Possible mismanagement costs Saline County taxpayers more than $1M

Possible mismanagement costs Saline County taxpayers more than $1M

A forensic audit reveals Saline County lost $1 million in funds through possible mismanagement.

A Saline County board member says a forensic audit shows possible mismanagement, waste and abuse costing taxpayers $1 million, according to the Harrisburg Register. County Clerk and Recorder Kim Buchanan’s office was the subject of the audit.

Board member Joe Jackson claimed the preliminary findings of an independent forensic audit commissioned by the Saline County Board in September 2017 found evidence that possible mismanagement cost more than $1 million in county funds over a two-year period ending in 2017, the Harrisburg Register explained.

“I’m glad that it’s just not the county board saying to people that there is mismanagement there. This confirms what we expected for two years,” Jackson said according to WPSD Local 6.

Buchanan claims the report is not conclusive.

“The letter doesn’t say ‘mismanagement,’ it says ‘possible mismanagement,’” Buchanan said, according to the Harrisburg Register.

These findings are troubling given the rising property tax burdens of Saline County taxpayers.

An Illinois Policy Institute study found that between 2000 and an average of years 2009-2013, the average property tax burden for Saline County residents grew by nearly 27 percent.

Statewide, average property tax bills in Illinois grew six times faster than household incomes from 2008-2015.

Despite this growth, too many local governments across Illinois have failed to reform bad spending habits. But even reform-minded local leaders are severely limited in what they can do, thanks to state laws that dictate many aspects of how a local government is run. Unfunded mandatescostly pensions, the highest number of local governments in the country, high workers’ compensation costs and unfair collective bargaining powers for government worker unions all work to drive up property tax bills.

As if all of this did not already burden struggling residents, the General Assembly in 2017 passed a 32 percent income tax hike, the largest permanent income tax increase in Illinois history, further consuming more of Illinoisans’ hard-earned income.

Local governments have also been raising taxes. In December 2017, the Harrisburg City Council passed a 3 percent increase in the city’s property tax levy.

“Our legislators have got to step up and do something about our police and fire pensions and workman’s comp,” said Harrisburg Mayor John McPeek, according to The Southern.

McPeek is right. Taxpayers in Saline County are tapped out and need real relief.

Until the General Assembly takes action to reform property tax cost-drivers, Saline County taxpayers will continue to pay more.

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