Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County No. 95TX1(30) Honorable Ronald C. Dozier, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice McCULLOUGH
Plaintiffs paid 1994 real-estate taxes under protest and filed objections to the levies of several units of local government in McLean County. Part of plaintiffs' complaint alleged that 73 taxing districts accumulated improper surpluses, invalidating their property-tax levies.
Defendants filed motions to dismiss, which the trial court granted at an April 24, 1996, hearing. The trial court ruled that plaintiffs had to follow the formula in Central Illinois Public Service Co. v. Miller, 42 Ill. 2d 542, 248 N.E.2d 89 (1969), and that formula needed to be applied on a fund-by-fund basis. The trial court granted leave for plaintiffs to amend their complaint. After plaintiffs filed amended objections, both plaintiffs and defendants filed motions for summary judgment on the issue of excess accumulation. At an October 31, 1996, hearing, the trial court granted summary judgment to defendants as to funds with an accumulated surplus below the Miller guidelines and as to other funds when defendants filed affidavits justifying the surplus.
On July 28, 2000, the trial court approved the parties' stipulation setting forth the amount of tax to be refunded by each taxing entity. The trial court then ordered the county collector to refund $21,913.86 plus interest. On August 25, 2000, plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal, stating that plaintiffs were appealing: "from portions of the [f]inal [o]rder entered *** July 28, 2000, in the following particulars:
1. The trial court's order on April 24, 1996, granting the dismissal of all of [plaintiffs'] allegations of unlawful accumulation of surplus funds in [f]iremen's [p]ension [f]unds, [p]olicemen's [p]ension [f]unds, the Illinois Retirement Fund, Social Security, and Medicare;
2. The trial court's order on April 24, 1996, granting the dismissal of [plaintiffs'] allegations of unlawful accumulation of surplus funds in the levies of the home-rule municipalities of the Town of Normal and the City of Bloomington;
3. The trial court's order on October 31, 1996, granting summary judgment in favor of the following taxing districts on the issue of illegal accumulation of surplus funds:
Funks Grove Township (Town Fund)
Lexington Township (Town Fund)
Money Creek Township (Town Fund)
White Oak Township (General Assistance Fund)
Lexington Community Fire Protection District (Operation Fund)
City of Chenoa (General Assistance Fund)."
On November 2, 2000, plaintiffs' attorney made a motion in this court to amend the notice of appeal "to include a couple of additional issues to be appealed." We allowed the motion, and plaintiffs filed an amended notice of appeal, substituting the ...