CHARLESTON -- Critics of the Coles County Board renewed arguments Tuesday that board members are illegally receiving county health insurance coverage and that a member received favoritism on a property assessment appeal.

The board's meeting Tuesday also included more criticism of a county property assessment project and a board member's response that "we're doing the best that we can."

John Kraft with the government scrutiny group known as the the Edgar County Watchdogs cited what he said were legal precedents on the insurance matter.

He repeated contentions made at earlier meetings, including that board members can't receive the insurance unless the board approves it before each of the members' terms of office begins.

"You can't receive things you're not telling the public you're getting," Kraft said, adding that a lawsuit over the matter was possible.

The course continued though county State's Attorney Jesse Danley provided the board with a response at its last meeting, which said annual approval wasn't need.

That's because the benefit was "never discontinued" since it was first offered to board members in 1977, he said.

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Neither Danley nor any board member responded to Kraft during the meeting. Asked about it afterward, however, Danley said his opinion hasn't changed but he's open to "continuing to investigate" and look at Kraft's claims.

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Also Tuesday, James DiNaso of the Concerned Tax Payers of Coles County renewed the group's criticism of the reduction board member Paul Daily received for a building where his farm and seed business are located.

Among his claims was that a review of the records of Daily's appeal to the county Board of Review showed a discrepancy in which of the buildings on Daily's property received the value change.

"There's no equal justice," DiNaso said. "We all need to play by the same rules."

After the meeting, Daily said he did have to correct the Board of Review on which building to apply the change. He continued in his position that his appeal was handled properly and said a visit to the property by his township's assessor confirmed it.

Robb Perry of the Concerned Tax Payers group questioned the board about response to questions about the county project to reassess commercial and industrial property.

That began about three years ago after business property in the county hadn't received new values for taxing purposes since a countywide reassessment in 2001. The reassessment was also what sparked the criticism the board's faced every month since.

In response to Perry, board Vice Chairman Brandon Bell said there should be progress now that there's someone in the county supervisor of assessment's position after it's been vacant for months.

He was referring to the board's vote Tuesday to appoint Kelly Munyon to the position on an interim basis, at least until it's known whether she passed a state-required test for the position.

"We're doing our best to get that job done that wasn't done for 16 years," Bell said. "If you give us some time, we'll work with you."

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Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave



Dave Fopay is a reporter for the JG-TC who covers Coles County, the local court system, Charleston schools and more.

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