Grafton Township Electors Vote “No” Before They Vote “Yes” on New Township Hall

No one ever said that Democracy was supposed to be neat and tidy and Tuesday night’s annual Grafton Town meeting certainly was messy.

The Huntley Police were in an adjacent parking lot just in case there was more trouble than the Town Moderator could handle.

The small parking lot was quickly filled, so people parked along neighboring roads and parking lots. Note the township’s senior van unloading electors.

They walked to the township garage under rolling clouds near sunset.

There were lines outside the township garage as people waited to verify their residency.

The meeting was standing room only.

There were only 103 chairs. Clerk Dina Frigo prepared 75 copies of the minutes and the agenda. Frigo is seen on the left counting votes for the meeting moderator.

McHenry County Board member Scott Breeden, who previously served as Lakewood Village President and President of the Crystal Lake Park Board, beat out Lake in the Hills Trustee Steven Harlfinger 78-46.

Clerk Frigo sworn Breeden in.

Then, the fun began.

The minutes were read in full. Frigo apparently had not posted draft minutes of last April’s town meeting on the township web site, but agreed to do so this year within two weeks after complaints on lack of transparency on the part of township officials.

Last year’s moderator Terry Hoeft asked that they be corrected to read that a Planning and Visioning Committee be appointed and convened “prior to construction.”

The committee was never appointed by the township board.

Dan Ziller, Sr., then moved that all electors “have a right to speak and vote on every item on the agenda. The motion passed.

Don Glogovsky, a running mate to newly-elected Township Supervisor Linda Moore who came in sixth out of six candidates, made a motion that “the public be informed of all costs involved before any decision is made by the board.”

The motion passed.

Jerry Berquist objected strenuously to not knowing the public had a right to vote at the town meeting.

“I’ve lived here ten years and didn’t know that,” he said, explaining he would have urged his neighbors to attend had he know.

He referred to “a certain group,” who had urged people to attend the meeting. He supported the new building, so I guess he was talking about the opponents.

At that point Huntley’s Randall Hart moved to adjourn the meeting. That motion failed.

Then, it was on to item G on the agenda on a motion:

Should Grafton Township construct an office building on real estate purchased by the township on Haligus road in Lake in the Hills, Illinois?

Don Bond started off the discussion by pointing out that in addition to the $3.5 million that township officials always said the new building would cost, there was interest to be paid. He calculated it to be $1.9 million, bringing the cost to $5.4 million.

Township Trustee Betty Zirk then took the floor in front of the proposed building’s floor plan and rendition.

She began by explaining that the meeting had to be held in the township garage because the Huntley Park District “make us quit at 9 o’clock.”

“The park district told me we could stay as long as we needed to,” Dan Ziller, Jr., interjected.

“The bids are out and it’s coming in $200,000 less than the $3.5 million,” she explained.

She pointed out that “half of that garage we’re going to put the food pantry in.

She revealed they had already spent $99,600 on purchasing the land from the Village of Lake in the Hills.

“Wasn’t it supposed to be donated?” someone asked.

Zirk told the audience that LITH trustees didn’t think it was “fair to their people” to give away the land, so the township bought it.

As a trade-off the village trustees agreed to limit fees to $12,500 for sewer.

Dan Ziller, Jr., then pointed out that the land contract had a clause allowing the township to return the land and get its money back.

Bond then expressed his frustration that Zirk had not mentioned the interest on the $3.35 million that had been borrowed.

“They don’t want to talk about what the interest is,” he said.

“What are you going to do if you don’t build this building?” a woman asked.

Dan Bristol Shaw observed that the board got permission in 2006.

“You should have been there two years ago!”

A lady read part of the statutes that said before townships could issue bonds the public had to approve them at a referendum (60ILCS1/140-5).

“We’re not talking about a bond,” Gerry McMahon, the running mate of Linda Moore who won the Republican nomination by beating out incumbent Lois Brothers, said in rebuttal.

“You can either have a referendum upfront or one in reverse,” incoming Township Supervisor Linda Moore said.

Then came the vote. First those in favor of approving building a new town hall.

Next, those opposed.

There seemed to be some confusion at the head table.

“It’s very close,” Moderator Breeden announced.

The “No” votes were counted again.

And, maybe again.

Finally, Breeden announced,

“It’s exactly the same.”

The vote was 70-70.

People wondered why the “No” votes were counted more than one time, but the “Yes” votes only once.

“When we counted the ‘Yes’ votes, we both agreed. When we counted the ‘No’ votes, we didn’t agree, so we counted until we did,” Breeden explained.

Since tie votes fail, Breeden declared the motion lost.

Let’s look at the language again:

Should Grafton Township construct an office building on real estate purchased by the township on Haligus road in Lake in the Hills, Illinois?

Don Glogovsky then moved that the issue be put on the ballot.

Agreeing with Trustee Betty Zirk, Breeden pointed out that such a question could be discussed but not voted upon, because it was not on the agenda.

Then, it was on to the second major question:

Should Grafton Township enter into construction contracts for the construction of a Town Hall on Haligus Road in Lake in the Hills?

This motion passed 70-64.

Some of the opponents had obviously left after the first vote.

“How are we going to spend money on a building we haven’t approved?”one woman asked.

“It sounds like we’re going to have to depend on this tremendous board,” Breeden said pointing to his right where the incumbent trustees were standing.

Crystal Lake’s Peter Hoffmann, sitting across the aisle from me, took an active part in the meeting.

When the discussion got to rescinding the contracts that had already been let, it was revealed that they amounted to $285,000.

“We can cut out losses,” Hoffmann said. “If we rescind these contracts, we can stop squandering money.

“If we defeat the contracts we’ll be cutting back at the cost of (maybe) $5 million.”

The motion to kill the contracts was defeated 72-61.

After that the meeting seemed to lose steam. It was about ten.

Motions about how much money should be spent and whether the township should rent space to the Grafton Township Food Pantry were tabled without strenuous objection.

The meeting was adjourned.

As I left the garage, the township’s senior bus was loading up the votes that allowed supporters of the new township hall to tie the first vote and carry the day on the others.


Comments

Grafton Township Electors Vote “No” Before They Vote “Yes” on New Township Hall — 6 Comments

  1. Hey why didn’t you post a picture of Aileen Seedorf? She was up and speaking a few times.

  2. What a waste of internet resources and your time. You can’t stop progress even if you think you want to stay a backasswards little township. Tomatoes, I say we throw them at small minded rich farmers too cheap to move into the 22nd century :)-

    The people who work in the current mold ridden shack should be given a safe functional place in which to work.

  3. The electors that object to this builing are not against a new building, just not a 3.5 million dollar building. The trustees refused to form the planning committee that was approved in 2008.Check thru the minutes of past meetings, they are so vague that the sale of township property could have referred to a file cabinet.There was never any mention of the Road Dept buying the current building. Other meetings were held at 9:00 on a Tues morning and adjourned as quickly as 9:06. I wonder if the comment by Gerry is the same trustee who commented that he didn’t care what the building cost because he would be dead when that time came. As far as the small minded rich farmers go, it is those farmers that grew up here and supported the township all these years.I would like to see him work 1/2 as hard as these farmers do. The electors voted that THIS building not be built,yet the Board continues to push their agenda. They are out of control.

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