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Wheatland's Levy $170k Higher than Expected Budget

Trustees vote 3-2 to reduce the amount collected in 2012 property taxes by just 5 percent, despite $1.7 million being held in reserve.

Despite having $1.7 million in the bank, the Wheatland Township Board has approved a 2012 tax levy that collects nearly $170,000 more than the township needs to operate.

The levy, which must be approved by the end of this month, is the amount of money the township asks the DuPage County treasurer to collect in property taxes on its behalf. The $978,000 amount was reduced by 5 percent over last year’s $1.05 million levy, Trustee Joe Hudetz said.

But the board could have gone further in terms of reducing the amount given how much money is being held in reserve, said Hudetz, who pushed for a 15 percent to 20 percent reduction. The board has been collecting more tax money than needed to operate in recent years in order to accumulate the money needed to build a new administrative center for the township, which serves Plainfield and Naperville residents.

However, those earlier this year. Following a series of public meetings over the spring and summer, residents voted to kill the new construction project and rejected suggestions that an existing building be purchased or new space leased.

Instead, they directed the board to sell the land on which the new building was to be erected and use that money to remodel the existing township hall on 91st Street.

“My objection, and that of Karl (Trustee (Karantonis), is they’re over-collecting beyond the expenses they actually have,” Hudetz said. “I’d love to see them start chipping away (at the $1.7 million being held in reserve) than to take more from the taxpayers.”

Township Supervisor Todd Morse and Trustees Frank King and Doug Haddad voted in favor of the $978,000 levy. Karantonis and Hudetz voted against it.

Hudetz said he believed the levy should be closer to the $810,000 expected to be spent for operations in the 2012-13 fiscal year. (The township, like many other government units, does not operate on a calendar year and won't approve a new budget until next year.)

“We should not be holding the taxpayers’ money,” Karantonis said at the Thursday meeting at which the levy was approved. “It’s clear to me that the taxpayers do not want the new building built.”

But Morse, in defending the levy, said the additional money may be needed for operating costs and to remodel the township building given that it’s not certain how much the land will net or how long it will take to sell. Now that the city of Naperville has opted not to purchase the property back from the township, the next step is to seek appraisals and it put on the market.

“Cutting the levy short, cutting our funds short, that’s not a wise move,” Morse said.

Several residents who opposed the new building and fought to ensure it didn’t get built objected to the tax levy amount during the public comment portion of the Thursday meeting. One questioned whether the board planned to follow the directives given to them by the residents.

“I want to know, are you guys going to honor the resolution passed on the evening of Aug. 9?” resident Deb Holscher asked.

Mike Crockett December 14, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Jay, as far as I know, all are up for reelection in 2013 and this line from above tells you who is looking out for the taxpayer: "Township Supervisor Todd Morse and Trustees Frank King and Doug Haddad voted in favor of the $978,000 levy. Karantonis and Hudetz voted against it." Hudetz is also running for Will County Board next year, in the February primary. He will get my vote along with Deb Holscher, who is also running. Deb led the group that stopped the madness of building a $2 million, 7300sf town hall (about 4x the size of the space they have now).
Will January 20, 2012 at 10:04 PM
No Mike - as is customary and usual with you; are wrong. You were wrong with the school board, and you are wrong here again. You are under the impression that "the voters" had the right to "tell the board how much to spend." And that's simply incorrect. And you knew this. But, take a look at the law. Look at what is law and what is not. I challenge you to show anyone "where the law says the voters tell the elected officials how much to spend." You see Mike, it's not there. Please, you messed up with the school board. And since you were unsuccessful with that group, you are now trying to turn you energies towards a government that is not in debt, that has a surplus, and that is frugal. Get a grip.
Mike Crockett January 21, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Thanks for raising the issue again Will. This has never been about Township debt. Originally it was about Todd Morse, Doug Haddad, and Frank King voting to Build a new 7300SF town hall (over 3x the current space) without any due diligence about the real cost of the building (note in their own power point presentation that cost went up over 15% from their original estimate and who know if the later figure would have been accurate) or whether any additional services they were purporting to offer were even necessary or could not be satisfied by other government bodies. Now, since the people overwhelmingly rejected a new town hall, Todd Morse, Doug Haddad and Frank King still want to continue padding the budget with about $200k for FY 2013. This additional money is far and above what is needed to operate the township. At the end of FY 2012 in March there will be $1.7 million in cash sitting in money markets earning nothing. Not only have Todd Morse, Doug Haddad and Frank King failed to respect the people of Wheatland Township, they are thumbing their noses at the electors and taking even more of the taxpayers money. Get a grip Will? How about get rid of Todd Morse, Doug Haddad and Frank King in the next election and replace them with responsible candidates who respect the taxpayers of Wheatland Township.
Jay February 02, 2012 at 05:05 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_8-5-aULRM&feature=share Todd Morse and Chuck Maher in action.......watch this video if you want to see hour your elected officials treat the citizens of Wheatland Township.
Julie February 29, 2012 at 01:31 AM
If Will wants to continue to give his money to Wheatland Township and the rest of government so be it. But at least the rest of us who are putting our children through college and making ends meet can continue to demand honesty and integrity. Money does not grow on trees!

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