David McSweeney Preparing Bill to Allow Voters to Abolish Township Government

David McSweeney

State Rep. David McSweeney has seen enough.

Reading about what is happening in Algonquin Township, he has decided to introduce a bill that would allow voters to abolish township governments.

The legislation would require a petition to trigger a referendum signed by five percent of the voters of any township.

A majority vote could abolish any township government.

“My conclusion after reading what’s going on in Algonquin Township is that we need to eliminate township government.”

He told of hearing criticism of the high legal fees, as well as other revelations that have been found on McHenry County Blog and other places.

“The who thing is just an example of what is wrong with government.

“It’s an example of government at its worst.”

= = = = =
The Illinoins State Constitution says,

“Townships may be consolidated or merged, and one or more townships may be dissolved or divided, when approved by referendum in each township affected.”


David McSweeney Preparing Bill to Allow Voters to Abolish Township Government — 50 Comments

  1. The state Constitution would appear to allow this already but there is no specific legislation so there would be a legal battle if someone tried to do it.

    A bill, if passed over the opposition undoubtedly of the powerful Township Officials of Illinois (TOI), would clear this up.

    That is why it probably won’t pass.

  2. All sounds good in theory but who or what provides the services that the Township does now ?

    Yea I know give it to the county Jack needs a place to put his little patronage buddies.

  3. Township provides rip off ‘services’ for governmental drones.

    Three Cheers for McSweeney, the man who CANNOT be bought!

  4. I think townships do need to go.

    Sadly McSweeney wont get it done.

    As disliked as he is by his fellow legislators no one supports anything controversial he comes up with.

  5. Yes Swordfish. Townships were created in the 1850’s when everyone was dependent on the horse.

    You couldn’t do the roads all the way across the county with a horse drawn buckboard full of gravel. You needed a smaller area.

    The same with assessments and supervision of widely scattered cemeteries.

    Back then government didn’t have the same kind of safeguards for transparency and accountability that is expected today, but they have stayed the way they were set up because they have a powerful lobby in Springfield that opposes any changes and because the elections for township officials take place at obscure times with low voter attendance.

    It also was never contemplated way back then that towns would grow to the point that they would swallow up the townships making them much less relevant and less efficient.

    The fact that the immediate past President of the TOI is under FBI investigation, and may possibly face charges, could spur some changes.

    We can only hope.

  6. Letting voters get more involved and telling them their vote actually can change gov works.
    Voter involvement would increase if Dave would instead push this legislation as most needed:

    Bill Status of HB4066 100th General Assembly
    Synopsis As Introduced
    Amends the Property Tax Code. Provides that, for levy years 2017 through 2020, the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law applies to all taxing districts, including home rule units. Provides that, for levy years 2017 through 2020, the extension limitation under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law is 0% or the rate of increase approved by the voters. Provides that, for taxing districts that became subject to the Law as a result of the amendatory Act, “aggregate extension” does not include special purpose extensions made for the payment of principal and interest on bonds or other evidences of indebtedness issued by the taxing district prior to the effective date of the amendatory Act. Provides that taxing districts may provide for the continuation of the amendatory Act for up to 4 years upon referendum approval. Provides that the voters of the taxing district may require a reduction in the taxing district’s aggregate extension base by referendum. Preempts home rule. Amends the State Mandates Act to require implementation without reimbursement. Effective immediately.

    Change a few words to make it on going and make it a 2/3 vote for approval.

  7. It appears the political end game here in McHenry County is to eliminate townships.

    As a tax payer that lives on a township road, I’m very concerned about the process.

    We depend on those services and safe driving is a big part of those services.

    The problem is people pushing for elimination have only hope that will save no numbers and inclusive facts to prove there would be a savings by consolidating the township functions into the County or a Municipality.

    The NIU study done really lacked inclusive proof of any kind in their study, it’s vague at best.

    There was a in house study done in the late 90s by McDOT on a county takeover of all the township roads.

    When those numbers were compared to known township numbers, the McDOT costs were more.

    There are issues with buildings available and size limitations, extra travel and fuel costs for Assessors and Road crews, and etc etc.

    Supervisor functions have some waste that could be realigned though in relation to handing out Assistance, but the county doesn’t have a department to handle that either.

    As a tax payer that relies on township services, I’m asking that before services are interrupted like it has already in Algonquin Township, the NWH, NIU, Bob Anderson, and any other anti township people, to stop giving us hope, just prove “IT”! Prove that bigger government agencies save $$$$$, with solid inclusive well thought out numbers to back your claims.

    We all like lower property taxes, that’s a given.

  8. Doodie wants townships to go???

    Hah, now that he’s out of one?

    STFU Bob.

    McSweeney has more honor in one single hair on his head than your whole family put together.

  9. Folks in unincorporated areas could always ask to be annexed to a municipality.

  10. That would mean hire taxation wouldn’t it Cal!

    How about you start a on going conversation about township elimination and let both sides freely add important info on the subject?

    Ask Willson lead the discussion and have Condon involved also.

    Everyone could contribute.

    You’re good at FOIA, ask McDOT for it’s report done in the 90s on county take over of all township road costs.

  11. Nob?

    When you and the other goofballs fight so hard to defend all the crap the Millers have done you make any points against township elimination irrelevant.

  12. No one I know defended ALL.

    If we eliminated all gov with personnel problems we’d have no gov.

    As good as that sounds it’s not realistic

  13. Each Township’s residents should have the vote.

    Out in rural areas I’d bet they’d vote to keep their townships.

    Algonquin Township, not so much – specially after they’re learning how they’ve been ripped off royally!

  14. McSweeney plans a vote only if 5% of the voters in a township sign a petition asking for one.

    There would be no automatic referendums.

  15. Im not sayin eliminate townships Nob. Im not on that bandwagon. I’m saying your points mean nada cause your heads so far up Millers rear end.

  16. David? I beg you not to throw the baby out with the bath water. I fear that you will get the ill-informed voters to think less is more and vote for this really bad idea. You saw what happened when voters were presented with the black box question on our roads. This will come to no good; but in a larger more egregious manner.

  17. 4400 signatures huh?

    The requirement to run for Governor is 5000 signatures and those campaigns usually have to pay people to circulate.

    No simple task, but that’s the intent.

  18. Bob Anderson collected 13,000 signatures to try to abolish all of the townships in the county so 4400 is very doable.

    Currently, assuming the Constitutional provision can be applied with no other legislation, one would have to get 8% of those who voted for governor in the last general election.

    This is due to a catch all provision in the Election Code because nothing else is provided.

    There was under 50% voter participation in the 2014 governor’s race county wide so it would be about 4% of the registered voters using the provision from the state constitution.

    Bob Anderson made two attempts to abolish only McHenry Township using the constitutional provision.

    He fell a handful of valid signatures short on one and there was no objection by then Supervisor Donna Shaeffer on the other.

    In neither case did the township try to claim that it couldn’t be done under existing law.

    So it can be done already if someone wants to do it for the General Election this Fall.

  19. If it is done as an advisory referendum, people will not be freaked out over the questions of who will take over the township functions and the sentiment on abolition versus keeping the township can be better gauged.

    Then if they vote to abolish, the other issues will have more momentum behind them to force a resolution.

  20. 4400 for just Alg twh.

    Each unit of gov would take 5% of the voters that live in that legal boundary.

  21. From my conversation with Rep. McSweeney, the referendum would not be advisory.

  22. Synopsis As Introduced

    Creates the Citizens Empowerment Act. Provides that electors may petition for a referendum at the next general election to dissolve a unit of local government. Sets forth the requirements for the petition, together with the form and requirements for the ballot referendum. Provides for the transfer of all real and personal property, and any other assets, together with all personnel, contractual obligations, and liabilities of the dissolving unit of local government to the receiving unit of local government. Amends the Election Code to provide exceptions for the Citizens Empowerment Act. Effective immediately.

  23. Cal: I realize that.

    However, the townships use the scare tactic of “who will plow the roads?” etc. to defeat every attempt that has been made thus far.

    I would think that the Township Board could put an advisory referendum on the ballot without a voter petition.

    Given it’s advisory nature, any type of wording could be used.

    It could even be in two parts.

    (1) Should township government be abolished in ….Township?

    (2) If so, who should take over township functions, (a) County; (b) adjacent municipalities; (c) some combination of county and municipalities?

    btw: The County can consolidate up to 3 townships with or without a referendum, the only limitation being that the new township can’t exceed 126 square miles.

    McHenry County could therefore be divided into six townships with whatever boundaries are desired.

    The county has approximately 600 square miles so each one would be 100 square miles

    You could draw a line down the middle of the county through Woodstock and then put three equal sized townships on either side of the line.

    It would be hard to do that with a referendum because each boundary line would have to be legally described on the ballot.

    Is the Chairman, who is constantly touting the need for consolidation of governments, willing to do this now that he appears to have complete control over the County Board?

  24. If Mr. Miller lives in Wonder Lake, how can he come to an Algonquin township meeting and propose anything?

  25. Mike you’ve always putting the cart before the horse.

    As a elected offical you should prove first with numbers and facts that what you hope is true actually is true.

    Playing the voters want to lower taxation without propor proof is political nonsense.

    Where is your well thought out plan?

  26. Christine, Mr Anderson would take it at least County wide.

    And yes he can do that.

    Signatures from the township taxpayers is all he needs to get a referendum on the ballot.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Cal. .

    I think the townships that are questionably run and expensive like Algonquin Township is, are Ripe for abolishment.

    Why keep another layer of Government when they’re located within a municipality, and ESPECIALLY IF THEY”RE UNION!

    If they’re union, they just screwed themselves from having any advantage to keeping them!

  27. There are no townships completely within municipal boundaries, not even Alg.

    Around 30k residents in Alg twh don’t live within municipalities.

    Before we change any gov we need numbers and facts to form a plan that will actually save not make bigger gov agencies that are proven to cost more.

  28. Absolutely!

    Get rid of townships!!
    Ignore the real problems!!

    The real problems are:

    Prevailing wage laws
    Guaranteed public sector pensions – voted in by the voters
    Closed union shops
    Electoral boundary gerrymandering
    Using money collected for pensions to pay for social welfare programs
    Healthcare and free education for illegal aliens

    Want to fix Townships?

    Start by eliminating the Road District – put it under the control of the Board of Trustees.

    Quit permitting the use of General Assistance dollars for anything other than support for the indigent.

    btw Townships have been practically eliminated from doing anything in this area – most public assistance now comes from the various housing authorities and county health departments.

    Eliminate ALL food pantries – we have WIC, TANF, SNAP, LIHEAP plus most churches and other not for profits now receive state and federal tax dollars.

    Want to reduce units of government?

    Eliminate all library boards, fire districts, conservation districts, park boards.

    Illinois has the second highest paid park district employees in the country.

  29. The ONE ARGUMENT for the preservation of the larger population townships like AL that I thought had some merit was unionization.

    That has now been vaporized.

    Individual township abolition is the way to go in my opinion, not countywide.

    People in the rural townships want to keep them, but they have outlived their usefulness once most of the township has become urbanized.

    Let people decide that on a township by township basis.

    What could be fairer?

  30. Yes it’s time to act and stop whining about it.

    Let’s form a plan with numbers and fact related to the three more urban townships,Alg, Nunda, and McH.

    Maybe Grafton also.

    I’ll nominate Steve Willson to lead the discussion if he’s willing.

  31. A few rotten apples are going to spoil it for those of use that have well run township road districts

  32. If a township is run well, why would voters cast ballots to abolish it?

  33. Because of what happened with the black box for the highway department. Did you forget the last election, Cal?
    When stupid voters are presented with a less category they will jump on that bandwagon without even bothering to find out what they are throwing away.

  34. And that is what Cal, Andrew, and mostly Bob Amdreson want, a emotional vote, not a logical well formed plan first.

  35. Bob Anderson is clueless and all of the people following him have no idea what they are even talking about.

    He is a supposed tax fighter that has done absolutely nothing to help lower taxes.

    He wants to eliminate the road district to get rid of James Condon but then they will have to hire someone to perform his duties.

    They say they have no control over the highway commissioner yet they approve bills and the budget they see everything.

    Bobs push is nothing more then his own personnel vendetta.

    Tax fighter collecting a taxpayer funded pension?

    Come on people eliminate townships have the county take them over does anyone really believe that would be worth it for a 3% decrease in your tax bill.

    Not only would you wait for plowing how about downed trees, roadkill, potholes, street light, street signs, shoulder gravel, paved roads, flooding problems, the list goes on and on.

    People need to look at both sides before jumping on bobs maybe we will save some money but no ones really sure bandwagon.

  36. Thank you Cindy its the 85% that don’t vote that are clueless

  37. Apparently Township Officials of Illinois isn’t OPEN and TRANSPARENT government either. They have blocked me from making a comment to Bryan E Smith Exec director for asking him why he didn’t respond to the letter he passed around which was about his making fun of Wesley. And the cowboy and making us a joke when the Wesley Township Watchers reached out to him in 2014

    Dear Mr. Bryan E. Smith,

    The attached email, originally sent out by you, and then forwarded to others, has recently come to my attention.

    Unfortunately, it reflects poorly not only on Township Officials of Illinois, but Township Highway Commissioners Of Illinois.

    These organizations are supposedly structured to assist elected officials in their duties. In fact, a great deal of taxpayer dollars pour into the accounts of both organizations in the form of dues payments for these elected officials.

    I find it extremely distressing that you, as the Executive Director of TOI, Mr. Hanning, the President of the Board of Directors of TOI, Mr. Montgomery, the President of THCOI, Mr. Goad, the Vice President of THCOI, and a number of Directors of THCOI have circulated this email in order to find “enjoyment”.

    Wesley Township is, as I understand, one of a great number of small townships that experience difficulties with officials elected to public positions, in that many need guides and mentors to navigate the complexities associated with their statutory duties. May I ask whether you have, at any time, reached out to any Wesley Township officials?

    I fail to see how taking “enjoyment” from the obvious illegalities or misconduct of any of our elected officials could be in line with the mission of either TOI or THCOI. But, then again, some feel that politics is just a game of enrichment. Based upon the cross-membership of those noted in the attached email circulation, I fear that it also happens in your organizations. I guess I will have to research how much money is involved in each of these positions.

    Obviously, the ethical standards bar must be raised, and I sincerely hope that if you are not able to achieve this change, then a successor will.


    Wesley Township

    We have a letter written to Bryan E SMITH in 2014 when the citizens of Wesley wrote him and begged him for help but instead he laughed and spread in around for others to laugh at. YES. THIS IS TOWNSHIP OF ILLINOIS. Please. Contact me at Wesley township Cotizens FACE BOOK PAGE! Anyone. And I will send you a copy of his disgusting email

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