I have been following Algonquin Township government since I was in college.
In fact, my first public meeting was one on non-dedicated subdivision roads for Silver Lakes.
The township used a law passed by State Rep. George Lindberg (R-Crystal Lake) that was held unconstitutional.
The 1970 Constitution was revised to allow financing through Special Service Area tax districts.
The bonds, however, continued to be paid with property taxes, which I, as County Treasurer, collected from 1967-1970
But, to the subject in the title of this post
In the township meetings I attended while running for County Treasurer and while service in that office started out with township electors, ordinary citizens, being able to vote on township budgets.
But, then, citizens in Algonquin and Nunda Townships (and perhaps elsewhere) got uppity.
The stripping of the power of township electors to set the budget is partially because of a motion I supported in the late 1960’s to require the Algonquin Township Attorney to sue the Supervisor of Assessments for having made our township multiplier too high.
The attorney squander that $500 line item on telling the Township Board why we couldn’t sue, rather than following the instructions given him by the town electors.
That same night, unincorporated residents from Nunda Twp took over that Town Meeting and voted one dollar for each line item in Road Commissioner Leroy Gescke’s budget.
They didn’t know enough about township government, however to know that the Road Commissioner’s salary came out of the Town Fund budget, so, undoubtedly, Geske got paid.
The next year, the General Assembly took the budgeting power away from the electors.
That authority was given to Township Boards.
The same process was most likely the reason that Road Commissioners are so lacking in oversight today.
When township officials see ordinary voters preventing them from doing something, the Township Officials of Illinois has gotten legislation passed to prevent such interference.>Now township citizens can’t add items to the Annual Town Meeting the night of the meeting, they have to do so, with others signing a petition, several weeks ahead of time.
Any claim that township government has a close relationship to direct democracy is long past.