Somewhere in the debate on township consolidation, the comment was made that the people have the power to decide the budget at the Annual Town Meeting.
Unless there has been a drastic change since the 1970’s.
The public has not been allowed to vote on township levies since about 1970.
What precipitated the preventing the electors from voting on the budget was two-fold:
- A Nunda Township Porten’s Subdivision packed its meeting because the Road Commissioner LeRoy Geske (his father Roy Geske was Road Commissioner in the 50’s and60’s) would not fix their unincorporated road. (Mayor Daley’s State Representative Johnny Vitek, which may have helped in the organized takeover of the meeting.) The electors put $1 in each line item of the Road Commissioner’s budget. They apparently didn’t know that the Road Commissioner’s salary did not come out of his department’s budget, but out of the Town Fund. (There was also a court case seeking to force Geske to take over the non-dedicated road.)
- In Algonquin Township, supporters of newly-elected Assessor Forrest B. Hare took over the meeting and put in $500 to sue the McHenry County Supervisor of Assessments Stanley Cornue for overassessing the township. The attorney spent the money, but he ran out before any suit was filed.
Thereafter, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law taking budget power away from the voters and giving it to the Township Board.
So much for direct democracy where it counts–the budget.