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Village Vision News

What’s in the report?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The report issued by the Springfield firm Sorling, Northrup, Hanna, Cullen & Cochran Ltd. offers two options for settling the repayment issue and three recommendations for moving forward with new agreements. The firm was hired by the Village to research what went wrong in a 2007 misunderstanding between the school district and the Village concerning repayment of sales tax revenue to build a new grade school.

The two options:

  • Waive any claim to repayment, justifying the same by virtue of the fact that the tax was “used as it was designated and for the betterment of the community.”
  • Pursue repayment in one of two ways —
    1. Attempt to negotiate a new deal with the school district, such as bringing an early close to the transfer of sales tax revenue to the school district to use for bond payments.
    2. Pursue litigation against the school district. The report notes that Sorling Northrup “does not believe that the Village has any claim against the school district” due to the lack of a written contract on the repayment, a dispute between both parties on what was verbally said and the inability of an individual’s actions to bind a public body. From the report: “...even if the School Board President or Superintendent agreed to repayment, it was never voted on by the School Board.”

The three recommendations:

  • when multiple agreements are necessary, prepare the documentation well in advance and approve each agreement at the same meeting;
  • ensure that all negotiations and meetings are well documented with at least two [other] officials or staff members always present when possible;
  • self-assess the roles of all participants to determine if they are acting within the expectations of the Village Board; avoid confusion by defining the roles and expectations

View Report Here

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