Law on Township Consolidation

A map of McHenry County showing its seventeen townships, plus municipalities.

A map of McHenry County showing its seventeen townships, plus municipalities.

McHenry County Board member and attorney Mike Walkup has sent me the law showing what authority that county boards have with regard to townships.  His email follows:

There have been some questions raised about the township consolidation effort and the law and procedures which are to be applied. I will therefore attempt to provide some clarification here.

The section of the Township Code which pertains to consolidation of townships contains basically three sections.

First, there is a provision for the County Board, without a referendum, to change township boundaries when requested to do so by the residents.

“The County Board of each county, except as provided in Article 15, may

(i) alter the boundaries of townships

(ii) change township lines,

(iii) divide, enlarge, consolidate, an create new townships in it’s county,

(iv) make alterations of the township boundaries, and

(v) create a new township whenever, in any territory of not less than 35 square miles or possessing an equalized assessed valuation for taxation purposes of not less than $6,000,000 for the preceding 2 years, three-fourths or more of the voters residing in the new territory petition for a new township. …

The county board, however, before taking any final action in any of the matters relating to any of these townships, shall hold a public hearing on those matters after notice of the hearing has been published……” 60 ILCS 1/10-5

There is no election held when this method is utilized.

Second, there is an exception to this where the boundaries of an ‘incorporated town’ are affected. In that case a referendum election must be held. However, the term ‘incorporated town’ does not mean the same thing as it does today. We now have municipalities which we refer to as ‘incorporated areas’. The term ‘incorporated town’ as used in the Township Code does not refer to those but rather to a special procedure that was used to ‘incorporate’ towns after the Civil War and before the close of the 19th century. Most of these towns are downstate and there are none in McHenry County.

Third, Sec. 10-28 is entitled “Plan for changes in Townships”. This is what the proponents of the consolidation are proceeding under. It provides as follows:

“(a) The county board of each county may, subject to a referendum in the townships affected as provided in this Section, adopt a plan for altering the boundaries of the townships, …..or consolidating townships….

(b) No alteration of change in boundaries shall be effective unless approved by referendum in each township affected.

The election authority shall submit to the voters of each township affected, at a regular election to be held no less than 60 days after the plan is adopted, the question of approving the alteration or change. The alterations or changes, if approved by the voters, shall take effect on the date of the next township election and shall be applicable to that election.“


Law on Township Consolidation — 6 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this Cal.

    Your blog is far more informative than the ‘daily minute’ which only reports on happenings based on the goals of its editorial staff.

  2. Yesterday concern was expressed as to a reduction in services due to consolidation.

    Services would not be reduced – they would be expanded at the expense of the taxpayers.

    In other words if you live in a Township where your Board has decided to NOT participate in any form of public transit due to the financial burden placed on taxpayers and your Township approves to be consolidated with a Township that does provide that service, the new Board will likely expand that service to your Township and you will pay, Elimination of any service in Illinois has a political price which practically NO politician wants to pay.

  3. What’s the rationale for the ability of one unit of government to put a referendum on the ballot to consolidate another unit of government?

    Can a county put a referendum on the ballot to consolidate any other units of government?

    Would the costs savings resulting from consolidating McHenry County townships be due to closing and selling buildings, personnel reduction, cost savings from greater purchasing power, or what is at least some information on how savings would result from consolidating townships

  4. Per 60 ILCS 1, this “process” is supposed to commence when “three-fourths or more of the voters residing in the territory petition for a new township” to the County.

    The methods of consolidation outlined in the statute are supposed to be chosen AFTER the County receives the above public petition to authorize them to act.

    Do Goettemoeller, Mike Shorten, and Donna Kurtz have such a petition?

    Or will they just ignore that section of state law and thereby leave themselves and McHenry County open to a potential lawsuit..?

  5. Robert: I would suggest that you re-read the statute.

    This is being sought via referendum.

    That means that it does not require the 3/4ths to petition.

    That was the point of this article.

  6. Since McHenry County has taken the “initiative” on “streamlining” local government, will they also be looking at consolidating McHenry County’s TWENTY-NINE villages and cities?

    Does it make sense to have THAT many in one County?

    And does anyone have the totals on their budgets, employees, and union contracts..?

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