Posted Online: Feb. 07, 2013, 10:32 pm
Cleveland board battles over tax levy
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By Lisa Hammer email@example.com
CLEVELAND — Mayor Jim White has nullified trustees' actions at an emergency Jan. 12 meeting called to set a property tax levy for the village.
The levy was due in December. In January, Henry County Clerk Barb Link contacted village officials to say her office had not received the levy.
On Thursday night, trustees said Mayor White didn't respond to Ms. Link's calls, so they held the emergency meeting to prevent $6,946 in property taxes from going uncollected this year. But Mayor White, in hiswritten veto, said the Jan. 12 meeting violated the Open Meetings Act because it didn't fill the definition of a true emergency.
Tax levy ordinances are required to be recorded with the village clerk in the book used for the recording of ordinances, he said. Copies should include the corporate seal, he added.
Mayor White said he found "errors and omissions" on every page of the levy ordinance submitted to Ms. Link. He also said two unqualified people participated in the levy process.
Mayor White said minutes of the Jan. 12 meeting were prepared and approved immediately so they could be sent to the county clerk on Jan. 14, but the documents failed to have a certificate signed by the mayor, as required by state law.
Trustee Sherri Krogman said the levy was short a vote in December. The mayor should have added his vote at that time, she said, adding she didn't understand his actions in January.
"Why would you want to veto a document that we've worked so hard to put together to salvage at the last minute?" she asked.
Following Thursday's meeting, Cleveland Trustee Steve Ballegeer said the mayor's written explanation of his veto was, itself, improper because Mayor White typed his name rather than signing it.
Trustees also read a letter from village clerk Mike Erickson before Thursday's session stating he would no longer attend any meeting where the "out-of-control" board is present unless law enforcement officials also were present. An officer was present Thursday night.
Trustees agreed to have Mayor White ask Colona police to attend meetings through the end of April or until further notice.
"Hopefully, we wouldn't have a need for one," said Mayor White.
In other business, village treasurer Rick Lindell told three trustees who haven't submitted 2012 W-4 tax documents that they now must contact the Illinois Department of the Treasury's unclaimed property department to collect their pay of approximately $300 to $400. The trustees had contested their need to file the form annually, but Mr. Lindell said the Internal Revenue Service required them.