Materials sent to taxpayers about ’s referendum drove Buffalo Grove resident Rob Sherman to file a complaint this week with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Sherman alleges that the library illegally used tax revenue to promote the referendum. Voters on Tuesday will decide whether the library’s improvement plans .
The official complaint, which was filed Tuesday, came after Sherman used his website last weekend to accuse Indian Trails of putting a promotional spin on mailings and emails that it sent to residents.
Governing bodies such as library and school districts can disseminate factual information about elections, but are prohibited from telling voters how to cast their ballots.
Library officials say that a successful referendum would not have a financial impact on taxpayers, as the increased levy would be adopted as bond debt is retired. Sherman said that the library’s recent mailing, which uses green text that proclaims “GROW YOUR LIBRARY ... Not Your Tax Bill,” goes beyond providing the facts.
“That’s not neutral information about when the referendum will be or what the dollar amount of the proposed tax increase consists of,” he wrote on his website. “That's a political statement with politically-based color and emphasis added.”
Sherman also complained that other phrases included in the mailing are political statements. His official complaint includes six allegations pertaining to finances and verbiage by the library and its Friends of the Library organization.
Library director Tom Simiele defended the library’s actions and said the matter is being handled by the library’s attorneys.
“We think everything was done properly,” he said. “We think his complaint is without merit.”
An Illinois State Board of Elections hearing has been scheduled for Thursday. At the hearing, which will be closed to the public, a hearing officer will recommend whether the complaint should be dismissed, should proceed to a public hearing, or if the complaint was justified but requires no further action, Sharon Steward, director of the Campaign Disclosure Division, wrote in an email. The Board of Elections will make its decision on April 19, she said.
Sherman said if Tuesday’s referendum is approved, he will sue to have it voided.
“I can afford the extra dollars on this one,” Sherman wrote on his site. “What I can't afford is to have government officials throughout Illinois think that it's worth the risk to spend tax dollars to rig the outcome of elections.”
In other election-related news, Sherman is .