To the Editor:
The voter’s crushing repudiation of County Board Chairman’s Alan Dunstan’s jail bond referendum seems more than what some deem as a grassroots organization’s resounding defeat of a reigning county monarch and his rubber stamp court followers. Instead it appears a victory for the democratic process and for good government. First, voters stood up and spoke loudly against unnecessary bonds. The people ‘sent a message to City Hall’ that the jail’s capital improvements be made on a ‘pay as you go basis’ by using over 22 million dollars of previously collected taxes.
Interestingly, many think money was saved because a reportedly preselected bond company, picked without competitive bidding, won’t now profit from Madison County’s government largesse. Thus, the voters’ decision helped prevent a cycle of perpetual bond debt and save the taxpayers’ money. In fact, in approximately two years, when Madison County’s current bonds are paid off our local government could further reduce property taxes. Voters made the right decision.
Perhaps all bond issues in Madison County and in Illinois should be subject to referendum. Although we’re blessed to live in a republic in which elected officials represent us in legislatures, on county councils, or on school boards, I wonder if citizens paying the bills shouldn’t have the final say on letting any and all bonds. What do you think? Should Illinois residents take a cue from Missouri where by state law all bonds must be approved in referendum?
Philip W. Chapman