After all, I don’t live in Grafton Township. (We live right on the Algonquin-Grafton Township line. Appropriately, it is called “Meridian Street.”)
He told me the township board did not need a referendum to borrow the month.
Frankly, that would not surprise me.
My Algonquin Township added onto its Route 14 building without referendum approval.
Somehow I missed that in all the state representative business of the time.
I told Ottley that non-referendum borrowing to buy Lakewood’s golf course (Red Tail) had cost me $500 a year for the better part of the 1990′s and that’s why I was such a strong supporter of the Tax Cap and holding referendums when local governments borrow large sums of money.
He explained to me that the cost would amount to about $7 a year per household.
He is a finance guy, after all.
He said it wouldn’t raise taxes.
There I interjected that, while financing a new township building and garage might not raise tax bills from where they are not, if the new building were not constructed, township taxes could be reduced by $7 (or whatever the figure is) a year.
That’s when I got the answer to the question in this article’s headline.
Ottley told me if the township ever asked for less than it was getting, it could never get it back.
I pointed out that it could, if a referendum could be passed.
He suggested that—passage of a township tax hike referendum—was unlikely to occur.
Much of the opposition to the $3.5 million (plus over $1.5 million in interest) Grafton Township office complex and garage is based on opposition to township government’s very existence.
Few would argue with a straight face that township supervisors should be paid what they earn.
I was reminded to write this story by Brian Slupski’s Northwest Herald story on the failure of the Dorr Township electors to approve the purchase of land for a new town hall at its annual town meeting.
Here’s a clue that fits into Ottley’s revelation:
“(Dorr Township) had set aside about $2 million for the project in the township fund and about $750,000 in the highway district’s road fund.”
That brought about an
I don’t know the size of the Woodstock-based township’s town fund, but, if someone looked, he or she might conclude that a $2 million surplus is hard to justify.
But just as with Grafton Township, if Dorr Township asked for less money than the maximum it is allowed to collect under the Tax Cap law, it would then end up with a lower base for the next year’s request.
That would result in less money every year thereafter.
Downsizing government is pretty much against all the laws of political nature, of course.
= = = = =
Grafton Township Assessor Bill Ottley is seen addressing the April 14, 2009, Annual Town Meeting. The Town Meeting photo shows the current township trustees voting to continue with the new town hall building project.