Nunda Township Open Space Proponents Out Poll Opponents on Fall Advisory Referendum on Repeal

Thanks to a friend of McHenry County Blog, I can offer the following take on what happened at Nunda Township’s Annual Town Meeting:

I thought I’d fill you in on the outcome of the Nunda Township Annual Meeting.

Aside from the formalities of the standard Annual Meeting Agenda (there were some interesting comments from Supervisor John Heisler at the beginning of the meeting relative to general assistance funds… mainly they will likely be depleted by October), the big question on the agenda was with regard to the Nunda Open Space Plan and a question put forth as to whether or not to put an advisory question on the November Ballot which would allow the voters to express whether or not they favored repealing the Nunda Open Space Plan.

I wish I had brought my digital recorder or had taken better notes, however below is a quick summation of a couple of key points made during the meeting:

The "Vote Yes" people mustered more of their people to the Nunda Township Annual Town Meeting than the opponents.

Douglas Mann put the motion forward to discuss the question and admitted that while the question was advisory he called the plan a plan to tax the residents of Nunda Township.

In his remarks he referred to page 13 of the Standards and Procedures which indicates that “Cost, availability and willingness of the seller will be the standards that guide the Township Board in acquisition” and that references to Hydric Soils or other water related issues would not be guiding factors when purchasing properties.

Former Nunda Trustee, Kevin Sarnwick, asked a series of questions of Supervisor John Heisler relative to the Open Space Plan.  Among the answers, it was revealed out that the township could not accept land donations without an Open Space Plan.

Several homeowners indicated that their wells had run dry and they had been forced to dig a deeper well as the aquifers had been reduced as a result of development.

Democrat Candidate for County Board Lori McConville, who also serves on the Nunda Township Planning Commission and is President and Chairman of Nunda Neighbors for Open Space spoke against having the question on the ballot.

Gerry Walsh, one of the advisory question proponents, questioned Ms. McConville’s credibility, noting that he was scheduled to appear in front of the Illinois Election Commission with regard to an infraction related to campaign finance filing against Nunda Neighbors tomorrow.  McConville’s argument was that her involvement was based out of concern for the quantity and quality of water available to township residents.

Also speaking in support of the Open Space Plan among others were County Board Member Kathy Bergen Schmidt and Nunda Township Planning Commission Chairman Ders Anderson.

Among the supporters many discussed the failed tax referendums and how they would, eventually, when the timing is right, win approval.

During one of her Remarks, Kathy Bergen Schmidt identified as the same Gerry Walsh who served as a Trustee in Roselle back in the 90’s.

Debate lasted for nearly an hour and the final vote was 31 in favor of letting the voters voice their opinion and 47 against.  I did note that there were many people that chose to abstain from the vote.

I voted in favor of putting the question on the ballot; while the referendum was advisory, it would have given the voters another chance to express their opinion on the document that they approved of, but not enough to fund, and it would have given the proponents that would want to see taxes raised on Nunda residents the opportunity to promote the value of the plan and build their case for their next attempt at the tax increase.

No winners or losers here, I guess.


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