“Filled to capacity” is how one person in attendance last night at the Dorr Township meeting.
The Dorr Township Hall meeting room is small, so that meant about 25 residents were present.
The biggest news was that Supervisor Bob Pierce was granted permission to enter negotiations for the purchase of land, which he said would not be purchased without having a special meeting to get elector approval.
Note that a special meeting is not the same as the annual town meeting, which is usually the best attended meeting of the year.
Pierce said residents “would be surprised.”
“Dorr is the fourth largest township with the smallest hall!” he observed.
Legat Architects was also hired to provide “pre-referendum services.”
Public comments came early on with Steve Kaiser, a member of the now-disbanded Dorr Township Citizens Committee, asking about why “soil borings” was changed to “architects.”
Those March 9th soil borings were not presented to the board by the Road Commissioner Tom Thurman because he wanted to seek assistance interpreting them.
With trustees and audience members putting in their two cents about whether the minutes reflected what had occurred at the previous meeting, the exchange got heated.
“This is not going to become another Grafton Township,” Township Supervisor Bob Pierce said.
During the Public Comment section, the Supervisor and Trustees questioned former members of the Dorr Citizens group who presented the petition to rebate taxes. Questions asked included -
1. How the $1 million number was determined? The officials were told the citizens thought that was the rebate needed to allow a responsible amount to be left over after paying for modifications to garage site and building. After the $1 million rebate, $1.75 million would remain for needed work.
2. Do you know how difficult and expensive it could be to track down all current and former residents to distribute rebate? Resident Jane Collins explained that in Bourbonnais (a Kankakee County Township) the amount which could not be returned had been given to charitable organizations, after a citizen-initiated motion at an annual town meeting.
The citizens who proposed the rebate were also asked they thought about the McHenry County Conservation District’s building a visitor center.
Such an argument reminds me of how Grafton Township Trustee Gerry McMahon once listed local governmental entities that had built new administrative facilities—the Huntley School District, the Village of Huntley, McHenry County—as justification for a new Grafton Township Hall.
Township Road Commissioner Tom Thurman suggested some members of the Citizens Committee had “a hidden agenda.” He also said, “We know more than…” the Citizens Committee about what needs to be done.
“You don’t listen to us.”
That prompted a resident Larry Oakford to stand up to chide Thurman, saying his “demeanor is unseemly” and that comments about a hidden agenda were inappropriate. The man also asked about making use of existing space.
Trustee Mark Andersen said the board had been real conservative and was trying to “not drop a bomb on taxpayers.”
The board admitted it had been gradually accumulating funds so they wouldn’t have to go to referendum.
Everyone knows how hard it is to pass a referendum, Road Commissioner Thurman said.
“The burden is on you to provide a justification about what you do,” Collins suggested, adding that some would say they had been borrowing from the taxpayers without their knowledge and permission since 2002, that what the referendum proposes is a way to pay back some of that loan to the taxpayers.
Thurman said the officials know how to do their job, that citizens shouldn’t be telling them how to do it.
Sue Brokaw, who is bookkeeper and does the General Assistance for Pierce, told the audience they should come to the levy meetings, and so they could do something before the township gets the money instead of complaining about it now.
Board members admitting they had discussed the three building project items “individually” before the meeting.
Vivian Sodini, member of the Dorr Planning Committee, asked why the trustees hadn’t taken the time before last night’s meeting to discuss the details of the recommendations with the committee.
Trustee Joseph Evanoff replied that they didn’t need to because, “We can read.”
When it was revealed that the architects had never been given our report, but had been given a scornful letter written by the one member of the citizens planning committee who thought our only job was to look for land, the audience was stunned. That same member, Ted Anderson, also interviewed architects with Trustee Barry Lamb.
In discussing one petition question citizens had submitted, it was revealed that the 600 ton capacity included for a new salt shed was based on faulty information. The needed amount being about 4,000 tons, that number was inserted in the question.
“You should have the entire year’s supply” at the start of the season, Road Commissioner Thurman said.
The board decided to put that question to the electors of the annual township meeting.
Members of the disbanded Dorr Township Planning Committee will be allowed make a presentation to electors at the annual meeting, provided they clearly specify they are doing so as electors and not members of the committee.
The meeting will probably be at the High School on South Street in order to hold a larger number of attendees.
Supporters of building a new township hall were also in attendance.