25-Year Old Man Killed in Bicycle-Car Accident in Woodstock at Routes 14 & 47

A press release from the Woodstock Police Department:

Fatal Crash Investigation

Bicyclist vs. Motor Vehicle

Looking north at Route 14 from Route 47.

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, at approximately 7:33 pm, the Woodstock Police Department responded to the intersection of S. Eastwood Dr. (IL Rte. 47) and U.S. Rte. 14 in reference to a motor vehicle crash involving a pedestrian.

Upon the arrival of responding officers and members of the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District, they located and attempted to treat a 25 year old male subject, who subsequently died.

The Major Crash Assistance Team (MCAT), a multi-jurisdictional team consisting of experienced and trained crash investigators from several McHenry County law enforcement agencies, including the Woodstock Police Department, was activated.

The preliminary results of the investigation indicate that the victim, who was riding a bicycle, was traveling northbound on Rte. 47 and was struck in the intersection by a 2007 Chevy Tahoe, which was traveling eastbound on Rte. 14.

Preliminary witness statements indicated the Tahoe was traveling through the intersection and had a solid green light.

No citations have been issued based on this preliminary information.

This crash remains under investigation by the Woodstock Police Department, MCAT, and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

= = = = =
A press release from McHenry Coroner Anne Majewski:

Robert A. James

McHenry County Coroner, Dr. Anne Majewski, announced this afternoon that her office is investigating the death of a man killed last evening, August 15, 2017, at the intersection of Routes 14 and 47 in Woodstock Illinois.

The young man is identified to be Robert Amos James, age 25, of Woodstock Illinois.

Mr. James was riding a bicycle north on Route 47 when he proceeded into the intersection of Routes 14 and 47 reportedly against the red light and was struck by a car heading east on Route 14.

A 911 call went out for the crash at 1933 bringing Woodstock Police and Woodstock Fire and Rescue to the scene.

Mr. James was transported to Centegra Woodstock Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 20:42.

An autopsy conducted today in the McHenry County Coroner’s Office revealed that he died from blunt force injuries to the head, chest and abdomen. Toxicology testing is pending at this time.

The crash remains under investigation by the Woodstock Police Department, MCAT (McHenry County Accident Team), and the McHenry County Coroner’s Office.

Andrew Georgi Schedules September Fundraiser

Former Hebron Village Trustee and McHenry County Board candidate Drew Georgi has scheduled a fundraiser in Hebron for Saturday, September 16th at 3 PM.
The invitation does indicate what office Georgi is running for, but he revealed, ” All I will say is I will need a whole lot more than 43 signatures to be on the ballot.”

Could he be planning to run for a countywide or legislative office?

Skillicorn Calls from Privatization of the State Fair

A press release from State Rep. Allen Skillicorn:

Skillicorn Urges Privatization of State Fair

SPRINGFIELD – On the eve of Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair, State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) says given the state’s perpetual financial problems, Illinois should stop subsidizing events like the fair and let the free market do its job.

“I’m going to the fair to remind fellow elected officials that taxpayers should no longer subsidize events like this,” said Skillicorn.

“Despite the state finally having a budget, which is a terribly unbalanced budget, Illinois is still running months behind on payments due to our massive debt and backlog of unpaid bills.

“So instead of spending taxpayer money on a fair like this, we should let the free market do what it does best and not put taxpayers on the hook anymore.”

The state spends roughly $6 million annually on the state fair, money Skillicorn noted could be going to pay down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills.

According to research by the Illinois Policy Institute, between 2001 and 2009 the state lost nearly $42 million on the Illinois State Fair and DuQuoin State Fair.

Given this history of losing money, despite state statute that says expenditures are not supposed to exceed revenue from the previous year’s fair, Skillicorn says it is time for a change of direction.

Skillicorn said that with the state’s long standing financial problems, every effort should be made to reduce spending and he is again doing his part by turning down per diem and mileage reimbursement for the latest session called by Speaker Madigan.

Governor Explains Why Empty School Seats Should Not Get State Financial Assistance

It seems so logical for State Aid to Education to follow students, but back in the 1990’s the Illinois House voted for a bill sponsored by a mid-state legislator that would force state government to continue giving money to school districts for students who were not there.

Governor Bruce Rauner is attempting to rectify that lack of logic.

Here’s what he told reporters yesterday, according to Capitol Fax:

If a school district has dramatically fewer students, it’s not fair to other districts that have more students or the same where their dollars keep flowing to fund half the number of students or a third of the number of students.

At some point you need to sort of true it up and adjust it or it’s not fair to the taxpayers in other communities.

I’m open to when that adjustment happens.

And for the time being have a hold harmless so even if there’s enrollment drops that the school district can keep getting the same amount of money from the state.

But some day there needs to be some sort of adjustment, otherwise it’s not fair or sustainable over time.

Naperville Man Weighs Shares Family Decision to Move Out of Illinois

A new commenter, Richard Martin, left the following comment under the April 27, 2016, article “Illinois Has Highest Real Estate Taxes.”

United Van Lines pulled out from a Crystal Lake home for an out-of-state move.

I don’t live in McHenry county, but we have the same problem in Dupage county.

We live in Naperville, IL. in Dupage county.

Contrary to a lot of opinions, everyone in Naperville is not rich.

My wife and I are both in our 70’s and retired at age 65 & 66 respectively.

We did receive some inheritance shortly after retirement which allowed us to pay off our mortgage.

We thought we were ‘home free’ since we no longer had a mortgage.

Today, we are borrowing from our insurance policies and robbing our 401-k’s to pay our real estate taxes.

WE have both lived in Illinois all our lives (except for one year) due to a job transfer.

WE are now joining thousands of other people who live in Illinois who have decided to move to a different state.

We recently looked at carpeting to prepare our home to sell.

The manager of the carpeting store told us he has had many other people who are doing the same thing (moving out of state). Why is it that our elected officials do not see (or don’t want to see) what is going on.

The one year we lived out of state was in California (1979).

They had just passed proposition 13, which completely change how real estate taxes were calculated.

Had this not of happened, we would not have moved to California, due to the higher cost of a home.

It’s time for people who are stuck living in Illinois (job, etc:), To rise up,and do something about the ridiculous tax system in Illinois.

I don’t know where we are moving to yet, but at least we will be OUT of Illinois!

Judicial Survey Hits Phones

A four-minute, twelve question automated survey was what I heard when I picked up the phone yesterday morning.

Demographic data was requested first:

  • Registered voter?
  • Party
  • Gender
  • Age (four choices)

Next were questions about favorability for the following:

  • Mary McClellan
  • Robert Wilbrandt
  • Ray Flavin
  • Demetri Tsilimigras
  • Robert Hanlon

Immediately following was a query about what attribute was most important in a judicial candidate:

  • Bring an elected official
  • Prior experience on the bench
  • Having served in the State’s Attorney’s office
  • Involvement in the Republican Party

The final question bored deeper into the importance of Republican political activity.

The two choices offered were

  • participation in party politics
  • politics has not place in the judiciary

Details of the Judge’s Decision in Scott Milliman Case – The Zane Seipler Deposition

This is part of Judge Frederick Kapala’s decision against former McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Scott Milliman’s in his suit for wrongful termination.

Milliman’s Deposition in the Seipler Case

Seven years later, on November 23, 2010, Milliman testified at a deposition in a case pending before this court brought by former McHenry County Sheriff’s Deputy Zane Seipler.  See Seipler v. Cundiff, et al., No. 08 C 50257 (N.D. Ill. 2008).

Based mostly upon statements to him by Jose Rivera, a friend of Nygren, Milliman testified to widespread corruption and criminality on the part of Nygren, including

  • ticketfixing and bribery,
  • fraudulently procuring Small Business Administration (“SBA”) loans,
  • trafficking of illegal aliens, and
  • soliciting the murder of a former judge and an internet blogger.

Specifically, Milliman testified that Jose Rivera told him that Nygren was involved in a bribery scheme beginning in 1999 or 2000 wherein Nygren fixed no valid driver’s license tickets for Mexicans.

According to Milliman, Rivera told him that an individual ticketed for driving without a valid license would pay a $1,000 bribe, which was split between Rivera and Nygren.

Nygren would then contact McHenry County State’s Attorney Gary Pack and have the prosecution “nolle prossed [meaning dismissed].”

Milliman also testified that Rivera told him that Nygren received $10,000 for assisting a business owner regain his liquor license.

Milliman testified further that thereafter Rivera and the business owner also bought more than $5,000 worth of raffle tickets at a 2002 political function for Nygren.

Milliman also claimed that Nygren ran a scheme that involved securing fraudulent SBA loans.

Milliman explained that Rivera and Nygren would recruit an undocumented Mexican to fill out an application for an SBA loan, and the proceeds of the loan, less $10,000 for the Mexican, would be split by Rivera and Nygren.

The Mexican would then default on the loan and return to Mexico. Rivera told Milliman that he and Nygren sent the Mexicans to someone named “Maria” at Elgin State Bank for the SBA loans, and then later to Home State Bank.

Milliman claimed that Rivera and Nygren, attempted to recruit him into the scheme sometime in 2001 or 2002 during a meeting at El Grande Buritto in McHenry, Illinois.

As to trafficking undocumented aliens, Milliman testified that Rivera and Nyrgen attempted to recruit him to participate in a scheme to bring undocumented immigrants into McHenry County from Mexico for a price.

According to Milliman, Rivera and Nygren were bringing individuals from Zacatecas, Mexico to Stone Lake Apartment Complex in Woodstock, Illinois and receiving $1,100 a person.

As to solicitation of murder, Milliman testified that he knew of two incidents where Nygren had threatened someone’s life.

First, in 1999, Nygren asked Milliman to push retired McHenry CountyCircuit Court Judge Conrad Floeter, who was serving as the campaign manager for Nygren’s opponent for Sheriff at the time, in front of a train while Floeter was handing out campaign literature on a train platform.

Milliman explained that he and Nygren were also on the platform near a parked train passing out Nygren’s campaign literature and as they approached Floeter–who Milliman said was wearing a three-foot tall hat “like the one on Sesame Street”–Nygren leaned over to him and said “push him in front of the train.”

According to Milliman, he looked at Nygren, said “whatever,” and then turned and walked away. Second, Milliman testified that, in 2009, because of comments by a local internet blogger named David Bachmann made about Nygren, he asked Milliman to “hang” Bachmann and to “make sure, damn it, that it looks like a suicide.”

According to Milliman, on the next day, Nygren, who seemed like he “was really not himself,” told Milliman he would “take care of it himself.”

When asked whether he had reported any of Nygren’s criminal conduct to law enforcement authorities, Milliman said that he had reported his concerns to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) in 2007.

Later in his deposition, Milliman explained that there came a point where he could no longer tolerate Nygren’s unethical and illegal conduct so he called Patrick Fitzgerald, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and reported Rivera’s involvement with Sheriff Nygren.

According to Milliman, Fitzgerald said that he was already aware of some situations concerning McHenry County.

Fitzgerald asked Milliman if he was willing to sit down and talk with some officials, Milliman agreed to do so, and then Milliman met with two FBI agents.

= = = = =
More to come, including the Judge’s critique of the contents of this section of his decision, which found against Milliman.

Althoff Bill Extends Business Inducements

A press release from State Senator Pam Althoff:

Bill extends tax credits for companies, heads to the Governor

Springfield, IL… A bipartisan measure that extends tax credits for companies and brings jobs to Illinois is now headed to the Governor after it passed the Senate on Sunday.

State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), chief co-sponsor of House Bill 162, says the legislation serves as a vital economic tool to ensure businesses are staying right here in Illinois.

House Bill 162 extends the program known as EDGE, short for Economic Development for a Growing Economy, until June 20, 2022. EDGE had previously expired on April 30, 2017.

“It is necessary that the state encourages businesses to locate or expand their operations in Illinois by awarding them with tax credits when they are actively considering relocating to another state,” said Sen. Althoff.

“Illinois’ economy relies on the ability to create and maintain jobs, and the state must do everything it can to ensure good paying jobs are staying here.”

The EDGE program was created in 1999 and serves as the state’s main job incentive program, creating nearly 34,000 jobs in Illinois and retaining another 46,000 since its creation.

HB 162 makes several reforms to the program including changes concerning capital investment and employment requirements, distinguishing between larger employers (+100 employees) and smaller employers (100 or less employees), as well as new provisions regarding supplier diversity, claw-back, and how the credit is calculated.

Ultimately, HB 162 was the result of negotiations between several Senate and House legislators and business groups.

“It is so important to business owners in my district, who are relatively close to the Wisconsin border, that we continue these tax credits,” said Sen. Althoff.

“These employers are frequently being solicited to move across the border, and it’s so important to continue to provide them with incentives to stay, especially in a time when jobs are already leaving our state in record numbers.”

Ersel Schuster Reflects on a Jack Franks’ Patronage Hire

From former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster:

Embarrassed by Those We Elect to Office?

To begin, it must be stated that credit must be given to those McHenry County Board Members who have been working to clean up the mess created by the county board chairman [Jack Franks] when he took it upon himself to hire 2 of his personal friends for non-existent, nor needed positions.

Unfortunately, and thus far, the efforts of these board members have been stymied by the chairman, administrator, and the “chairman’s suck-up- Rino’s.”

Now that “Oliver” has resigned the McHenry County Dept. of Transportation “Utilities oordinator’s” position, we have an even greater problem with these unauthorized positions.

Still unanswered are the questions surrounding the need for, and definition of, the two positions.

The newest person, hired by the chairman, is now being labeled as a “Communication Specialist.”

What will this Communication Specialist do?

Jumping to reasoned conclusions and from past-experience, it does not take a rocket scientist to conclude this is nothing more than the chairman continuing his practice of self- promotion… that is about all that fits the “Communications Specialist’s” role.

Aside from the “crafted” letters to the editor and editorials we’ve already seen touting the chairman’s accomplishments, we can only imagine how our new Communication Specialist will spin the chairman’s “sell/promotion,” as he continues to take credit for accomplishments of prior county boards.

Heads-up… Folks!

Be wary of all glowing accomplishments of our leader, negative campaign material and the robo-calls already being sent our way!

Milliman Loses Case Against Nygren’s Sheriff’s Department

Attorney Thomas Crooks and his client Scott Milliman.

Former Deputy Sheriff Scott Milliman has lost his wrongful dismissal Federal case against the Sheriff’s Department when Keith Nygren was in charge.

Now three year’s into predecessor Bill Prim’s term, the case was dismissed on august 4th by Judge Frederick Kapala.

Here is the judge’s conclusion in his fifteen page opinion:

“For all the reasons stated above, defendants have shown, on the basis of the record evidence, that no genuine issues of material fact exist that would warrant a trial in this case. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.”).

“Thus, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted. This case is closed.”

Non-Anonymous Draining of the McHenry County Swamp

McHenry County Blog has published two leaflets attacking McHenry County Board members who have not bowed to the will of Board Chairman Jack Franks.

They said  “Paid for by Drain the Swamp – McHenry County,” but with no way to identify their source.  (My guess is that they came from Jack Franks’ allies.)

At the McHenry Fair, McHenry County Board candidate Orville Brettman used the same theme, but left no doubt as to his piece’s source.

You can see it below:

Cruising with Cruz

At the end of the Family PAC cruise the boat went up the Chicago River past Trump Tower.

U.S. Senator and former GOP Presidential aspirant Ted Cruz was the guest of honor at Family PAC’s annual fundraising cruise on the Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

Introduced by Family PAC’s Executive Director Paul Caprio as “a man who has made promises and he has kept them,” Cruz gave what seemed to be a stump speech based around three points:

  1. Truth matters
  2. Freedom matters
  3. The Constitution matters

Concerning the events in Charlottesville, the former Presidential candidate declared,

“The Nazis and the Klan and white supremacists are scumbags.

“Every nut bag has the right to protest.

“\Everyone of us has a duty to call out the lies…of the bigotry [they speak].”

The boat was carrying its maximum load–170 people.

More wanted to attend, but they would have exceeded the capacity of the boat.

Allen Brown of Fox River Grove met the man he voted for in last spring’s Republican Primary Election, Ted Cruz.

There sere four from McHenry County:  I and my wife, Gene Brown and Allen Brown.

District 26 School Board President Offers Information on Rauner’s State Aid to Education Bill Alterations

Here are comments from Cary School Board President Scott Coffey on Governor Bruce Rauner’s State Aid to Education changes:

I do have some very high level take-aways from the Amendatory Veto by Rauner.

In general, I’d conclude that Rauner’s adjustments are primarily focused on impacting Chicago in the new funding formula.

The TIF EAV change hurts Chicago the most.

It looks like McHenry County only has about $22 million in TIF EAV or 0.2% of the total.

Most districts would see a minimal impact.

Although, Fox River Grove D-3 may take a hit due to the relatively high percentage of the village’s EAV is recognized as TIF.

Eliminating the regional wage rate differential factor hits Chicago.

The biggest problem with SB-1 that  I’ve written about before is that it sets up to re-distribute the wealth once the Hold Harmless provision sunsets.

I’m not sure how long past the next year, if at all,  SB-1 ensures that a district won’t go down in funding.

Rauner takes it to 2019-2020 and then establishes the new hold harmless level on a per-pupil basis.

It protects suburban districts and negatively impacts districts with declining enrollment resulting in a reduction in the Hold Harmless funding level.  (i.e. Chicago).

As to the pension changes, there are a lot of moving parts.

And I’m still trying to understand it all.

Clearly, there’s a negative impact to the CPS pension funding.

But the interesting components revolve around adding an incremental 2% pension cost to hiring new employees and he cut the language preventing a future pension cost shift to the local districts.

That could have all kinds of interesting impacts on districts’ decisions in the future.

Governor Signs Township Consolidation Bill

With what happened in McHenry County when township consolidation was considered, Senate Bill 3, which the Governor just signed, will certainly have an effect and give supporters of consolidation new headwinds.

Rep. Steve Anderson is the Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill.

It must have been a fascinating bill to watch, as evidenced by McHenry County’s State Rep. Barbara Wheeler adding herself as a co-sponsor in the House on May 30th, then removing herself later the same day followed by her adding herself back as a co-sponsor.

There were similar changes of mind on May 30th by State Rep. Steve Andersson.  First he was on as chief co-sponsor, then off, and finally back on.

Rep. Allen Skillicron, on the other hand had himself added and, like the other two, removed as a co-sponsor, but he did not follow in their footsteps to end up as a co-sponsor in the final House record.

Local State Reps. David McSweeney and Steve Reick did not seek to be so-sponsors.

All McHenry County representatives voted for the bill, except Reick.

In the Senate, Karen McConnaughay and Dan McConchie voted for the bill, while Pam Althoff did not vote.

Below is the press release that chief House sponsor Sam Yingling put out the day the bill passed:


SPRINGFIELD—On Wednesday, May 31, Representative Sam Yingling (D-Grayslake) passed SB 3, a bill that allows Illinoisans to consolidate wasteful, inefficient layers of government, with a bi-partisan, veto-proof majority. The bill has already passed in the Senate and now moves on to the Governor’s desk for his consideration.

“I represent the 62nd district located in Lake County, where property taxes are among the highest in the country,” said Yingling. “While property taxes continue to go up, redundant and ineffective layers of government continue to sock away stockpiles of cash, adding taxing body after taxing body to property tax bills. I’m fighting for government consolidation to lower the unfair tax load carried by my constituents.”

When Governor Rauner signs SB 3 into law, Illinois taxpayers will have more tools to make choices regarding the layers of government they pay for with their property taxes. Illinois has more units of local government than any other state, often leading to inefficiency and waste of property tax dollars.
SB3 allows

  • Voters to approve via referendum the consolidation of township governments
  • Expands a DuPage County pilot program statewide that would allow voters to approve the consolidation or elimination of local taxing bodies that provide duplicative or obsolete services, or if the services can be efficiently and effectively absorbed by another unit of local government.

“I will keep fighting to give my constituents the tools they need to rein in wasteful, inefficient use of their tax dollars, particularly when it comes to townships, but SB 3 is an important step in the right direction,” said Yingling. “This is a great example of what happens when lawmakers take off their partisan hats and come to the table ready to do what’s right for their constituents.”

Representative Yingling is the Chairman of the Government Consolidation and Modernization Committee in the House.

Not many details.

So what this legislation do that wasn’t law before?

Here’s the official summary (complete text):

Requires that resolutions and notices of hearings regarding consolidation or merger be published on the main page of the townships’ websites,

In provisions concerning merger of townships, provides that no tax rate may be extended for any fund of the consolidated district for the first levy year of the consolidated district that exceeds any statutory maximum set forth for that fund, unless the referendum also conforms to the requirements of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law or other statutory provision setting forth that limitation.

Makes changes to provisions of the Illinois Highway Code related to abolishing a road district in Cook County, and specifies that the new provisions related to abolishing road districts do not apply to Cook County.

Amends the Home Equity Assurance Act. Provides that beginning after the effective date of the amendatory Act, a home equity commission shall consist of 7 commissioners (rather than 9). Provides that a governing commission may employ full-time or part-time employees. Allows a governing commission to establish a Tax Reimbursement Program.

Amends the Street Light District Act. Allows the consolidation of a street light district into the township in which the district sits if the entire district is located within the township. Effective on January 1, 2018.

The restriction that a township be no more than 126 square miles has been removed.

For consolidation of townships to occur, first two (or more) township boards must pass identical resolutions more than 79 days before the election at which the consolidation referendum is to be held.

For consolidation to occur, majorities in both (or all) townships must approve the measure.

Notice of the referendum must be mailed to all registered voters, something elmination efforts are moving forward for Constitutional Amendments.

I do not understand the following tax-related language:

“Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no tax rate may be extened for the fund of the. consolidated district for the first year levy of the consolidted district that exceeds any statutory maximum set forth for that fund, unless the referendum also conforms to the requirements of the Property Tax Extenstion Limitation Law or other statutory provision setting forth that limitation.”

Surpluses are also addressed:

“…any portion of the surplus that is solely attributable to the consolidation shall be refunded to the owners of record of taxable property within the consolidated district on a pro rata basis.”

If a referendum passes in the townships, a combination of the former township boards will set salaries for the new township officials.

Here’s how the House voted:

Final Vote on Senate Bill 3.

The final Senate vote follows:

The final Senate vote on Senate Bill 3.

Governor Rauner’s press release adds the following information:

“Specifically, SB 3 expands DuPage County’s consolidation pilot program to all 102 counties of Illinois, giving each the authority to dissolve or consolidate some government units whose boards are appointed by the county. It also will allow townships in the state to consolidate with coterminous municipalities via referendum.

“HB 607 amends the Illinois Highway Code and allows the board of trustees of any township located in a county with less than 3 million inhabitants to submit a proposition during a general or consolidated election to abolish the road district in their county, a power already extended to townships in Cook County.”

Punching and Kicking of Girlfriend’s Foe Leads to Woodstock Aggravated Battery Arrest

A press release from the Woodstock Police Department:

Aggravated Battery Arrest

On Sunday, August 6th, 2017 at 4:30 P.M., the Woodstock Police Department responded to the
1700 block of Walnut Drive, Woodstock, in reference to an Aggravated Assault complaint.

Colton Howell

Responding officers learned during their investigation that there was an altercation that occurred at Bates Park (1500 North Seminary Ave.) between two female subjects.

During the altercation, a boyfriend of one of the females involved punched and kicked the female who was arguing with his girlfriend.

The parties eventually separated and went different ways.

The male suspect was subsequently identified as Colton M. Howell, of Woodstock.

After conferring with the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office, an arrest warrant was obtained
for Howell.

On August 9th, Howell was located by Woodstock Police and was taken into custody and charged with one count of Aggravated Battery (Public Place).

Howell was transported to the McHenry County Adult Correctional Facility, where as of August 14th, he remains in custody.

This incident remains under investigation and no further information will be released at this time.

  • Arrested Persons: Colton M. Howell, M/W, 19 years old
  • Charge: Aggravated Battery (Class 3 Felony)
  • Court Date: 08/15/17 @ 9:00 a.m.
  • Bond: $20,000 (10% applies)

Republishing the LITH Sanitary District’s Case – Part 1

Originally published on July 12th, the following is the first part of the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District’s reply to McHenry County Board chairman Jack Franks’ suit to allow his picks to take over the LITH Sanitary District. Parts 2 and 3 can be accessed through the links at the bottom of this re-post.

Although the court filing has been in the Circuit Clerk’s Office for over a month, the Northwest Herald has yet to dip into it, while allowing Franks and his supporters to try the case on its pages.

The LITH Sanitary District’s Case – Part 1

No consideration was given by Judge Thomas Meyer to the brief filed the day he entered an injunction preventing the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District from purchasing Kane County land.

No harm, no foul, I guess, because the District did not proposed to buy before the Temporary Restraining Order would expired

Lake in the Hills Sanitary District treatment facility.

Nevertheless, Derke Price spent his weekend preparing a reply to the late Friday afternoon filing from McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally’s office.

So, let’s take a look at Price’s presentation of facts and arguments, because they will certainly show up once a full-blown hearing takes place in mid-August.

The brief starts with the fact that since April 27, 2017, the Sanitary District has been located in both McHenry and Kane Counties.

He notes that Trustee Terry Easler has a term that runs until May 1, 2019, while Shelby Key’s term expired May 1, 2017.  The third Trustee, David McPhee, who resigned to take a seat on the Lake in the Hills Village Board, has a term that would have expired May 1, 2018.

All served until their terms expire or “until their successors are elected and qualified.”

State statute (the one I wrote) requires that trustees of multi-county districts are appointed by legislators whose districts have any part of such a sanitary district’s territory.

No action has been taken by State Senators Karen McConnaughay and Dan McConchie and State Representatives David McSweeney and Allen Skillicorn.

When McPhee resigned in January, 2017, annexation into Kane County had not occurred.

Therefore, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks had the authority to appoint his replacement.

But, as the filing points out, “Franks took no action whatsoever to fill McPhee’s vacancy within the required 60 days, nor did he do so at any time prior to April 27, 2017, when the District’s boundaries expanded into Kane County.”

That being the case, attorney Price argues that Franks lost his appointment power.

He further notes that McPhee still continues to hold over as a board member under the statute because his successor has not be duly appointed and qualified.”

The annexation along Square Barn Road into Kane County was “the result of over three years of planning following the expiration of a corporate boundary agreement between the District and the Village of Huntley.

The annexation was “in anticipation of the annexation of an additional 13+ acres in Kane County,” which is now under a real estate purchase contract.

{That land is to be used for a lift station to serve development in northern Kane County.]

The District has a capacity of treating 4,500,000 gallons a day, but its current load is 3,350,000 gallons per day from its 11,000 accounts.

On June 15th, the District’s attorney wrote the four legislators requesting they appoint the expired term and the vacant position.  A copy of the letter was sent to Franks.

The holdover officers continue to serve because “there has been no action” by the legislators.

= = = = =
Here is Part 1.

Here is Part 2.

Here is Part 3.

Elgin State Senate Democrat Comments on State Aid to Education Veto Override

A press release from Senator Christina Castro:

Castro votes to restore predictability and stability to local schools

SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) today voted to support community schools.

“Today we passed monumental school funding reform that will allow all our children a chance to be successful regardless of their zip code,” Castro said.

“This funding reform will finally give school districts like U-46 essential funding to support our students without taking resources away from students in School District 54, District 211 or any other district in the state.”

Castro praised Senate Bill 1 as a monumental school funding reform bill that is widely supported by school superintendents, educators, advocates and community organizations across the state.

“This was not only the most beneficial reform brought forth this legislative session, it is also the most necessary,” she said.

The state’s school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation. The final step needed to enact SB1 into law was a signature from Gov. Bruce Rauner, yet he refused to advance the historic reform, instead vetoing it and requesting the changes.

Castro’s vote helped the Senate override Gov. Rauner’s that demanded more than 100 changes to the historic measure just weeks before school was scheduled to start. A final vote is needed in the House for a full override.

One of the most impactful changes demanded by the governor was the removal of a hold harmless provision for school districts after three years. Unlike the plan Castro supported, the governor’s proposal could result in school districts such as Districts 54 and 211 losing money at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Rauner’s veto came despite his approval of “90 percent of Senate Bill 1,” according to his education secretary earlier this year. But instead of enacting this historic reform, he chose to use education funding as leverage in an attempt to further his regressive legislative agenda. Several of the demanded changes weren’t even related to education, including an amendment that would punish schools for their local governments’ economic development efforts.

“We shouldn’t have to choose between providing our children with a good education and growing our economy,” Castro said. “I don’t know why Governor Rauner is trying to force municipalities to make that choice.”

Castro said Gov. Rauner once again showed he was willing to pit Illinois’ communities against one another to further an economic agenda that has largely failed for lack of support in the general assembly.

“Governor Rauner is using his veto powers to distract the people of Illinois from the real issue at hand: fixing an outdated and unfair school funding system,” Castro said. “We should be searching for the best outcomes for the children of Illinois, yet the governor refuses to meet us at the bargaining table.”

Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate with a bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

McConchie Comments on State Aid to Education Veto Override

A press release from State Senator Dan McConchie:

Sen. McConchie statement on Senate Bill 1 override vote

Springfield, IL… Following the Illinois Senate’s vote to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorne Woods) offered the following comments.

“Today’s override of the Governor’s veto was an unnecessary partisan act,” said McConchie.

“I firmly believe we could have come to a bi-partisan agreement on school funding reform had negotiations been carried out in good faith.

“As one of the negotiators, I came to the table fully prepared to come to an agreement on how we can better fund our schools.

“However, good faith discussions never happened. In fact, the bill’s sponsor admitted in the press that he was never really negotiating with us. Instead the Democrats have decided to pursue a path of bailing out Chicago at any cost.

“It is now up to the House to reject this partisan, regionalistic politics.”

McConnaughay Comments on Veto Override of State Aid to Education Bill

A press release from State Senator Karen McConnaughay:

Sen. McConnaughay response to the Senate’s vote on Senate Bill 1

SPRINGFIELD – In response to the Illinois Senate’s August 13 vote to advance Senate Bill 1 to the House of Representatives, State Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) issued the following statement:

“Senate Bill 1 is a partisan school funding plan that directs hundreds of millions of dollars to one school district, Chicago Public Schools, at the expense of students in Kane, McHenry and throughout the state.

“I did not support Senate Bill 1 when it passed in May, and I still do not believe Senate Bill 1 is the best we can do for the state’s 852 school districts.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact school funding reform that treats all districts and students fairly, regardless of their ZIP code.

“Lawmakers were making significant headway on a compromise proposal in May before negotiations were abruptly halted.

“I know all my colleagues recognize the critical importance of this issue. There is still time for us to come together in support of a bipartisan plan that represents true equity for all of our children.”

Senator McConnaughay is a member of the Senate Education Committee and was a member of the bipartisan, bicameral Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. The commission was charged with providing a framework the General Assembly could use to reform the state’s current school funding formula, which is considered by many to be the most inequitable in the nation.