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UNDER THE RADAR: Townships fail to meet requirement

Four don’t submit financial reports

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 2:20 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 2:37 a.m. CDT
SVM SERIES: Under the Radar: Many townships, little scrutiny

Government entities such as townships, cities and villages are required to submit financial reports to the state comptroller every year.

In 2011, four of the 44 townships in Whiteside and Lee counties failed to submit those reports, according to the state comptroller’s website.

In Whiteside County, Rock Falls-based Coloma and Morrison-based Mount Pleasant townships – the county’s second- and third-largest – failed to comply. Coloma last submitted one in 2009 and Mount Pleasant in 2008, comptroller records show.

Coloma Township Supervisor Debra Burke said her township had submitted its report every year, turning in the one for 2012 late.

“I don’t know why they [state comptroller] don’t have the records,” she said.

Burke said she would resubmit the reports and check that the comptroller’s office received them.

Mount Pleasant Township Supervisor Craig Gray didn’t return messages for comment. Township Clerk Merle Reisenbigler said the supervisor was in charge of turning in the reports but he would speak with Gray about the issue.

In 2012, Mount Pleasant Township failed to submit monthly financial reports for its road district to Whiteside County during the last half of the year, as the law requires. In Whiteside County, only Prophetstown Township did worse, not submitting any last year, according to the county road department.

In Lee County, Harmon and Ashton townships haven’t submitted any of their annual financial reports to the comptroller since 2009, according to the state website.

Of 23 municipalities in Whiteside and Lee counties, all but one submitted their annual financial reports in 2011, including tiny Deer Grove, population 48. The only non-submitting town was the village of Harmon, population 118. It hadn’t turned one in since 2007, according to the website.

Such reports indicate an entity’s revenue and expenses, total payroll, and number of part- and full-time employees.

According to the comptroller’s office, 95 percent of entities submit their annual reports.

As of May 1, the office will start penalizing entities that don’t comply – a $5-a-day fine for the first 15 days, $10 a day for the 16th through 30th days, $15 a day for the 31st to 45th days, and $20 a day for every day after the 45th.

The comptroller’s office has been slowly moving local governments to turning in their reports electronically, an agency spokesman said.

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