Tobin Supports Fewer Townships

A press release from Jim Tobin:

Downsizing Government in McHenry County

Chicago – Taxpayers United of America (TUA) announces its endorsement of the McHenry County initiative to consolidate townships from 17 to 8.

Jim Tobin

Jim Tobin

“There’s an exciting new trend in Illinois politics: people are pushing ideas to shrink the size and cost of government across the state,” stated TUA president, Jim Tobin.

One such movement is afoot in McHenry County.

Longtime proponent of township consolidation, Bob Anderson, has finally gained support from Mike Shorten, Nunda Twp. Trustee and chairman of McHenry County Citizens for Township Consolidation (MCC4TC).

“It’s obvious that this would save taxpayers money, about $40 million over the next 10 years according to MCC4TC estimates.”

“This is great news for taxpayers in McHenry County and we will put our full support behind this initiative. We encourage other government bureaucracies to start thinking in terms of solutions that actually reduce tax burdens instead of automatically pushing for tax increases to fund the status quo.”

“The toughest part of consolidation is fighting the small-minded government bureaucrats who stand to lose their empires…and their pensions!”

“It’s long past time that more elected officials start thinking in terms of what is best for the taxpayers rather than what is best for themselves. Illinois is the poster-child for self-serving politicians whose policies harm the very taxpayers for whom they should be advocating.”

For this initiative to advance, the County Board must agree to put referendums on the ballot in March of 2016. Those townships that approve the referendum would proceed to consolidate while those that don’t would continue as their own government unit.

For more information on the McHenry County Citizens for Township Consolidation or to make a donation, visit


Tobin Supports Fewer Townships — 44 Comments

  1. I do not understand why the foundational assumptions for “$40 million savings” cannot be outlined.

    What jobs are presumed to be eliminated?
    What are those jobs paying (salary + benefits) at Township level?

    What NEW jobs (replacements) are presumed to be created at consolidated township/and/or county level?
    What are those (new) jobs paying (salary + benefits) at consolidated township/and/or county level?

    What other possible areas of savings exist (bulk purchase road salt?)?

  2. All the anti gov dudes jumping on the band wagon, but no real numbers to back up their claims?

    So me the $$$$, otherwise I’ll go with the historic fact that big gov cost more and be a no vote.

  3. Why is this old political hack even considered relevant?

    He has been the watchdog?


    Well, if that’s true: How’s Tobin been doing these past 30 years?

  4. I can feel the Township groupies cringing at the thought the public might finally figure out that townships are the next best thing to obsolete.

    People don’t come to meetings by horse and buggy anymore, we have indoor plumbing and electricity now.

    We don’t need dynasties in townships anymore than we one in DC.

    Condense and be more efficient instead of fighting change already.

    The days of ignoring OMA and FOIA at local levels is over.

    Let’s see what’s been in the dark for so long.

  5. When will we get an answer to Susan’s questions?

    Larger government equals larger tax bills!

    Larger government equals unionized workers!

    Larger government equals higher salaries and benefits for the elected.

    Townships are the only type of government NOT run by unelected public sector employees?

    You think that McHenry County is run by the 24 elected figureheads?

    You think the all the other county wide elected officials run their offices completely?

    A County unelected elected employee once told one of the elected board members: “You will be here for a while but WE will be here long after you are gone.”

    Can townships be a run incompetently?


    Can the voters rectify the problem?

    Absolutely – look at Grafton.

    When will the voters rectify the problems at the state level?

    Probably never because the party in power controls redistricting.

    Townships are not currently subject to re-drawing of ‘districts’.

    Consolidation would accomplish that.

  6. Anyone else fed up with the complaints from Algonquin Township voters relative to “Township dynasties”?

    If you people in Algonquin township don’t like the dynasty, vote it out!

    Only Algonquin appears to have a dynasty since Kopsell moved to the County Board.

    Nunda and Algonquin township voters do not appear to be the most knowledgeable and certainly do not appear to have knowledgeable residents willing to run for Township office.

    As posted on this blog before, ONLY some Townships reduced their tax levy during the real estate value CRASH.

    They did not stop at a so-called ‘freeze’ (which was not a freeze and still resulted in higher tax collections) like the County Chairman and some board members love to BRAG about.

  7. The question before the County Board right now is simply whether or not to put this on the ballot so the voters of each township can decide.

    Under the law, a majority of the voters in EACH township to be consolidated must agree to do so.

    Frankly, I don’t see how anyone could object to at least putting this on the ballot and empowering the people as we did with the direct election of the County Board Chair.

    Once that is done, the various arguments for an against consolidation can be advanced and debated.

    That’s democracy.

  8. Per Mr. Tobin: “It’s obvious that this would save taxpayers money, about $40 million over the next 10 years according to MCC4TC estimates.”

    If it’s “obvious”, then NCC4TC must have shown him their “preliminary” findings.

    Why won’t they show them to those who will be asked to vote on the issue?

  9. Mike Walkup, fine lets vote, but how can the voters make a wise choice/vote without knowing the facts and $$$$ numbers before the vote? Maybe you should get a referendum together we can vote on getting rid of county gov also? Lots of double dippers like you who could go without our supporting your life style also. The real problem is that voters really can’t control taxation, ie you politicians raising taxes when ever you feel like it. That my friend is what needs to be changed. Every year the elected should get their balanced budgets together then ask us if it’s OK to spends what you propose, and absolutely no borrowing even short term with out a 2/3 vote for approval from us. Fact is we can’t trust any politician anymore. Trusting you dudes got us a 18T fed debt, that needs to stop now.

  10. Very serious subject, but I could not get past the notion of Shorten to consolidate.

    What kind of weird twist of fate leads us here?

  11. I would like someone to tell me what the average Township supervisor does.

    Why do they need to give a general assistance fund?

    I know what the Highway commissioner does.

    The assessor actually reports directly to the county clerk so the township is more of a geographic designation but the supervisor?

    I want to know why you can’t at least modify the structure for a cost savings.

  12. Our easements were mowed by the township in summer regularly and Lincoln Rd was fixed; now even though some are township they say the city of McHenry controls the roads.

    Well there are huge potholes on Lincoln Rd and no one is fixing them.

    The township will fix the road from Chapel Hill to Cuhlman but what is McHenry doing?

    Yet Mchenry’s decision effect our taxes regarding schools and when they built subdivisions east of the river taxes quadrupled for a lot of people.

    They said the water or land was so valuable but I don’t see buyers begging to buy these properties.

    Since 2002 property taxes have become outrageous and the storefronts are closed and only low paying jobs.

  13. inish, Supervisor is chief financial officer for the Twh and hands out general assistance.

    Supervisors often deal with senior programs also.

    I might suggest, instead of the Fed and State handling welfare, all general assistance should go threw the Supervisor.

    Why have to poor and needy drive to Woodstock or where ever when the Twh office is closer.

    Besides it’s easier to see the cheats locally than from Springfield or DC.

  14. Cal, sorry, I didn’t capitalize my second comment user name and my spelling is poor at times.

  15. Inish:

    The Supervisor basically does four things as per the original statutues:

    (1) Distributes “interim public assistance”. This is a holdover from the days when there were NO OTHER PUBLIC BENEFITS. The idea was that if Farmer Jones got run down by the team, the widow Jones could apply to the township for assistance to hire someone to help her get the crop in. Today there are a number of assistance programs. The township has been allowed to keep a vestigial function of giving out small amounts of money while people are waiting for other types of assistance to be approved. Query why the IDPA offices could do this as part of the application process. Instead, people are sent back to their township where a couple of additional hours are expended replicating the same type of forms the IDPA has already had filled out. In Nunda Township they do around 2 per month. The combined salaries of the Nunda Supervisor and his secretary are around $120K per year. You do the math.

    The other duties of the Supervisor are maintaining township cemeteries, which are now largely historic relics used only for the occasional pauper burial and for growing prairie plants (often a good place to collect seeds as they may not have been mowed in decades); serving as the Treasurer for the Road Commissioner (possibly a vestige of a time when the road guys were not that good at their 3 R’s); and holding the township meetings once per month (usually over in less than a half hour unless you were in Grafton a couple of years ago).

    The assessments are done by the township assessors.

    In the more rural townships these are part time jobs with the assessor perhaps having another day job or a farm.

    If you disagree with the assessments you can appeal to the County.

    The County Assessor is appointed except in Cook County where he/she is elected.

    There is a Board of Tax Appeals whose members are paid.

  16. Alright folks!

    We just do not learn, do we?

    We’ve been down this path before.

    Nothing has changed except some of the faces.

    Mr. Anderson promoted the abolition of McHenry County Townships in the 1990’s.

    That referendum went down to a resounding defeat!

    The public was smarter than those people promoting the referendum.

    Since then Mr. Anderson has continued his relentless agenda and vindictive attacks.

    The vast majority of McHenry County Townships; and townships
    all over the state for that matter, are rural in nature.

    Very unlike those townships represented by the current group of township-abolition minded persons.

    What we learned in the 1990s process was extremely enlightening and I would hazard to guess, aside from the new faces, has not changed that much.

    Based on current township budgets at the time, the cost for the county to assume the “services” provided by the county’s 17 townships was 3 to 5+ times greater than the cost at the township level.

    Most township officials actually do the work themselves.

    That means that the supervisor, as the treasurer/CEO of the township is responsible for just about everything. T

    he town board is the check and balance on all activities to make sure the assessor, road commissioner and the supervisor are spending the taxpayers money wisely and that they stay within their budgets.

    Most trustees are paid under $100 a month for their part.

    Most of the road commissioners and assessors do their jobs without, or limited, additional help.

    It is a rare, rural township that can provide benefits to these people.

    So some of our pompous elected officials think it is “OK” to just put the question on the ballot.

    What they neglect to remember is that there is a cost to providing valid information to the public so they have real facts rather than what the promoters throw around as numbers and worst case scenarios to make the case in achieving the goal.

    Rhetoric espoused by those pushing the county board to “just put it on the ballot… and let the people decide” makes it sound so simple.

    Remember that this is the same county board that didn’t like the fact that the public said NO to the first question on the at-large-election of the county board chairman so they put it back on the ballot.

    Lack of information available to the public they got what some of them wanted.

    Now we, you and I as taxpayers, have the pleasure of paying for another member of the county board; twenty four members and a chairman.

    How did that work out for those who did not get the connection between bigger government and more cost to the taxpayers????

    Before the “know-it-all” county board stick their collective toes in it again, send Mr. Anderson, and the suckers he has collected around him, packing.

  17. $40 million in savings?

    Sounds like somebody’s just subtracting the entire budgets of half the Townships in McHenry, on the assumption that the Townships “absorbing” them will double up on services for no additional cost.

    Or do Mike Shorten and Jim Tobin actually have the math to go with their promises?

  18. Hi Ersel! As you know, you and I agree on most things but this is one area where we part company.

    The consolidation referendum would not eliminate townships, just consolidate, and only then with full consent of the majority of the people in BOTH townships affected by each measure. there would be a total of eight separate simultaneous elections if this is on the ballot.

    If the rural folks want to keep their townships the present size, they can vote to do that.

    While it may be true that in the rural areas the township officials are jacks of all trades, in the more populated areas you have large staffs which are sometimes filled with the office holder’s own family members.

    A public office is a public trust and it is just plain wrong to turn it into a multi generational family business.

    And don’t tell me it is the “will of the people” where less than 10% generally show up to vote at the obscurely scheduled township primary elections.

    I am sure that the Township Officials of Illinois, who put up around 1000 signs compared to the three hand made signs that Bob Anderson had, and had 100 people brought in from all over the state to defeat his efforts, will have no trouble getting their side of the issue out there.

  19. Again we hear from Mike Walkup, former Democrat and long-time opponent of local control of our communities.

    Mike, why don’t we empower the people by downsizing the bloated McHenry County Board, and giving the people the ability to recall County Board members?

  20. Michael, Michael!

    Unwittingly you make my case.

    Your mindset is on Algonquin Township and that you think your constituents are not bright enough to change the way that township runs. T

    hat is the very problem with my liberal friends.

    Give your public some credit.

    Are there townships that could/should be collapsed in some fashion?

    You bet!

    I would be more impressed with my public officials if they supported legislation that allowed residents of EACH township (municipality and county for that matter), to place on the ballot, the question; should XYZ entity be abolished?

    The current law, being used to promote the suggested referenda, is a deliberate method of getting in the backdoor by confusing the issue with a blanket (countywide) referendum.

    It is nothing more than the power brokers undermining the less populated areas by chipping away at the credibility of the majority of townships.

    It isn’t good enough that Chicago, via redistricting and “other” means, controls the state of IL.

    This is no accident and built on the very mentality of those seeking to “consolidate governments” for the sake of their personal egos and/or agendas.

    Thought through, the theory that you put the question on the ballot and then let the information supporting such a question leaks out, is a tremendous political ploy.

    It is often successful because the public becomes conditioned by the confusion over half truths and outright lies and refuses to vote.

    This is so classic of politicians and points out exactly why the public actually hates them.

    As a staunch advocate of LESS government, this proposed action is a smokescreen and the unintended consequence is that it GROWS government.

    When you stand back and look at the whole picture, smaller governments are more accountable to their public.

    Bigger government is divorced from reality as those running the show are not accountable to anyone except the politicians who defer to the bureaucrats they employ.

    I hope that makes sense as it is the essence of having any thought of the public being freed of the horrendous burden of out-of-control government.

    If the county board had ALL the facts before they vote to create a referendum to consolidate townships, I would say that they had at least proven that their decision making had some merit.

    To that end, the CB needs to demand that the referendum advocates provide clear, fact based evidence to the purpose of their request.

    Short of that evidence the rhetoric surrounding this proposed referenda question is only to gather headlines and not in the best interest of the public.

    As an aside, I would make this suggestion; I would like to see a referendum asking if the county board (CB), as currently structured, should be abolished.

    Replace it with the original structure which was that the supervisor of each township (17) would join together as the county board.

    This means 7 less CB members (throw in… with “no additional benefits”).

    This way each corner of the county is equally represented.

    There is less chance for “back-scratching,” ‘mob-rule,” and vote-buying as is the case with the current structure.

  21. I’d hope Cal will post this info I just got a copy of:


    Maybe half has nothing to do with McH Co consolidation issue, more about the rest of the state Twh’s, which just adds to unnecessary info that maybe meant to confuse the reader.

    They use a number of $57M over ten years, but only give a vague description of where that savings will come form.

    Using their numbers, each tax payer will see a $18.46 saving, or $49.12 per housing unit.

    There is no accounting for the Commercial or Industrial properties and how that would effect those two figures, but of course they would be reduced some.

    They say reducing elected Twh officals would save each resident $2.91, or $5.60 per home, again with no consideration given to Com and Ind.

    15% reduction in staff, but no spread sheet or any other justification for that savings.

    They talk about centralizing and using buildings and equipment differently.

    Again with no explanation and centralizing staff at one facility with increase travel time and lower the amount of worked preform which would be cutting services.

    Redundancies of services?

    I hear this allot, but never get a straight answer of what they are?

    They make a couple good points about the Supervisors, but make little sense what talking about the Assessors and Highway Comm, where most of the cost is.

    They list the legal CONSOLIDATION PROCESS, which is fine, but there is no consideration given to us voting on whether after the process is all said and done we approve of it.

    Fact is our levy’s could be raised if the politicians so wish.

    Shouldn’t the voters have some more say in the whole process at that point?

    They mention ACCOUNTABILITY AND ENGAGED CITIZENS, isn’t that most of the problem with all gov agencies the lack there of?

    No mention of how consolidation would improve accountability.

    Many since they feel they are the ENGAGED CITIZENS, this is just really a power play on their parts?

  22. You are right, Nob… It is a smoke & mirrors charade.

    Redundancy of services… here are a couple of examples:

    The original “county nurse” served an entire county as a disseminator of news on health issues; coordinated information in the event of disease outbreaks and other similar projects. .

    Today, the county has a full department of employees; each charged with administering project “grants” like “smoking cessation counseling,” “well baby programs,” “clinics for various services” and on-and-on it goes.

    In the real world, each school now employs a nursing staff… does that give you and idea of what I mean?

    Another example is the county’s Planning and Development Department.

    Because this county accepts Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), a few years ago the board was given a real snow job suggesting that we would be forced to return three million dollars of grant money IF the county didn’t establish a HOME department.

    Well, the board members fell all over themselves to see who could be first to claim the great thing they were doing in approving this move.

    Now your county government has been buying, rehabbing and selling FIXER-UPPER houses.

    My question on this one is WHY?

    Why would we even consider such an endeavor since we have a full-blown HOUSING AUTHORITY doing exactly the same thing to fulfill their goal to transition people from Chicago to our county.

    Don’t know about you… but this makes my blood boil!

    I know this is a simple overview of examples of entrenched/complicated issues… but until the public actually sees what their elected officials are doing… we will never keep the county, country and taxpayers from going bankrupt!

  23. Ersel: Thanks for your response. Good to hear from you as always.

    I prefer to deal with facts rather than throw labels around, and, once someone (not you, the previous poster), starts attacking the messenger, the messenger has won the argument.

    First, facts are not going to “leak out”.

    The TOI (Township Officials of Illinois) is one of the most powerful political lobbying groups in the state and has kept the entire General Assembly in it’s grip for decades.

    This is why the only legislation we see coming out of Springfield relative to townships gives them more useless things to do and makes it more difficult to abolish them.

    I have absolutely no doubt that the TOI will flood McHenry County with signs, mailings, newspaper ads, letters to the editor, radio ads, and walk pieces putting forth their side of the issue.

    Both sides will be heard.

    For myself, I am not at all sure that I favor consolidation.

    I think that townships should be abolished outright.

    About 20 states do not and have never had townships and 17 counties in Illinois are likewise bereft of the ‘benefits’ of township government.

    My fear is that a successful consolidation will breathe new life into the township dinosaurs, so I am not taking a position on consolidation, just on the ability of people to be able to make their own decisions.

    Illinois has nearly 7000 units of local government, far more than any other state.

    Such Balkanization of government cannot be good for efficiency and lower taxes.

    At a bare minimum, we ought to have some type of ‘sunset’ legislation that provides that once a township has a certain percentage of it’s land swallowed up by municipalities, say 90%, there would be a referendum automatically placed on the ballot asking the residents if they want township government continued in that township.

    This should be repeated at regular intervals, say every ten years.

    The GOP is always saying that they want government to be run more like a business.

    If Bruce Rauner’s or Mitt Romney’s venture capitalist companies were to come into McHenry County and be empowered to do whatever is necessary to make us more efficient regardless of the political boundaries, the first thing they would probably do is eliminate townships (and the Regional Superintendent of Schools).

    This referendum proposal, however, does not do that.

    It just allows the voters to decide if a few less townships would be an improvement.

    I’m not sure it would but it should not be up to me or the other Board members to sit in judgment.

    The voters should decide for themselves.

    btw: I too would like to see a smaller County Board.

    I think 12 members would be ideal.

    IF you were to abolish ALL of the townships in the county, the County Board would consist of only 3 people elected at large.

    You cannot have Supervisors compose the County Board as that violates the “one person, one vote’ rule and was abandoned for that reason.

  24. Dear Michael… take a look at how well the “TINY” issue of the CB chair being elected at large went.

    Can’t say I would be terribly please with the fact that you’ve just added more cost to county government.

    In the 90’s the county did a “backroom” study of sorts… to see how the work done by the township would be assimilated into OTHER governments.

    Unfortunately, they did not want anyone to know just how bad the results would be financially… they wouldn’t commit it to any official document so…

    We can go round and round on this issue but the bottomline is that the work being done by the townships (whether you like it or not) still needs to be done.

    County assuming the majority of this work will cost many times MORE than townships… including Algonquin Twp.

    As to reducing the size of the CB…

    I thought fewer members needed to be considered at one point, myself.

    Reality is that you simple condense the number of people controlling things.

    Costs escalate because it becomes a “full-time-job” and there is less representation for those residents living outside the municipalities.

    I say that because experience clearly shows that to be the case.

    I do not understand why it is so difficult to learn from what is going on around us????

    Chicago is pretty much running everything.

    That is what you get when you have a handful of folks controlling things; just as the southeast corner of McHenry County controls the whole county.

    Eight of the current members come from that area.

    Just how would dropping the board to 12, or whatever number you choose, change the power base and neglect everyone else?

  25. Local government is the only government that should stand.

    People should be able to govern themselves.

    Personal integrity and responsibility should be the order of our lives.

    Centralizing government has only lead to tyranny every single time it has gotten its greasy paws on the people.

  26. Mike Walkup, TOI is a strong lobby granted.

    What are they lobbying for that costs tax payers extra money?

    Also please explain why eliminating Twhs and creating a bigger county gov agency will save us money when historically big gov agencies actually cost more?

    If a Twh is 90% municipal, and the Twh is voted out, who maintains the other 10% of the residents? Are you suggesting forced annexation?

    You mentioned the GOP, all discussion should have nothing to do with one party or the other or other counties or states either.

    Please deal with our problems only and not add unnecessary tangents!


  27. Ersel, I remember the discussion on county maintaining the Twh roads, and you are correct, the county numbers were way higher.

    I’d bet that info would be quite hard to find and make public don’t ya know.

  28. Nob, I don’t think it would be too hard to get the numbers.

    I submitted an article to Cal….

    I believe it will be posted on Saturday.

    Lets see how folks respond to the concept I am proposing then we can take some of these questions to a very different level…

    I hope!

  29. This has been the best discussion I have witnessed on this blog….

    Hats off to all of you for staying on the issue….

  30. I did not include those who chose to attack the man…in my previous comment…

  31. There is a study involving Cook County townships, which are very similar to AL township here, that there would be a 50% savings if the township functions were to be taken over by other governmental bodies.

    I will look up the link and post it later, maybe on Ersel’s Saturday post.

    However, again we are not talking about township elimination here, just consolidation.

  32. Good Cindy.

    Then we can have the primary elections on the fourth Tuesday in February every four years in odd numbered years.

    Do you think you will remember to show up?

    According to the County Clerk’s office, in 2013 where there were very contentious primary contests in AL and Nunda and Grafaton, but only 4.68% of the registered voters showed up.

    In one Algonquin precinct which had 1221 registered voters, only ONE PERSON VOTED! (AL 59).

    That’s right!

    One person out of 1221!!!!!

  33. Using a straw man argument, Mike?

    I just lost a little respect for you.

  34. Mike it’s a shame people don’t spend the time to vote, but unless the issue at hand isn’t something to worry about, most people don’t bother obviously.

    Highest voting normally is for school referendums, ie control of taxes.

    Apparently most people don’t worry about Twh elections because they are such a small part of the tax bill, and see no apparent problems with them either.

    Seems like only a small number of politicians and a few tax payers like BA with a ax to grind are concerned about Twhs.

    Seems more like a back door power play going on, and when

    will you be answering my previous questions about your above statements?

  35. Cindy, in Wis most of the interstates normal maintenance is done by the county’s not WDOT.

    I’m not sure how the $$$$$ are distributed related to that, but travel time is reduced, and snow plowing seems better because of their set up.

    IDOT in our county could be eliminated using the Wis model.

    Also county roads, say like Cary-Alg road, should be maintained by either the VOC or Alg Twh as they often have to use those roads to get to their roads.

    County crews are west of Woodstock which means more travel time and less actual work preformed.

    McDOT has talked about adding a garage in the SE part of the county because something like 40% of their roads are this way.

    Why add more expense with a new building when the local Twh or municipality could handle those roads with less travel time?

    CL worked out some kind of deal with IDOT to maintain 14, I’m not sure how the $$$$ flow for that, but I know CL PW took it on because IDOT was doing a poor job of snow plowing and seems to never sweeped the roads so streets would flood more than they should have.

  36. Excellent suggestions, Nob… could form a basis for further discussion!

  37. Oh, Mike, we’re not ‘attacking the messenger’.

    Just exposing lies, half-truths, and distortions.

    Isn’t that a lawyer’s stock in trade?

  38. Prior to 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that legislative bodies had to be one man-one vote.

    That led to the current system of electing County Board members.

  39. I believe Vermillion County also has an elected county assessor.

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