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02/03/87 Helen Richter, v. Collinsville Township Et

February 3, 1987

HELEN RICHTER, COLLINSVILLE TOWNSHIP HIGHWAY COMMISSIONER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE

v.

COLLINSVILLE TOWNSHIP ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS

SECTION 1 OF THE ACT (ILL. RE

v.

STAT. 1981, CH. 139, PAR. 164), ADOPTED IN 1917, PROVIDES:



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIFTH DISTRICT

503 N.E.2d 1175, 152 Ill. App. 3d 10, 105 Ill. Dec. 169 1987.IL.113

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County; the Hon. George Filcoff, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE KARNS delivered the opinion of the court. JONES and WELCH, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE KARNS

This appeal involves a continuation of the dispute considered by this court in Richter v. Collinsville Township (1981), 97 Ill. App. 3d 801, 423 N.E.2d 549. In that cause we held that the resolution adopted by the voters at the annual town meeting on April 10, 1979, authorizing the transfer of $40,000 in town funds to the general road and bridge fund of Collinsville Township, did not comply with "An Act authorizing transfer of surplus town funds to other town funds or road and bridge funds" (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 139, par. 164) because the resolution did not specify the estimated amount of charges and expenses to be deducted from the town fund until the time of receipt of revenues after the next annual town meeting. We noted that the period of time involved necessarily exceeds one year, but the resolution adopted did not account for all the charges and expenses of the town fund until the receipt of revenues after the next annual town meeting in April of 1980 so that it could not be determined if the transfer would disrupt vital town services.

Following our decision, new resolutions were adopted in an effort to comply with our decision. At a special town meeting held on September 14, 1981, a resolution was adopted by the voters present authorizing the transfer of $40,000 from the town fund to the general road fund. The transfer was not made. At the annual town meeting on April 13, 1982, a resolution was adopted authorizing the transfer of $60,000 to the general road fund. Included in the $60,000 was the $40,000 previously authorized but not transferred. When the town trustees, by a vote of three to two, refused to make this transfer, this action for mandamus was instituted by the highway commissioner. The trial court held in her favor, and this appeal followed.

The two resolutions are essentially identical in form. The resolution adopted at the annual town meeting held on April 18, 1982, provided that for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 1981, there was $58,492.27 cash on hand in the town fund and after receipt of all revenues and the payment of all town charges and expenses, the town fund had a cash balance of $144,919.97 at the end of the fiscal year on March 31, 1982.

The resolution estimated receipts of $227,400 for the fiscal year beginning April 1, 1982, and ending March 31, 1983, from all sources, including taxes and Federal revenue sharing, and for the period April 1, 1983, through September 30, 1983, the sum of $52,000. The total cash on hand and estimated receipts for the entire period of April 1, 1982, through September 30, 1983, was $424,300. The resolution noted that the time for receiving revenues after the next annual town meeting would be October 1, 1983, thus attempting to correct the shortcoming of the resolution we found deficient in Richter v. Collinsville Township (1981), 97 Ill. App. 3d 801, 423 N.E.2d 549.

The resolution further estimated expenditures for the period April 1, 1982, through September 30, 1983, the time of receiving tax receipts levied for the 1982 fiscal year, to be $306,000 and finding a surplus to exist presently and up to October 1, 1983, in excess of $100,000, authorized the transfer of $60,000 to the general road fund.

"The legal voters of any town at any annual town meeting or at a special town meeting . . . may . . . transfer from one or more town funds to other or different town fund or funds, or to the general road and bridge fund, . . . the surplus of any fund or funds over and above an amount necessary to meet town charges and expenses of such town until the time of receiving revenue levied at the next annual town meeting, . . . [p]rovided, that any resolution, adopted . . . shall specify the estimated amount of the aforesaid proper and necessary charges and expenses of such town against said fund or funds, until the time of the receipt of revenue after the next annual town meeting, and the particular amount of surplus of such town fund or funds to be paid over as aforesaid . . .."

The evidence at trial was that cash on hand in the town fund from the period September 24, 1981, until the date of trial, April 1985, was never less than $92,000 and frequently exceeded $200,000.

The township argues the resolutions do not satisfy the requirement of the Act that a surplus exists over the "amount necessary to meet town charges and expenses of such town until the time of receiving revenue levied at the next annual town meeting." (Emphasis added.) Because the voters no longer levy taxes at the annual town meeting (Ill Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 139, par. 126.3), literal compliance with the Act is impossible. Furthermore, as the town clerk need not certify the amount of taxes to be raised for town purposes until September of the year (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 120, par. 638; Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 139, par. 114), the next annual town meeting after the fiscal year April 1, 1982, to March 31, 1983, would be in April 1983 and the time for receiving revenues from taxes levied in 1983 would be in September 1984, not September 1983, a period of 29 months, not 18 months, as provided for in the resolution adopted at the annual town meeting on April 13, 1982.

While the literal wording of the Act could support the township's argument, and the special town meeting prior to the annual town meeting was undoubtedly called to comport with such a literal reading, this is an unreasonable construction of the Act which has remained in its present form since 1917. Taxes are no longer levied at the town meeting, but taxes are levied as a result of the budget-and-appropriation ordinance adopted by the trustees before the end of the first quarter of the fiscal year (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 85, par. 803) which necessarily includes the "moneys authorized to be raised by the vote of a town meeting for any town purposes" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 139, par. 124) as well as all town charges, even though the function of the electors at the annual town meeting is now of limited ...


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