14 hrs ·
Boone County Health Department receives final notice
By Lisa Rodgers
The Rhubarb Publisher/Editor
BOONE COUNTY-Since February of 2016 the VFW has addressed fees charged by the Boone County Health Department (BCHD) for food permits at its monthly board meetings. The blame game has gone on for months now that the fault rested with the VFW for paying an invoice sent to them by the Boone County Health Department for a food permit fee. $450 for a food permit and a $20 filing fee for a total of $470 just for 2016. The question was also raised if they were or were not a “Bona fide not-for profit” organization. At the May Boone County Board of Health meeting an offer of $412 was made to the VFW to settle the issue in regards to the food permit fees.
In Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted to the BCHD is was revealed that the American Legion has only been paying the food permit filing fee of $20 unlike the VFW. The American Legion was also sent invoices but has only paid the $20 filing fee for years. Both organizations are classified by the IRS as a not-for-profit organizations. It should be noted that the FOIA’s revealed the VFW is paying significantly more for a food permit fee than other local fast food establishments.
The FOIA’s also revealed the Moose Club along with the VFW has been sent invoices as well for $450 plus a filing fee of $20 by the Boone County Health Department. The Moose Club is also a not-for-profit organization in Boone County. They like the VFW have been paying the full amount in the invoice sent to them by the Boone County Health Department.
The language in question revolves around the Boone County Code of whether or not a fee may be charged.
In Sec. 30-35. - Submission and review of plans; permits in the Boone County Code it states the following under section (h).
Fee waiver. Bona fide not-for-profit agencies and organizations which operate food service establishments are subject to the permitting, inspection and other requirements of this Code with the exception of the payment of permit fees.”
Please note the Boone County Code does not specify which is or is not a not-for-profit organization.
However, on the current BCHD application for a food permit the following is listed as the requirement for a waiver of fees.
“□ FEE WAIVER: In order to waive the food permit fee, you must include a copy of a current IL Dept. of Revenue “E” Tax Number OR documentation of an “umbrella” type relationship from a national organization which is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Note that tax-exempt and 501(c)(3) organizations are not exempt from late fees.”
It should be noted that 501 (c)(3) organizations are NOT the only not-for-profit organizations identified by the Internal Revenue Service.
In a letter to the Editor from February 2016 Commander Kelm wrote, “Please look at these numbers. The Boone County Health Department budget. In 2014 total expenditures were: $1,134,594. Salaries and Benefits were $758,780 ---- 66.9% Hang on for this one. In 2015 total expenditures were: $1,104,141. Salaries and Benefits were $979,852 ---- 88.7% Almost a 22% increase in Salaries and Benefits. Also food permit fees for non-profit organizations has gone up 522% over the last 10 years. A question to our County Board and the Boone County Health Department Board. What the heck is going on? Do any of you care? (I personally know, a few of you do care, unfortunately you seem to be the minority)…”
The following is a letter Commander Greg Kelm has sent to the Boone County Board of Health. Permission has been given to The Rhubarb to publish this letter in full.
“Members of the Board of Health:
At our May 9th 2016 meeting VFW/Boone County Veterans Club (last night).
The issue of being charged fees that we should not have been charged since 2008 by the Boone County Health Department. The IRS letter given to health department in 2008.
After reading the opinion from Boone County State's Attorney Michelle Courier to Bill Hatfield April 26th 2016........ "a statute could prevent them from collecting".....(the key word being could).
And to quote States Attorney Courier "it is my opinion that the VFW is a nonprofit under the current definition and should not have been charged” After talking with Michelle Courier through her assistant Ms. Rohrer. "Could means could, just that" per Michelle Courier.
After presenting the $412 offer to end this matter by Ms. Branson from the May 2nd 2016 to the BCVC/VFW the board (VFW/BCVC) unanimously rejected the $412 from the board offer to settle for $3135 in wrongful fees.
Our board then unanimously voted to hire legal counsel and finally settle this matter in court. If this matter does go to court, besides the 8 years of fees, we will now ask for court costs and all our legal counsel fees, and interest from wrongfully charged fees.
If you so choose we will accept $3135 minus $200 records/database charge $20 a year for 10 years. We will accept a check for $2935 to resolve this issue if you so choose.
The VFW/BCVC board ask me to make one final attempt with a letter asking you to put this issue to rest.
Once we hire council the $2935 offer to settle will be immediately be removed.
Gregory W. Kelm
President of Boone County Veteran's Club 2006-2017
Commander VFW Post 1461, Belvidere, Illinois 2006-2017
Commissioner of the Boone County VAC 2012-2016”
The next Boone County Board of Health Meeting will be held at Noon on June 6, 2016 at 1204 Logan Ave. Belvidere, IL 61008.