County board discusses Honey Point Township MFT error
CARLINVILLE (Jan. 11, 2018) – Much of the Tuesday, Jan. 9, Macoupin County Board meeting focused on a discussion of a 2015 error with Honey Point Township’s Motor Fuel Tax program, discovered in 2016, that resulted in the township only receiving approximately a quarter of the MFT distribution it should have and the other 75 percent being distributed among the county’s other townships.
“We were supposed to receive $68,662 of Motor Fuel money to oil our roads,” said Honey Point township clerk Larry White. “We only received, from the state, $17,000. We lost 75 percent of our money… We lost $51,583 of Motor Fuel money.” He noted many residents are starting to complain about the state of the roads in the township.
The problem was caused by a decimal point being in the wrong place in a calculation submitted to the state by County Clerk Pete Duncan’s office. Though a correction was sent to the Illinois Department of Transportation, it was never received.
Through conversations with IDOT, it was determined that, because the error was not discovered until funds for that year had already been disbursed, essentially the only way to remedy it would be to ask the other townships to voluntarily relinquish the extra funds they received as a result of the error. In order to do so, they would have to contact County Engineer Tom Reinhart and authorize him to make a transfer of the funds to the township, as the commissioners do not have direct access to the funds.
Duncan recently sent a letter to the townships’ highway commissioners explaining the situation, but representatives from Honey Point attended Tuesday’s meeting and were not satisfied with the wording of the letter, which they did not think would be sufficient to convince the commissioners to relinquish the funds. It was ultimately agreed that township representative Kevin Polo would draft a new letter and send it to Duncan for him to send to the commissioners. In addition, Reinhart and Duncan said they would speak to many of the commissioners at the MFT rock bid letting, to be held on Thursday, about the situation.
Reinhardt will let the Honey Point representatives know if any of the other townships relinquish the funds. It was noted that townships typically plan their MFT program to use all of the funds they are allotted, so they may not currently have the funds available to spare, but some may be willing to give back some or all of the funds at a later date. “We spend every dime we get every year on oil,” said board member Bill Harding, “We don’t have $2,165.78 to send to you. I think you’d be better off taking on IDOT than taking on these townships.” Polo said that is being pursued, and both State Sen. Andy Manar and State Rep. Avery Bourne have been contacted and agreed to look into it.
Macoupin County Public Health Department Administrator Kent Tarro informed the board that the county’s transportation program is currently conducting paper-based surveys regarding what businesses and individuals would like to see from the service in the future. Survey forms have been dropped off at area businesses, and extras are available at the Enquirer-Democrat office. They hope to collect at least 500 surveys.
A $12,000 petition for the replacement of a culvert in a drainage ditch for Taylor Creek in Barr Township was approved, with the county’s share to be half that amount.
The board granted the chairman of the Road and Bridge Committee, Francis Wieseman, power to act on awarding contracts to the successful bidders following the MFT rock bid letting on Thursday.
The board authorized the upgrade of the county email system to solve ongoing problems, with a one-time cost of $600 for the Sheriff’s Department and $1,955 for all other departments combined. There will also be a monthly fee of $5 per email address ($410 total), to be paid by each department. Any department heads who anticipate difficulty paying the monthly fee are to approach the finance committee on their own to discuss it.