- Resolution to appoint Walter R. Siegel to the Port Authority.
This opening on the Board was due to Rita McMahon leaving the position.
A gentleman in the audience asked that the commissioners consider a female for the 9 person board that is currently consisting of 8 males. In addition, the point was made that since Mr. Siegel is on two other boards in Perry that there may be a conflict of interest. John Hammercheck stated that Mr. Siegel was recommended by Rita McMahon. Dan Troy said that four individuals were interviewed for the position, with three of them being female. Troy made the motion to table the resolution with Hammercheck seconding the motion, Cirino voted present.
I asked if the commissioners had to take an oath of office for the commissioner’s position. I was told that they did, and I then asked if those appointed to the various board positions also took an oath of office. The commissioners, and the law director were unaware if any of the board members were required to swear an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. I asked the commissioners to consider requiring future board members to take such an oath.
- There was another resolution to place a .7 mill renewal levy on the May 2018 ballot for the ADAMHS Board. This is anticipated to bring in $4.0 – $4.5 million dollars in real estate taxes.
One member of Lobbyists for Citizens stated that the ADAMHS Board does not ask the legal status of individuals that use the services of the ADAMHS Board, and we do not believe that it is fair that Lake County taxpayers’ money is used to benefit illegal aliens. (Comment: We are against anything that increases the costs of real estate taxes without the knowledge of the taxpayers.)
I mentioned that I believe that there is far too much accumulation of cash by these non-profits. The ADAMHS Board has $4,667,948 in cash balances at the beginning of the year; Crossroads has $7 million in marketable securities. I would like to see a redistribution of the accumulated cash in these non-profits so that additional funds do not have to be paid by the taxpayers. (Comment: If you believe that these non-profits are all about benefiting mankind, then you are as naive as I was.)
Ms. Kim Fraser attended the meeting and stated that the ADAMHS Board requires $1.8 million reserves. (Comment: If that is the case., then they have surplus funds to distribute to other agencies, such as the Lake Council on Aging and the Lake County Children Services.)
3. After the meeting I was able to speak to County Finance Director, Mr. Mike Matas, a very knowledgeable and friendly gentleman. We discuss the County’s budget for 15 minutes, here is what I discovered:
Lake County has a “rainy day fund” in the amount of $9,042,400. It is used to offset any shortfall in tax revenue or meet the needs of unexpected capital expenditures.
The Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities has a budget surplus of $38,311,829. They have their own Board of Directors and are an autonomous group. Since their annual expenditures are $41,245,993, I wonder why the need to retain so much cash on hand. Why cannot that be redistributed to other needy sections of the community?
Lake County is self-insuring their employee health benefits. Those benefits (medical, dental, prescription and life insurance) are a large part of the total Lake County budget. ($22,251,710 of a total budget of $247,647,070 or 9.0%) I asked how many employees are employed, and that number was not readily available, but it is greater than 1,000, but less than 2,000. I was told that Mike would get us that number.
4. We also discussed my statement on real estate taxes – that we are pricing seniors and those living on fixed incomes out of their homes. Mike did not disagree and thought that a “consumption tax” may be a better alternative, since taxpayers never really own their homes. Even without a mortgage, the house could be lost if the real estate taxes are not paid. I asked how much of an increase in sales taxes would be required to replace their residential real estate tax? That is unknown at this time, but when we get the 2018 real estate tax schedule from the Auditor, we will have a benchmark to work toward that answer.