Grafton Township Critic Says Let Other Governments Absorb Its Functions

McHenry County Blog has some thoughtful thinkers.

One has posted the comment below under the last article.

Grafton Township Board, from left to right, Trustees Gerry McMahon, Betty Zirk, Rob LaPorta, Barb Murphy and Superviosr Linda Moore.

Certainly people are talking about abolishing Grafton Township.   Two trustees have told me that might even favor the idea. I found one at last night’s meeting who had inquired how to do it by petition and referendum.

Grafton Township Road Commissioner confers with his attorney Pat Coen about how to unwind the deal that had the Road District buy the township hall in order to find money to build a new township hall on Haligus Road. Now, at least Trustee Gerry McMahon wants to keep the money, have township voters who attend the April 13th Annual Meeting legally authorize the purchase of the Haligus Road property from the Village of Lake in the Hills, then sell that land, using both sources of money to buy and remodel a vacant building to house township offices other than the Road District's. Township electors on April 13th will have the last word. The effort would nullify any results from the court-order referendum this fall about proceeding with the new $3.5 million *over $5 million with interest) township hall

I asked Road Commissioner Jack Freund how abolishing the township would affect his operation.

His basic answer was that it wouldn’t. That’s because the Road District is a separate municipal corporation.

And the Assessor’s Office?

Well, someone has to do the work. It might end up under county jurisdiction. After all, the County Supervisor of Assessments is charged with assessing all property.

What would happen to Assessor Bill Ottley and his employees?

Since Ottley has the most uniform assessments in McHenry County (the last time I looked), he would undoubtedly head up the operation.

Where would the office be?

Probably right where it is or in some other area space rented by the county. Ottley could probably even find a great deal in this economy.

Another possibility occurs to me.  The bill I sponsored back in the 1970’s to create the office of Multi-Township Assessor could be modified to allow for the election of such an official from a neighboring township, plus Grafton Township.  An analysis by then-Algonquin Township Assessor Forrest Hare convinced me that bad (defined as having a large margin of error) assessments were much, much more likely to occur in townships with less than 5,000 people than those larger.  The reason, I believe, is that larger townships could afford a full-time assessor.  I guess the still existing township board would handle the bill paying and oversight functions.

Then, there’s the other services that Grafton Township provides.

For starters, people should know that virtually all such services were permitted by law at the request of township officials trying to justify their existence.

Townships have only three mandated functions:

  • Maintaining some local roads
  • Assessing property
  • Administering General and Emergency Assistance

All the rest are add-ons.

However, let’s say bus service for seniors and the handicapped is considered by the community to be necessary.

I would note that senior bus service is provided by the Road Commissioner in Algonquin Township. The same could happen in Grafton Township, if Freund were amenable to the idea.

Gus Philpott, in his Woodstock Advocate, suggests there may be a much cheaper way to provide transportation services to seniors and the disabled. Subsidize taxis and handicapped equipped vans. Or subsidize PACE, I would add.

Since most of the service is provided Huntley residents, the village itself could even assume the responsibility.

Bingo can be run by any entity. The same with helping with handicapped vehicle hangers and handing out batteries for hearing aids.

The food pantry is already off on its own. The subsidies of the past are over, if not accounted for.

The General and Emergency Assistance is minimum. I believe one of the last year’s of former Grafton Township Supervisor John Rossi’s administration is was about $12,000. I guess the area would operate the same way the one-third of Illinois counties do now. There are no townships in Southern Illinois.

Compare that to the $16,000 in legal bills for Ancel, Glink last month.

When would the township go out of business if such a referendum were put on the ballot and passed?

I can’t tell you. I think I remember some provision that says elected officials serve out their terms.

Too much from me. Here’s the reader comment:

“Dear” Grafton Township Elected Officials and “Hired” (more like appointed) Employee(s),

The money you are so droolingly intent on spending for Your WANTS not NEEDS is OTHER PEOPLE’S money.  It’s not your private little world and check book.  It doesn’t matter if you are taxing $5 or $200 dollars, you are still taxing.

Stop trying to grow what some people consider a no longer needed layer of govt. BIGGER.  In Grafton, it would make sense to allow other govt. entities to absorb most or all of what Grafton does.

There are plenty of places for bingo, food pantires, meeting rooms, yada yada yada and they are spread across Grafton Township – not just in Huntley.  Certain types of transportation services can be worked out with local Taxi companies eliminating the need to own vehicles/buses, pay for gas, labor, insurance, upkeep, schedulers, etc.

If you absolutely MUST MUST MUST have Grafton Township’s name on such things instead of cooperating with others, then RENT them.  The events would still be called Grafton Township Bingo but it doesn’t require a multi million dollar building and loan interest.  I repeat, it’s far cheaper than a multi-million building and loan interest.

Trying to recreate the wheel and sliced bread in this case sure seems to be  ego driven.  The way it’s being handled reminds me of Washington DC/Chicago tactics.

NOTE:  Huntley isn’t a small place anymore.  Have the elected and “hired” people not noticed? Perhaps when it was small, there was a dream in someone’s mind to make the Township more important, provide missing services, and so on.  That was then.  “We” aren’t living in “then” anymore.  Grafton Twp. elected officials and “hired” employees, are YOU still living in the “then” in the “dream”?  If so, as one movie character once succinctly said “Snap out of it!”

Is someone looking to have their name engraved on a room, a program, ………….a political ballot?


Grafton Township Critic Says Let Other Governments Absorb Its Functions — 6 Comments

  1. A few meetings ago Tom Halat said that “Grafton Township was a nothing.” Does SIZE matter? Drive over to the Alqonquin or Palatine Township Offices and see what great programs and services they have in place in an area that isn’t “a small place anymore.” Maybe it does have soemthing to do with seeing names on things . . . everytime I drive down Vine Street I see the big sign reading “Ziller Annex” on the front of the Grafton Township Offices.

  2. Many of the programs and services are duplicated. Alg. has computer classes for seniors. So do the libraries and MCC. A lot of these services we pay for more than once with our tax money.

  3. We need to conjoin the Townships and have one of everything not 15 of this and 7 of that. We have to much trouble with Township government. Look what happened in Lakemoor with those people who wanted to have a fund raiser for a relative and had their property impounded for the weekend by the police. And the fines for decorating that ladies front yard with what she wanted I guess it was a toilet bowl. Don’t they actually have anythingbetter to do than just complain about someones yard decorations. I’ve seen worst yards than that over there and nothing is said about them. Needless to say fine them for the way they look. Or the problems we have had in Burton township. Our roads looks like Rte 12 did a couple of years ago and they just raised our road taxes 11% last year. They don’t even post when the meetings are. that way they don’t get anyone complaining.

  4. I also agree that we are being put through needless extra expense and that abolishing Townships in this area makes a great deal of sense. The job functions are usually duplicated and the people performing them could be absorbed by City and County.

    Every township seems to feel the need for “their” building and “their” programs and the effectiveness of my money gets dilluted, if not wasted. Place Dorr and Grafton both on the chopping block!

  5. Wow! All this talk about abolishing a township, and Bob Anderson had nothing to do with it.

  6. No Township in the history of Illinois has ever been abolished. So good luck with that.

    Yes conjoin townships make the monster even bigger thats the answer!

    Boycott “Tomato Tommy’s”
    Buy your garden supply’s anywhere eles send a message with your walet

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