (D, St. Charles) has instructed the Kane County clerk’s office under the leadership of Jack Cunningham (R, Aurora) to not, through the tax extension office, extend a tax levy for the 708 mental health boards approved by the voters in Dundee and Elgin townships in separate referendum questions in March of 2020.
The ruling by the KCSAO was due to the two townships, in drafting the referendum questions, did not use the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL). Instead, both township boards used the Community Mental Health Act as their legal reference.
According to the Chicago Tribune in an article published early Thursday evening:
“Kane County Clerk’s Office and Dundee Township officials exchanged a series of emails in which they sparred over the legality of the referendum that authorized creation of the township’s 708 Mental Health Board and whether the clerk could legally collect taxes on its behalf.
“Clerk John ‘Jack’ Cunningham took the matter to the state’s attorney’s office and was advised not to extend the tax levy for Dundee Township or for Elgin Township, where voters also approved a 708 board in the same March 2020 election.”Chicago Tribune, “Battle over tax collection for 708 boards in Elgin and Dundee townships boils down to differing referendum laws”, 4/15/21
The actual referendum question, approved by voters by 4,688-2,489 margin reads below:
“Shall Dundee Township levy an annual tax of not to exceed .15% for the purpose of providing community mental health facilities and services including facilities and services for the person with a developmental disability or a substance use disorder?”Actual Dundee Township referendum question approved on 12/18/19 by 5-0 vote of township board
Both township supervisors, seeking reelection as Democrats, lost in the April 6 election. Currently, all incumbent Elgin Township trustees are losing to Republican challengers.
In Dundee Township, the three incumbent trustees seeking reelection all won, plus a Republican newcomer, where Republicans will hold a 3-1-1 township board majority when Supervisor-elect Arin Thrower (I, West Dundee) takes office next month.
The Tribune article states it’s unknown if the incoming Dundee Township board would seek legal action on the issue of not funding the 708 Mental Health Board.
Outgoing Dundee Supervisor Glees let loose on social media over the clerk executing the KCSAO’s advice:
“This is purely suppression of the will of the residents who voted for the 708 mental board.”Trish Glees, Facebook reply
Dundee Township Assessor Mike Bielak (R, Algonquin), who also chairs the Dundee Township Republican Organization (DTRO), commented on the development:
“Trish Glees is wrong citing the people voted for it and passed it. The people voted for something they were not fully informed about.
“PTELL law covers that and specifically requires ballot language that estimates what it would cost a taxpayer who owns a home in the taxing district.
“Shame on Trish.
“The people were not correctly informed. End of story.
“The referendum will have to be voted on again to hope to levy a tax.”Mike Bielak, 4/15/21
Linda Prestia of Carpentersville, who’s also a precinct committeeperson in the DTRO, added these comments Thursday evening:
“Taxpayers need all the right, clear information to make educated decisions about whether to create another taxing body.
“Glees can claim all she wants until she’s blue in the face that voters who want the new taxing body are being disenfranchised.
“But the truth and facts will prevail that this referendum not only passed in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic shutdown with limited information afforded to the voter, but the Democrat State’s Attorney ordered the Kane County clerk to not collect taxes on the flawed referendum question.”Linda Prestia, 4/15/21