TV-6 Investigates: Geneseo City Council Police Pension Tax Levy - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

TV-6 Investigates: Geneseo City Council Police Pension Tax Levy

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Geneseo City Council members spent hours questioning meeting policy, lawyer's fees, and the proper posting of meeting notices Tuesday night.

Questions have arisen about whether a tax for the City's police pension fund was changed properly.

The tax levy was approved two years ago.

The council wanted $711,000 to fund the city budget.

About $194,000 of that would be used for the police pension payment.

The Henry County Clerk noticed an error though, the city asked for more than it could by law without holding a special hearing.

The fix was done without any council oversight.

"When it was over the 105 percent (limit), they requested that it be corrected," says Geneseo Mayor Nadine Palmgren.

She says the Henry County Clerk was doing her job. Catching a City error before it led to incorrect tax bills. County Clerk Barb Link says she never knew the City Council didn't approve the change.

"I called the City of Geneseo, they reviewed it, they came back to me, and they instructed me, go ahead and take it out of the police pension fund," says Link.

Link says the approval to reduce the City's tax request by $4,300 in the pension fund came from one person, the contracted city manager.

"In the City of Geneseo at that time, was Mr. Hughes," says Link.

"They never took it back to City Council, never posted the change, never even told the police pension that they took that money," says Palmgren.

TV-6 wanted to talk to Jim Hughes in his office, but the Mayor says key card logs show he came in at six Wednesday morning, and left about an hour later. TV-6 called his phone and Hughes says he resigned. He also doesn't remember the details about the problem with the tax levy.

"We need to know what's going on, we need to know that if there's going to be an adjustment, the reason why there's going to be an adjustment," says police pension board President Tom Daley.

He says the first he heard about the pension tax change was Wednesday night. The City Clerk confirmed no meeting was ever held to discuss or vote on the change.

"We were not notified, we received no letters, or anything from the city itself," says Daley.

He says this is not the way the city should operate. He says the pension is about 70 percent funded, with a $1.5 million unfunded liability. Daley says every dollar counts.

"Not only did we lose the money that we didn't know was taken out, that's money that we could have used to make investments," says Daley.

"That's a problem," says Palmgren.

The Mayor hopes to fix those problems going forward. Keeping everything in the open for the public to see.

The City Council is trying to fix the issue.

Near the end of Tuesday night's meeting, the council asked city staff to find the $4,300 somewhere else in the budget and transfer it to the pension fund.

The transfer will take City Council approval at a future council meeting.


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