After the public comment period, the contents of which can be found here, the McHenry County Board considered the township consolidation proposals put forth by the Task Force.
The debate began with Carolyn Schofield making a $15,000 study of township consolidation by Northern Illinois University.
She announced that she was the best informed on the subject and attacked the robo-call made by proponents of putting consolidation on the ballot.
She complained about the proponents using her home phone number, which she said she had removed from the County web site.
She complained about the “bullying” content of the messages left at her home, all but one of which she said were not suitable for her children to have heard.
She complained of misleading information in the recording.
“It’s politics over policy,” she charged.
“The group offered no cost analysis, no [didn’t catch the next line].
“There was not enough time to get answers,” the Chairwoman complained.
“Why are we in such a rush?
“[There’s no] opportunity to find the answer of where are the inefficiencies and the cost savings?
“Not paralysis by analysis,” she said, referring to a comment made in July by fellow Task Force member Donna Kurtz.
“The push for this consolidation has been nothing but political.”
Next up was consolidation proponent Michael Walkup.
He charged that Schofield was “sandbagging” the township consolidation effort.
In a trial, “that’s where you lay in the weeds and then spring it on somebody in the middle of a trial.
“This could have been part of their [the Task Force’s] recommendation and it was not done.
“It could be considered deliberate.
“Just scuttes the entire attempt to put it on the ballot to have new township elections in 2017.”
[Scuttling is the act of deliberately sinking a ship by allowing water to flow into the hull.]
“[This path] was taken for transition [purposes]..”
Walkup then told of how the Illinois House had formed a Task Force to consider transition if townships were to be abolished.
Chaired by McHenry County State Rep. Ann Hughes of Hartland Township, the group ignored its mission at the behest of the Township Officials of Illinois, Walkup said, and passed a statute which required
- petitions to abolish township government in all townships to have 10% of the registered voters in each township and
- referendums to pass by a three-fourths majority
The courts threw out the petition signature part of the law, but refused to rule on the second part because no referendum had been held since the law was passed.
“The state legislature will do absolutely nothing concerning any [transition] glitch…because they are completely under the influence of the Township Officials of Illinois.
“The only way to force them [to] do something [is] by consolidation.”
Mike Skala was next on the microphone.
He said he had “read everything from the Task Force” and wanted to comment on three things.
He was “not satisfied with the data there.”
When he asked the proponents why there wasn’t a study, he was “told they didn’t have the money to do the study.”
He said he wanted the township side, too.
“I am completely in favor of allowing people to vote on this [the resolution for a study].
“I totally want the information.”
The second aspect concerned the robo-call.
He said he got nine phone calls and talked to six.
“All but one were very much in favor of having the information.
“One lady said, ‘I don’t care what happens to my taxes. I just want consolidation.”
“I really do feel they need the facts.
“I think there should be a fact-gathering on both sides.
Commenting on the resolution for a study, Scala saw the need for it but “$15,000 is not enough money to do the job…half-assed.”
He suggested spending $40,000 to do “a decent study” and offered an amendment to that effect. [The county is spending a bit over $20,000 to have a consulting firm suggest what the future for the Valley Hi nursing home should be.]
Having been attacked by Schofield, Donna Kurtz struck back.
“This should have been anticipated months and months ago.
“This is not the way to do business.”
Schofield was immediately recognized again.
“I have been working very hard on this and have a great deal of knowledge on this.
“I looked for a committee for this to go through.”
Yvonne Barnes found fault that an independent organization was specifically names in the resolution.
The resolution “seems so vague to me.”
“There you go again,” Andrew Gasser said.
“I see poor Ralph [Sarbaugh, the finance guy] with his head down with his face buried in his laptop again.
“Is this an extraordinary situation.?”Are lives at stake in McHenry County?
“I’m really disappointed in us as a legislative body.
“We’re saying we’re fiscally responsible, but we’re not.
We don’t have a blank check book.”
Nick Provenzano joined the criticism.
“How ironic that we’re here with something that hasn’t gone through committee.
“We’re going to be voting on much more mysterious motions.
“It’s as mysterious as the next eight motions [the ones concerning township consolidation].
Barnes again: “There’s no checks and balances.”
Kurtz: “Members of the Task Force were not asked for their input.
“We’re being asked to just rubber stamp a proposal that’s not thought out and could have been considered by the Task Force and [vetted] by Finance and Audit [Committee].
The Board voted 14-8 not to increase the cost of the study from $15,000 to $40,000.
The eight who wanted to almost triple the amount were Kopsell, McCann, Miller, Nowak, Provenzano, Skala and Gottemoller.
By the same numbers, the Board sent the resolution to committee for further consideration.
Voting in the minority were Aavang, Hammerand, Jung, McCann, Miller, Provenzano, Skala and Smith.