The following editorial appeared in the Daily Gazette, Sterling, Ill., on Tuesday, Feb. 26:
(MCT) — Just think of it as the “property tax” election.
We are referring to the April 9 Consolidated Election that’s coming to a county near you.
Almost all offices up for election have to do with taxing bodies that get their share of your tax dollars each year from your real estate tax bill.
A notable exclusion is county government itself, whose representatives were elected in November.
If you review the list of governmental units on your tax bill, and compare them to a sample ballot for the April 9 election, you will see the names repeated time after time.
Public library districts.
Community college districts.
Fire protection districts.
All those governments take your tax dollars.
All those governments spend your tax dollars.
And many people who decide how that money will be spent will be on the April 9 ballot.
In the era of former Dixon Comptroller Rita Crundwell and her theft of $53.7 million, chagrined Dixon taxpayers learned the hard way the value of ensuring adequate supervision over their tax dollars.
Although the next Dixon city election won’t be until 2015, people elsewhere can profit this year from the cautionary tale of the ex-comptroller and her thieving ways.
If more good people are elected to oversee tax money, poor spending decisions are less likely, not to mention illegal ones.
But local folks can’t vote unless they register first. People who are not sure of their registration status need to check with the county clerk. The last day to register is March 12 – two weeks from this past Tuesday.
So, think about writing a big check for your next real estate tax bill, then think of the local governments who will be spending your money.
Then, if you are still not convinced of the value of voting to encourage good financial stewardship of that money, think of Rita Crundwell.