Members of the three-member majority block on the Nunda Township Board have been putting pressure on Highway Commissioner Mike Lesperance with regard to a contract she made with himself to rent some heavy equipment.
At last month’s meeting, a resolution was reached when Highway Commissioner Mike Lesperance revealed,
“My wife made it completely clear.
“She doesn’t want mw to let the Township use it anymore.
“I’m not going to argue with you anymore.
The discussion about the lease started with a question about maintaining ditches.
“[We] still have about 140 miles of culverts,” Lesperance explained.
“I took this job to teach government employees how to work, not the opposite.
“Your ditches have to be cleaned.
“We’re doing a good job.
“I intend to keep doing so.”
Trustee Rob Parrish, who lost the Republican Primary Election to Lesperance by three votes nine years ago, mentioned “Running Iron,” a ditch project for which he was criticized.
“That was eight years ago,” Lesperance replied.
Trustee Tim Parrish , Rib’s brother, inserted another issue, the “multiplier that you kick back to municipalities,” but my notes are incomplete. Fifty percent of township road taxes collected from properties in municipalities go directly to cities and villages.
Lesperance explained the lease agreement.
“It costs zero dollars to the township, [which provides] insurance, maintenance and storage.”
The newest Trustee, Joanna Donahue, asked, “Are you able to use them for personal reasons?”
“Yes” was the reply.
He explained that if he rents the machine out whoever is renting it or he pays to move it from the Township to the job site and the Township pays to move it back.
“Who brought this up?” Donahue continued.
“Speaking from a taxpayers [point of view] that seems like a gray area.
“In eight years I went from full-time in my business to part-time.”
She wondered if the subject of replacement purchases ever came up.
“I understand this is a good deal for both [the township and you.]”
Lesperance related that he had brought the concept to a previous Board, which “didn’t raise any concern..”
He added that he had no interest in selling the machinery to the Township, adding that the Township “puts 80% of the hours on the machines.
“I rent the machines out from time to time.”
Tim Parrish said, “[You] can’t use the equipment other than for the Township>”
He cited Illinois Department of Transportation rules saying “equipment cannot be loaned to private individuals,” adding he thought the lease should include shared maintenance costs.
“It isn’t perceived well.
Tim Parrish suggested seeing if a neighboring township’s equipment cuold be used under and Intergovernmental agreement.
“I’m not in favor of keeping this [going] forward.
“It doesn’t look good.”