Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

May 27, 2010

County board chairman responds to meeting report

MT. VERNON — Editor:

The morning edition of your newspaper dated May 26, 2010, was biased, as usual, and only reported the sensational comments of a couple board members.

One board member asked for the board to vote on and support the STAR Bond proposal as introduced and passed in the Illinois House if the Mt. Vernon area could be included. This was not possible as this item was not on the agenda for the meeting.

As chairman, I asked the individual board members suggesting this action to please inform the board of the details in this bill and I readily found out they did not even have knowledge on the meaning of the acronym STAR. One board member, Mr. White, made the comment, “This was very poor legislation, but we need to get on with it.”

Dr. Garrett had several questions about the legislation that none of the supporters could provide, and Mr. White then compared Dr. Garrett’s questions with Dr. Garrett’s recent support of low interest bonding for the school system. This was an allocation of low interest bonding available in the county for governmental agencies, and Mr. White voted no to allowing the school system to be allocated any funding, before he voted yes.

If I, as chairman, would have allowed a vote on the STAR matter, the two or three board members making comments would have made many comments on the legality of such a move.

As all the counties within the state are suffering financially, this county has been able to stay solvent through actions taken, and in most cases Mr. White has voted no. I would remind Mr. White that the refinancing of the current jail bonds to equal the estimated Public Safety Tax kept the bonds from being allocated to property tax as we have promised. When you can’t raise your income, it is probably a good idea to reduce your debt. This action was taken with Mr. White voting no. Many of the surrounding counties have reduced manpower and some are cutting necessary services. Being for “poor legislation” is not my idea of good governing practices.

I do not have personal knowledge about Mr. White’s “arrogance or ignorance,” but I do know he is a novice at county government.

By the way, STAR is an acronym for sales tax and revenue bonds.

Ted Buck

Jefferson County Board Chairman

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