Bill Passes Giving Township Trustees Power to Set Township Road District Abolition or Consolidation Votes

A press release from Lt. Governor Evelyn anguinetti:

Township Road & Bridge District consolidation bill sent to Governor

CHICAGO – Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti applauds the passage of a bill to allow township trustees to initiate referendums to consolidate township road districts in all Illinois Counties.

Currently, only township trustees in Cook County have this power.

There are 1,391 township road and bridge districts which are legally separate from the 1,430 general townships in the State of Illinois.

These two types of local government account for nearly one-third of the 8,516 local governments in Illinois, as counted by the Illinois Comptroller.

Since November 2016, two townships in Cook County (Wheeling Township and Hanover Township) have successfully initiated and passed referendums to consolidate their road districts. Officials from both townships anticipate greater service efficiencies and taxpayer savings from consolidation.

In addition to empowering township trustees to initiate consolidation referendums, Lt. Governor Sanguinetti supports separate legislation that would empower citizens to initiate similar consolidation referendums through the petition process.

HB 607 passed 75-34-3 in the House and 43-7-1 in the Senate. The bill will soon make it to Governor Rauner’s desk.

“I applaud the General Assembly for passing this bill to give all townships – not just those in Cook County – the authority to consolidate as they deem necessary,” said Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti.

“We pay the highest property taxes in the nation and, not coincidentally, we have more units of government than any other state. This bill is the start of a larger effort to give both citizens and local boards the power to consolidate government.”

“I’m glad to support this bill which empowers voters to choose what’s best for their community,” said Representative Tom Demmer.

“If consolidation makes sense for them, they can now choose to lower the cost of government and reduce their tax burden.”

Sponsors for HB 607 include Representatives Sam Yingling (D-62), Tom Demmer (R-90), Deb Conroy (D-46), David McSweeney (R-52), Kathleen Willis (D-77), Grant Wehrli (R-41), Martin Moylan (D-55), Allen Skillicorn (R-66), David Welter (R-75), Carol Sente (D-59), and Thomas Morrison (R-54).

Senate Sponsors are Senators Julie A. Morrison (D-29), Karen McConnaughay (R-33), Laura M. Murphy (D-28), Tom Rooney (R-27), and Dan McConchie (R-26).


Bill Passes Giving Township Trustees Power to Set Township Road District Abolition or Consolidation Votes — 21 Comments

  1. I don’t think it’ll matter much in McHenry County.

    As seen before, consolidation isn’t popular because there’s always a loser.

    Rural township voters tend to be more supportive of the institution than their suburban counterparts — notice that Diane Evertsen, a very conservative former board member, defended townships as is.

    And in more suburban areas, like Nunda or McHenry or Algonquin, I’m not sure if there is the anti-gov attitude that would lead to abolishing anything.

  2. The Operating Engineers want to thank the fools who passed this bill.

    Consolidation of Township Road Distrcts in this State will result in unionization of the employees.

  3. Cautious Voter: please expand on your statement.
    The bill does not allow voters to consolidate road districts together. The bill allows consolidation of the Road District into the Township. How will that allow for greater unionization of employees?

    For all who read and post on this blog that are against the power a Highway Commissioner has, and lack of oversight (i.e. Bobby Miller) you should be lauding this bill. It gives Township Trustees more power over the purse.

  4. This bill saves no money. It only place the commission under the POWER of a Township Supervisor and Board. The job still has to get done. The author (Yingling) did this as a VENDETTA Bill.
    But I am also disappointed in the Highway Commissioners who allowed this bill to go through both chambers. Their silence or lack of attention may have consequences and will cost money if they have to promote their efficiencies to voters who are so disengaged.

  5. Any consolidation/elimination needs careful consideration unlike the last consolidation deal.

  6. More over site is normally better, but we elected the Road Commissioner to run things at the road district, not the Supervisor.

    The Supervisor should not be able to vote on road district issues, that vote should now go to who we elected the road commissioner.

    Same thing with the Assessors, they should vote on what pertains to that department.

    Supervisor and town clerk really could be handled by one elected official, the office help does most of the paper work anyway.

  7. Sorry!

    Missed House Amendment number three which reduces the bill to a ‘nothing’ bill as it only applies to Road Districts with less than four center line miles of road.

    “Replaces everything after the enacting clause.

    “Reinserts the provisions of the bill as amended by House Amendment No. 2 with the following changes. Amends the Illinois Highway Code.

    “Provides that no township road district may continue in existence if the roads forming a part of the district do not exceed a total of 4 centerline miles (rather than 4 miles) in length.

    “Provides that if a majority of the electors of a township board of trustees votes in favor of a proposition to abolish a road district in Cook County, Illinois, the road district shall be abolished by operation of law effective January 1 of the calendar year immediately following the calendar year in which the proposition was approved by the electors or on the date the term of the highway commissioner in office at the time the proposition was approved by the electors expires, whichever is later.

    “Provides that in a county with less than 3,000,000 inhabitants, a road district shall be abolished by operation of law effective 90 days after vote certification by the governing election authority or on the date the term of the highway commissioner in office at the time the proposition was approved by the electors expires, whichever is later (rather than only 90 days after vote certification by the governing election authority).”

  8. the township boards already have oversight in the assessors’ offices.

  9. Read it again, cautious voter.

    More cautiously this time.

    The 4 miles part only means you can’t be a road district without that minimum.

    That means zilch to the rest of the bill!

  10. Cal, yes but the assessor can’t vote on their portion of the budget.

    If we are going to change the deal lets change so the applicable elected office get some say in their budget.

  11. I apologize for not exercising due diligence yesterday by NOT reading the entire bill.

    Turns out if this bill becomes law we have the opportunity to eliminate ALL Road Districts and eliminate the dictatorial position of Highway Commissioner.

    Here is the language as it pertains to Road Maintenance: “The township board of trustees may enter into a contract with the county, a municipality, or a private contractor”.

    The bill does not make any reference to a Township hiring a Road Commissioner who could be an employee of the Township Board working under the direction of the Board – not the Supervisior (management by committee).

    While the change sounds great, it needs some serious studying.

    Hopefully the elimination of the Highway Commissioner offices will be done responsibly by Township Boards because a ‘knee-jerk’ response to this change in the law could have serious consequences.

    Here is the wording:

    “Sec. 6-134. Abolishing a road district. By resolution, the
    3 board of trustees of any township located in a county with less
    4 than 3,000,000 inhabitants may submit a proposition to abolish
    5 the road district of that township to the electors of that
    6 township at a general election or consolidated election in
    7 accordance with the general election law. The ballot shall be
    8 in substantially the following form:

    9 ———
    10 Shall the Road District of the Township of
    11 ……….. be abolished with all the rights, YES
    12 powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities,
    13 obligations, and responsibilities being assumed ———
    14 by the Township of ……….. ? NO
    15 ———
    16 In the event that a majority of the electors voting on such
    17 proposition are in favor thereof, then the road district shall
    18 be abolished by operation of law effective 90 days after vote
    19 certification by the governing election authority or on the
    20 date the term of the highway commissioner in office at the time
    21 the proposition was approved by the electors expires, whichever
    22 is later.
    23 On that date, all the rights, powers, duties, assets,
    24 property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities of

    HB0607 Enrolled – 5 – LRB100 03674 AXK 13679 b

    1 the road district shall by operation of law vest in and be
    2 assumed by the township. On that date, the township board of
    3 trustees shall assume all taxing authority of a road district
    4 abolished under this Section. On that date, any highway
    5 commissioner of the abolished road district shall cease to hold
    6 office, such term having been terminated. Thereafter, the
    7 township shall exercise all duties and responsibilities of the
    8 highway commissioner as provided in the Illinois Highway Code.
    9 The township board of trustees may enter into a contract with
    10 the county, a municipality, or a private contractor to
    11 administer the roads under its jurisdiction. The township board
    12 of trustees shall assume all taxing authority of a township
    13 road district abolished under this subsection. For purposes of
    14 distribution of revenue, the township shall assume the powers,
    15 duties, and obligations of the road district.”

  12. cautious voter. I believe we are already in the ‘knee-jerk’ response cycle.
    A more common phrase now used is Drain the Swamp.
    The high emotions related to high property taxes will cloud the path to careful consideration before any changes are made.
    To get any significant tax reductions in township road functions is going to require citizens giving up the level of service they have now.
    Some services are already contracted out, but not all out sourcing will save any money.
    In house services are often less expensive, especially related to emergency services.

  13. Township Boards already completely control the budget of the Assessor, now they can form their own Road Departments and have complete control over THAT money, too…

  14. What is wrong with the Township Boards having budgetary control over the Assessor’s Office?

    Sounds like a small form of checks and balances.

    The Assessor can still hire employees without Board approval and has other statutory powers.

  15. Used to be that the township electors set the road commissioner’s budget at the annual town meeting.

    Road commissioners have a much stronger lobby than assessors…for obvious reasons.

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