MT. VERNON — Jefferson County officials will dip into its Public Safety Sales Tax Fund to climb out of a financial quagmire.
On a 9-1 vote, the County Board on Monday approved borrowing $380,000 from the Public Safety Sales Tax Fund to go into the General Corporate Fund — instead of the previously discussed motor fuel tax fund. At the recommendation of State’s Attorney Doug Hoffman, the motion also included the money will be paid back by Nov. 30; the end of the county’s fiscal year.
“No matter which fund we borrowed from, this was a frustrating situation for the board to address” County Board Chairman Robert White said. “The Motor Fuel Tax Fund was the easy target because the account hasn’t changed in a number of years. Because the Public Safety Sales Tax is something that already goes to General Corporate and because (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and jail expense is the reason for the loss of revenue, that is why we decided to go for the Public Safety Tax.”
Last week, White asked the Fiscal Committee to recommend the full board
approve a transfer of $380,000 from the Motor Fuel Tax fund to help the county out of a $481,000 debt in demand claims carried over from the last fiscal year. At the meeting, Hoffman recommended the committee not make the move — citing the meeting agenda did not clearly state the committee would be discussing interfund borrowing.
During the committee meeting, County Treasurer Dan Knox reported the motor fuel tax fund in question had $1.1 million with “no movement in the last five years.” However, Hoffman told members of the board that an interfund loan could be done, however the funds had already been obligated by the county board.
“I would also note that (County Engineer) Brandon Simmons brought to my attention a resolution adopted by this board in November 2013, which obligates $1.4 million of county motor fuel tax fund allotment for the county’s annual highway maintenance planning, which was approved by (the Illinois Department of Transportation). So long as motor fuel tax funds exist over and above the $1.4 million amount obligated by the resolution, those surplus funds could be subject to an interfund transfer,” Hoffman stated in a memorandum to County Board members.