County Board Members Use Letter Against Township Abolition by Referendum Bill to Try to Scuttle Bill

Below is the letter that McHenry County Board member and former Grafton Township Supervisor Jim Kearns circulated among his colleagues.

All signed it but Yvonne Barnes, Michael Rein and Craig Wilcox.

The letter, addressed to the State Senate, was handed to Governor Bruce Rauner at a closed door meeting containing far more supporters of township government than opponents.

The purpose of the letter, of course, is to keep voters in Algonquin Township from voting to abolish their township government this fall.

Think politics, not “good government,” the “good government” that has been revealed since Algonquin Township Road Commissioner Bob Miller lost his re-election primary election to County Board member Andrew Gasser.

Not amazing that the letter does not point out that DuPage County had a consolidation bill passed that was only directed at DuPage County.

That bill did not affect Illinois’ 102 counties.

And those signing apparently don’t know that Southern Illinois counties do not have townships.

They also say allowing voters, say in Algonquin Township, to abolish their township by referendum “appears to undermine this good government system.”

That doesn’t exactly have me laughing out loud, but it did stimulate a chuckle.

They must not be reading the Northwest Herald, Illinois Leaks or McHenry County Blog.

The County Board members apparently want to be legislators.

They “want to structure a plan.”

They could have run for the office.

And, there has been time to draft suggested modifications, yet the signers have produced nothing, just pointing to a bill that cannot become law.

Below are the signatures to the letter:



County Board Members Use Letter Against Township Abolition by Referendum Bill to Try to Scuttle Bill — 21 Comments

  1. County Board or County Toads?

    They circle the wagons when their precious township milch cow is headed for slaughter.

  2. You are on the wrong side of this one Cal.

    The current state constitution already provides for dissolution of individual townships by referendum.

    What it doesn’t do is provide for any type of transition plan or spell out what happens to the services, who pays for them, and by what authority.

    Counties can’t just haul off and do things.

    Everything has to be explicitly spelled out by state statutes.

    This bill has an opportunity to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s but it stops short of that and, in so doing, creates chaos.

    A few revisions could solve the problems created, but the fast track that this was on, where it sailed through the House with no discussion and was looking to do the same in the Senate, has to be stopped.

    This is now supposedly firmly on the Governor’s radar so the runaway train can be halted and a more reasoned discussion can take place.

    Obviously this is aimed at Algonquin Township, not just at McHenry County.

    The DuPage County example is not appropriate. They wanted the bill, which was a mere housecleaning measure.

    This is much more sweeping.

    It deserves a full airing and not a hurried slam dunk and walk off the court.

  3. Except for a particular corrupt township in McHenry County, townships are not necessarily the problem. School district costs are 75% of my tax bill and the township AND roads and bridges part of my bill is 6%. The roads and bridges in my township are well maintained especially with very timely snow plowing in the winter.

    THEE problem in McHenry County IS outrageous salaries and benefits/pensions of those working in school districts. It is compounded by having way too many districts with redundant and excessive administrators.

    The goal should be to consolidate districts and eliminate many administrative positions.

  4. bred is correct. Railing against townships is a false sense of security. People are getting all worked up over something that is NOT the problem. The sheep are showing their utter foolishness by climbing on a non-existent bandwagon. It will end very badly. (Some things never change.)

  5. The letter asks the legislation to be modified, not completely killed.

    Cal you’re hate for Miller makes you way to bias and blind to what those that count on township road services want, some kind of plan so services aren’t degraded begone reason.

    What does Steve Willson have to say about HB4637?

  6. In Woodstock D200, the property tax rate has been above 8% of EAV for years (recently dropping near 7% of EAV when ISBE issued directive to schools to stop deliberately overtaxing by millions$$$ in Transportation Funds for express purpose of Intrafund Transfers of those millions$$ into Ed Funds.

    Speaking form a decade of undergoing property value destruction and obscene, crippling property tax levies by D200, I can confidently claim that ‘consolidating districts’ offers no hope of taxpayer relief.

    In Woodstock D200, our final remaining hope of economic survival (short of plowing under all our homes) may be to petition for re-districting –BREAKING UP D200 into 2 districts, leaving the profligate spending one to its own devices.

  7. Quick, someone give your local Poliburo, access to that $40 M Valley High Stash.

    Will keep them busy for months squabbling on how to blow it.

  8. I would suggest you do not understand the legislative process well enough.

    Delay kills bills.

  9. So write what you think is missing.

    I’ll send it to Rep. McSweeney.

  10. The abolition of townships will not save a lot in property tax dollars, that is true.

    However, the Miller Dynasty and what is being uncovered now, which may be just the tip of the iceberg, illustrates the real problem which is lack of accountability, checks and balances, and transparency due to the 19th Century township origins which have been faithfully preserved into the 21st Century.

    Township Road Commissioners (we probably should say Commissars) are laws unto themselves and answer to no one but the handful of voters who manage to show up at the poorest attended elections that exist (4th Tuesday in February every four years in odd numbered years for primary elections).

    Shining some light on this situation, which the Herald is doing, albeit belatedly and probably for the wrong reasons (they hate Gasser), is what is needed.

    Then having a seamless way to transition from abolition of a township to county and municipal control, eliminates the most powerful argument that townships have used, namely Fear.

    That’s why this bill needs to be amended, not shelved.

  11. As a former Grafton Township supervisor I am in favor of eliminating township government in Grafton and Algonquin Township.

    It is time and having been in this position it is clear we will be better off without it.

  12. Known is correct in their speculation. How to go about restructuring the township is a conundrum especially in today’s’ volatile atmosphere. Abolish is in no way any kind of an answer to anything concerning this issue.

  13. There is no road to abolishing townships only consolidating the road commissioner under the trustees!

    Can people get signatures to abolish any township NO!

    If there is a way to abolish townships please say how that is done.

    There will be no seemless way no matter how much planning is done.

    This letter also states to “Permanently” put on hold not “Temporarily”!

    Look at all the Townships and you will find family everywhere.

    How about the Murry’s in Hartland Township.

    The Eddy’s in Dorr, though in the past.

    You have Bob Miller working with Lesperance, Lesperances kid working for Condon.

    17 Townships 4 Trustees each, 17 Auditors, 17 Supervisors, 17 Road Commissioners, and 100s of employees and people don’t think that abolishing these is cost effective is not thinking straight.

  14. It appears to me that the County Board Member’s who signed this letter, are more concerned with the elected, and employed township worker’s, than what’s best for all the township resident’s.

  15. Cal: That’s already been done but sure.

    (1) The County and/or municipalities must be given express authority to levy taxes for services previously provided by the township;

    (2) The county needs to be empowered to distribute interim public assistance for residents of the former township, either by the Chairman or his/her designee, and given levy authority for that purpose;

    (3) Motor Fuel Taxes need to continue to be available to the county and municipalities for former township roads;

    (4) The dissolution of the township must not take effect until the next scheduled township elections, as is the case with SB003 as it pertains to the Road District being subsumed within the township by referendum.

    (5) The referendum has to be on a general election date (greater public participation).

    (6) The referendum signature requirement must be 8% of the voters in the previous election for governor (required by statute already).

    (7) There should be no percentage reduction for the new levy because the outgoing township could set their levy to zero so 90% of zero is still zero.

    (8) There needs to continue to be a two level appeal for assessments and the County Assessor needs to be empowered to take over the assessments.

  16. Last but not least, it needs to apply to all of the counties in the state and not just McHenry County.

  17. Don’t care if this is only for McHenry County!

    Under this bill I will take only McHenry County and don’t care about the other Counties.

    If McHenry County does it there will be enough pressure outside McHenry County to change to other Counties!

    Yes MFT does need to still be included but other than that doesn’t matter when the vote takes place.

    Everything else can be figured out.

    And just because they can levy 0% doesn’t mean that the other governing body can’t raise there levy to offset whatever the townships do with there levy.

    Most governing bodies have a reserve and can dip into those reserves and make them back up for the following year levy.

    Not every township would go away in the same election as well.

    The new governing body may or may not choose to take up what public assistance townships do.

    That will be up to them.

    Get these on the ballot as soon as possible and start eliminating them!

  18. IF you put this on the ballot as is, the township supporters will trot out all of the deficiencies.

    This has worked quite well in the past.

    Both of Bob Anderson’s previous attempts were defeated by 3 to 1 margins.

    If you tie up the loose ends, however, they won’t have that argument and will have to fall back on defending the need for township government itself.

    The last time they said it was “closest to the people”.

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