Satus Quo in LITH Sanitary District Case with Judge Leaning Toward Jack Franks’ Position

Sitting through most of the 1:30 Wednesday hearing on whether McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks will be able to control the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District led me to offer, “Congratulation, Jack,” as he walked down the hall.

The issue was whether to continue the temporary restraining order until the trial date, which was set for Tuesday, September 19th.

The second week of July, Franks, using the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office to represent him, won a Temporary Restraining Order against the Sanitary District’s spending $900,000 to purchase property down Square Barn Road in Kane County.  (See “Franks Wins TRO Against LITH Sanitary District.”)

Yesterday, Judge Thomas Meyer shunted aside the political motivations of both Franks and the Sanitary District to concentrate on whether the pencil thin annexation down the road’s right-of-way met the required “contiguous” definition.

Assistant State’s Attorney George Hoffman pointed out that the Sanitary District did not annex any property at the end of the annexation and cited at least one case that supported that requirement.

The boundaries of the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District extend beyond the southern boundary of McHenry County into Kane County along Square Barn Road.

Sanitary District attorney Derke Price argued that the statute under which it was formed gave more annexation latitude than the districts obtained under the case cited.

“I’m not going to get involved with the background facts..I’m not gong to pay attention to this motive stuff,” he said.

He concluded spending the $900,000 to purchase land at the end of the annexed property on which a pumping station has been discussed for over two years would cause damage to taxpayers before he ruled on the case.

He also found that there was a likelihood that the County would win the suit.

Hoffman suggested a summary judgement would be appropriate.

At stake in the short -run are three $6,000 Trustee slots.  So far, Franks has appointed two people, one of whom is a Democratic Party Precinct Committeeman.

Jack Franks sits right between the two Democrats he “appointed” to the LITH Sanitary District Board, Eric Hansen and Kyle Kane ,both of whom will get paid $6,000 a year if Franks wins his suit.

In the long-run, Franks seeks bragging rights that he led the fight to abolish a tax district.

Although located in Crystal Lake and Huntley, as well as Lake in the Hills, state law seems to allow the LITH Village Board to call all the shots if consolidation occurs.

The State’s Attorney’s Office sent out the following press release:

McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Petition for A Preliminary Injunction Against the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District Is Granted

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally is pleased to announce attorneys in the Civil Division secured a preliminary injunction preventing the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District from closing on a piece of property in Kane County at a cost in excess of $900,000.

The County pushed for the injunction after this independent taxing district took extraordinary steps to prevent a proposed consolidation aimed at reducing expenses and increasing government efficiency.

This victory is yet another step in the battle to protect McHenry County taxpayers from wasteful government spending.

The County was represented at the hearing by Assistant State’s Attorneys George Hoffman and Jana Blake Dickson.

The matter will now go to trial on September 19th to determine the proper makeup of the District’s Board of Trustees.


Satus Quo in LITH Sanitary District Case with Judge Leaning Toward Jack Franks’ Position — 3 Comments

  1. Sunshine blogger, what’s wrong with the “satus quo?” Tic, tock, tic, tock…

  2. Is there any public record of the planned pumping station that has been discussed in Kane County over the last two years.

  3. Mark – When any public entity looks at purchasing land or expanding they don’t typically make it public as this may ensue mark up of the property in question.

    But records show in the mid 90’s the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District extended an oversized pipe to its southern boundaries to serve properties to the south.

    Unfortunately the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District was pulled into a boundary agreement between the Village of Algonquin/Village of Lake in the Hills/Village of Huntley which prevented any expansion to the south for 20 years, which expired in 2013.

    In has been indicated in 2014 the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District started discussions, and in 2015 started contacting land owners for expansion to the south – well in advance of Frank’s bill.

    I am sure the Lake in the Hills Sanitary District has the plans for the pipe expansion to the southern boundary.

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