More townships in Lee and Whiteside counties are complying with a state requirement that they submit monthly financial reports for their road districts.
In January 2013, Sauk Valley Media reported that only six of Lee County’s 22 townships had submitted reports in 2012. In Whiteside County, 15 of 22 townships had complied in 2012.
This week, Whiteside County Engineer Russ Renner reported that every township has been submitting reports.
“Everyone is pretty well caught up,” he said. “There’s always some lag time.”
In Lee County, six townships were out of compliance with the reporting requirement – Palmyra, Sublette, Reynolds, Viola, Hamilton and Bradford townships.
Reynolds and Viola haven’t submitted reports since January 2013, while Hamilton hasn’t turned one in since February 2013. Palmyra and Sublette haven’t submitted reports since November and Bradford since December.
Jerry Crabtree, associate director of Township Officials of Illinois, said state law requires road commissioners to provide lists of warrants to county highway departments to show where public money is being spent.
“It’s a way for government units to work together.,” Crabtree said. “The county engineer should be aware of everything that is going on. It gives him a status of highway projects in the county and helps him keep track of what’s being bid.”
Lee County Engineer Dave Anderson said his office sends out letters twice a year to inform townships of their obligation to turn in financial reports. Sauk Valley Media’s story last year, he said, also might have helped bring awareness.
Bradford Township Road Commissioner Maurice Sondgeroth said he wasn’t the person who submitted the reports. He declined to identify the person in the township who has that duty.
Hamilton Township Supervisor Bill Schauff, who was elected last year, said he was learning more and more about his job. He said he would get the reports done soon.
“You’ll be able to scratch me off the list,” he said. “I have no issue with doing this job, as long as I know what it is. We have nothing to hide here.”
In 2012, some of the bigger townships, including Morrison-centered Mount Pleasant and Prophetstown, hadn’t been submitting reports. One Whiteside township supervisor said in an interview last year, “I should have been on top of this.”
Last year, Renner said he looked over the reports to make sure that townships were complying with the law. For instance, the road districts can’t make purchases of more than $20,000 without competitive bidding, with certain exceptions, he said.
Despite the legal requirement, the state has no penalty for failure to submit the reports.