Attorney General issues opinions
Under section 4 of the Attorney General Act (15 ILCS 205/4 (West 2005 Supp.)), the Attorney General is authorized, upon request, to furnish written legal opinions to State officers and State’s Attorneys on matters relating to their official duties. The following is a summary of official opinions 06-002 through 06-003 and informal opinions I-06-023 through I-06-041 that may be of interest to the government bar. Summaries for official opinion 06-001 and informal opinions I-06-001 through I-06-022 may be found in the June 2006 issue of the Government Lawyers’ Newsletter.
Copies of an opinion may be requested by contacting the Opinions Bureau in the Attorney General’s Springfield office at (217) 782-9070. Copies of official opinions may also be found on the internet at <http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/opinions/index.html>.
Opinion No. 06-002
Issued September 12, 2006
Felony Forfeiture of Pension Benefits
The felony conviction of George Ryan, a member of the General Assembly Retirement System, for various Federal offenses related to or arose out of or were in connection with his service as Governor and Secretary of State. Therefore, he has forfeited all pension benefits generated by his service to the State. 40 ILCS 5/2-156 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-023\
Issued April 7, 2006
Admissibility of Records Not Continuously in Custody of Public Officer
A township record of a local option referendum more than 30 years old and found with a collection of other old public records of local units of government in a local historical museum may be admissible into evidence as an ancient record, although its authenticity as a public record may not be proven by the continuous custody of the township clerk. 50 ILCS 205/1 et seq. (West 2004); 60 ILCS 1/75-5 (West 2004); 735 ILCS 5/8-1203 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-024
Issued April 7, 2006
Emergency Response under an Intergovernmental Agreement–Sangamon County Central Dispatch System and Sherman Fire Protection District
Nothing in the agreements reviewed grants to the Sangamon County Central Dispatch System the authority to routinely dispatch the Sangamon County Rescue Squad to respond to emergency calls within the boundaries of the Sherman Fire Protection District, unless the District has requested assistance from the rescue squad or an agreement is executed between the System and the District authorizing such routine dispatch. 70 ILCS 705/6 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-025
Issued April 28, 2006
Sheriff’s Authority to Assess Fee for Taking Bail
The assessment of a “booking fee” is not specifically referred to by statute. If an increase in the fee for taking bonds is justified by an acceptable cost study and other requirements of section 4-5001 of the Counties Code are satisfied, however, a county board may adopt an ordinance authorizing a county sheriff to assess a fee in an amount in excess of the $1 authorized by statute. 55 ILCS 5/4-5001 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-026
Issued May 4, 2006
Courthouse Holiday Schedule
The county board lacks the requisite authority to close all offices in the county courthouse on a given day other than the legal holidays expressly provided for in section 17 of the Promissory Note and Bank Holiday Act. 55 ILCS 5/5-1005 (West 2004); 205 ILCS 630/17 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-027
Issued May 11, 2006
Authority of University Police to Prohibit the Presence of Other Law Enforcement Agencies on Campus
There is no order of legal priority among the various police departments (campus, city, county, and State) whose statutory jurisdictions encompass Northern Illinois University’s DeKalb (NIU) campus. Neither the NIU Board of Trustees nor the NIU Police Department has the authority to deny or prohibit the presence, on campus, of City of DeKalb Police officers, DeKalb County Sheriff’s officers, or the Illinois State Police. 110 ILCS 685/30-45(11) (West 2004); 720 ILCS 5/2-13 (West 2004), as amended by 94-730, effective April 17, 2006.
Informal Opinion No. I-06-028
Issued May 25, 2006
Closure of County Offices During Inclement Weather
The sheriff is responsible for the care and custody of the courthouse but has no authority to regulate the days and hours during which county offices and the courts conduct business within the courthouse. The days and hours of operation for the office of State’s Attorney are determined by the State’s Attorney; those of the circuit clerk are determined by rule of the circuit court; and those of the judges are determined by order of the chief judge. The county board possesses the authority to fix the days and hours of operation for the county clerk’s office, county treasurer, sheriff, and recorder, and the days and hours of operation of other county officers and employees. 55 ILCS 5/3-6017 (West 2004); 55 ILCS 5/5-1005 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-029
Issued May 31, 2006
Local Option Referendum in Former Road District
The portion of a county unit road district, which prior to consolidation was “dry,” retains that status. Its status may be changed by referendum or by petition of 2/3 of the voters residing in the dry territory. 235 ILCS 5/9-8 (West 2004); 235 ILCS 5/9-9 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-030
Issued June 15, 2006
Police Retention of Forfeited Firearms and Related Equipment
There are a number of ways in which a local Illinois police department may come into possession of forfeited firearms and related equipment. The extent and manner in which these items may be used and retained, are dependent upon the statutory authority through which they were forfeited and the terms of any related court order. 720 ILCS 5/24-6 (West 2004); 720 ILCS 550/12 (West 2004); 720 ILCS 570/505 (West 2004); 725 ILCS 150/1 (West 2004); 765 ILCS 1030/2,3 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-031
Issued June 21, 2006
Compatibility of Offices--School Board Member and County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency Coordinator; School Board Member and County Zoning Administrator
Because of a conflict in duties, the office of school board member is incompatible with the offices of county emergency services and disaster agency coordinator and county zoning administrator. 55 ILCS 5/5-12008, 5-12019 (West 2004); 105 ILCS 10-22.13a, 10-22.35 (West 2004); Public Act 94-600, effective August 16, 2005, to be codified at 105 ILCS 128/25.
Informal Opinion No. I-06-033
Issued July 13, 2006
Property Annexed Prior to Levy Date is Subject to Property Tax
If annexed property was within the library district on the date of the tax levy, i.e., the date that the tax levy ordinance was passed by the library district board, owners of the annexed property would be liable for property taxes levied by the library district for the period for which the levy applies. 75 ILCS 16/30-85 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-034
Issued July 27, 2006
Use of Court Automation Fees for Computer Network Wiring Upgrade in the Courthouse
The proceeds of fees collected under section 27.3a of the Clerks of Courts Act may be used to pay for the purchase and installation of replacement computer network wiring for the courthouse computer network system to the extent that such replacement is related to the automation of court records. The county board may properly expend funds for such purposes, provided the expense is approved by the clerk of the circuit court and the chief judge of the circuit court. 705 ILCS 105/27.3a (West 2005 Supp.).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-035
Issued August 3, 2006
Use of Court Automation Fees for Computer Systems for Non-Judicial Offices and Staff
The proceeds of fees collected under section 27.3a of the Clerks of Courts Act may be used to pay for computer systems or supplies to the extent that such items are related to the automation of court records. The county board may properly expend funds for such purposes, provided the expense is approved by the clerk of the circuit court and the chief judge of the circuit court. 705 ILCS 105/27.3a (West 2005 Supp.)
Informal Opinion No. I-06-036
Issued August 10, 2006
Use of Proceeds from the Special County Retailers’ Occupation Tax for Public Safety or Transportation for Operational Expenses
Proceeds from the Special County Occupation Tax for Public Safety or Transportation Law may properly be used to fund “public safety” purposes, such as the operational expenses of the county sheriff’s office, county emergency services and disaster agency, the State’s Attorney’s office, the coroner’s office, and the county probation department. The public defender’s office may not use the Tax’s proceeds for its operational expenses. Similarly, a county disaster relief fund does not serve a “public safety” purpose within the Law. 55 ILCS 5/5-1006.5 (West 2004), as amended by Public Act 94-781, effective May 19, 2006.
Informal Opinion No. I-06-037
Issued August 25, 2006
Use of Proceeds from the Special County Retailers’ Occupation Tax For Public Safety or Transportation to Build a Courthouse
Proceeds from the Special County Retailers’ Occupation Tax For Public Safety or Transportation Law must be used exclusively for public safety or transportation purposes. The construction of a new courthouse does not constitute a public safety purpose. Use of the proceeds of the Tax to construct portions of a courthouse that would be used for public safety purposes, such as a county jail or a county sheriff’s office, would not be improper. 55 ILCS 5/5-1006.5 (West 2004), as amended by Public Act 94-781, effective May 19, 2006.
Informal Opinion No. I-06-039
Issued September 1, 2006
County Board Member-Investigator Voting on Reorganization of Public Defender’s Office; Authority of County Board to Adopt Procedures for Determining and Addressing Conflicts of Interest
(1) A county board member-investigator who performs private investigative services for the county public defender’s office is disqualified from voting or acting on matters involving the public defender’s office. (2) A county board lacks the authority to adopt a conflict of interest policy that is inconsistent with Illinois law. 50 ILCS 105/3 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-040
Issued October 19, 2006
Equalization Factor Information Required on Real Estate Tax Statements
Pursuant to section 20-15 of the Property Tax Code, the county’s and the Department of Revenue’s equalization factors must be listed separately on real estate tax statements. However, only a single equalized assessment, resulting from application of both factors to the assessed valuation, must be provided on such statements. 35 ILCS 200/20-15 (West 2004).
Informal Opinion No. I-06-041
Issued November 9, 2006
Compatibility of Offices–County Zoning Board of Appeals Member and Township Plan Commission Member
The offices of county zoning board of appeals member and township plan commission member in counties that have adopted a county zoning ordinance pursuant to division 5-12 of the Counties Code are compatible. 55 ILCS 5/5-12009, 5-12011, 5-12014 (West 2004); 60 ILCS 1/105-35 (West 2004).