McSweeney Reports Bill Allowing Abolition of McHenry County Townships by Referendum Signed by Governor

The Illinois General Assembly web site does not show that State Rep. David McSweeney’s House Bill 348 has been signed yet, but a phone message from the legislator says Governor JP Pritzker has made the bill law.

The bill passed the House 62-33-5 on April 4th.

The Senate followed suit with a 44-3 vote on May 16th.

The roll calls follow:

Here is the bill’s description as introduced by McSweeney:

Synopsis as Introduced

David McSweeney

Amends the Township Code. Provides that the board of trustees of any township located in McHenry County may submit a proposition to dissolve the township to the township electors or township electors may petition for a referendum to dissolve a township. Provides for the transfer of real and personal property, and any other assets, together with all personnel, contractual obligations, and liabilities of the dissolving township to McHenry County. Provides that all road districts wholly within the boundaries of the dissolving township are dissolved on the date of dissolution of the dissolving township and the powers and responsibilities of the road district are transferred to McHenry County, and provides that municipalities within the dissolving township may elect to assume the duties and responsibilities of the road district or road districts. Limits extensions of specified property tax levies to 90% of the original property tax levy and within the boundaries of the dissolved township. Amends the Election Code and Counties Code making conforming changes. Amends the Illinois Highway Code. Provides that any township in Lake County or McHenry County shall abolish a road district of that township if the roads of the road district are less than 15 miles in length. Provides that the road district is abolished on the expiration of the term of office of the highway commissioner of the road district facing abolition following the determination by the county engineer or county superintendent of highways. Provides that the township board of trustees may enter into a contract with the county, a municipality, or a private contractor to administer the roads added to its jurisdiction. Effective immediately.

House Floor Amendment 1, which incorporated the suggestions of State Senator Craig Wilcox

Replaces everything after the enacting clause. Reinserts the provisions of the introduced bill with the following changes: Amends the Motor Fuel Tax Law making conforming changes. Further amends the new Article 24 of the Township Code as follows: removes provisions regarding the scope of the Article; modifies the petition requirements to dissolve a township, including signature requirements and publication of the petition on the county’s website; modifies the referendum wording; clarifies that road districts that are to be dissolved must be wholly within the boundaries of the township; adds examples of duties that are transferred to the county; limits specified taxes and proceeds of the sale of specified properties to the use and benefit of the geographic area of the dissolved township; provides that reductions in spending within the boundaries of the former township and specified tax levies may be used to pay down liabilities of the former township; provides that if a no municipality makes an offer or a municipality doesn’t make a satisfactory offer (rather than only no offers made) to take over part of a dissolved road district, then the county may retain the powers over the road district; provides that elected and appointed township officers and road commissioners shall cease to hold office on the date of dissolution of the township and road districts, no longer be compensated, and do not have legal recourse relating to the ceasing of their elected or appointed positions upon the ceasing of their offices. Effective immediately.

The amendment added these provisions:

Craig Wilcox

There is still a 10% tax cut but added are transitional sections which were not included in the original bill, e.g.,

  • transferring Motor Fuel Taxes received from the state to the county or municipalities taking over the township roads
  • transferring all assets to the county, plus “all personnel, contractural obligations, and liabilities” to the county
  • all funds so transferred must be used to benefit the the residents of the dissolved township such as General Assistance, real estate assessments, facilities, cemetery upkeep
  • salaries of the eliminated elected officials shall not be paid after dissolution

The legislation as enacted can be found here.

The following was emailed from Governor Pritzker:

Gov. Pritzker Signs Local Government Consolidation Legislation

Governor JB Pritzker signed HB 348 today to allow taxpayers to decide if they want to consolidate local governments.
“Rising property taxes overburden homeowners across the state, and this administration is committed to exploring all options to provide communities with relief,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “After hearing from local stakeholders on their desire for government consolidation, I am signing HB 348 and look forward to seeing how this bill works for the taxpayers of McHenry County.”
House Bill 348
House Bill 348 allows for the petition-initiated dissolution of any township in McHenry County. All assets and obligations of the township would be transferred to McHenry County, but all proceeds from the sale of assets coming from the dissolution of a township can only be used within the geographic boundaries of the township. All road districts wholly within the boundaries of the dissolving township are dissolved, and those powers and responsibilities would go to McHenry County. The county board cannot extend a property tax levy greater than 90% of levy extended by the dissolved township or road district, and it can only be extended on the area within the geographic boundaries of the township.
The bill also abolishes road districts with less than 15 miles of road in Lake County and McHenry County, including Avon, Benton, Newport, Shields, Vernon and Waukegan. All the rights and responsibilities of the road district are absorbed by the township, which can enter an intergovernmental agreement to administer the roads.
HB 348 takes effect immediately.

“Government works best when it delivers quality services to its residents in the most efficient way possible,” said Sen. Terry Link (D-Indian Creek). “Having a separate layer of government to take care of less than 15 miles of roadway simply doesn’t make any sense. Government consolidation is long overdue, and eliminating wasteful road districts is the perfect place to start.”
“I appreciate that the Governor signed this important consolidation bill,” said Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills). “Consolidation is one of the key components to reducing Illinois property taxes.”
“Thank you to the Governor for allowing citizens to decide how they want to structure their government,” said Jack Franks, chairman of the McHenry County Board.“This is a good step in the right direction.”
The governor also signed SB 90, legislation to consolidate drainage districts.


McSweeney Reports Bill Allowing Abolition of McHenry County Townships by Referendum Signed by Governor — 15 Comments

  1. No toilet comments on this one…tic, tock, tic, tock, tic, tock, meeeeeeoooooooowwwwwwwwwwww…

  2. The most opportune time to place the township dissolution referendums on the ballot would be during the primary election on March 17, 2020. Townships’ voters who choose to dissolve on March 17 will be able to implement the dissolution and no offices need to be elected in the 2021 election.

    A while back, I suggested the Big 5 townships should be targeted for dissolution: Algonquin, Grafton, Nunda, McHenry and Dorr.

    Time to get those petitions to be ready to circulate come September 3.

    Deadline for petition filing is November 25-December 2.

  3. I live on Krenz.

    Between Bob Miller paying off his family wages well above normal and Patrick Kenneally refusing to prosecute crime we are stuck with this.

    I cannot wait for gasser to come out and start supporting the township form of government.

    Get your popcorn as the mind numbed robots who have been programmed to hate Gasser start puking all over social media, the paper, and the blog.

    TOI refusing to condemn Miller, his wife, is wild nepotism.

    McHenry County politicians following TOI.

    And a special mention to Patrick Kenneally for completely dropping the ball.

    These are the reasons townships could be abolished.

    The best will be when Gasser starts trying to keep townships and he looks like a hypocrite.

  4. Excellent!

    Time to get rid of a completely useless layer of misgovernment!

    I’m sick of all the township bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, pension piggery and embezzlement.

    Taxpayer Victory!

  5. I hope people can step away from the emotions of our times and look at the facts, there has been no proof of a long term savings if townships are eliminated.

    I hope both sides offer the facts to retain or eliminate before the vote.

  6. Nob:

    Here is how they start saving (I.e. Alg. Twp):
    1) no Township, no Township Attorney
    2) no township, no legal bills for McArdle, Gummerson, Hanlon, Brody, Gooch, Nelson, Kelly.
    3) No Township, no expenses for TOI.
    4) No Township, no expense for clerk lukasik.
    5) No Township, no expense for the deputy clerk to do clerk job
    6) No Township, no supervisor expense.
    7) No Township, no chief of staff expense
    8) No Township, no Sippy cup, no hair dresser, no senseless Shea, no challenging Chapman.
    9) No Township, no Highway Commissioner.
    10) No Township, no nothing.

    Do we really need a study on that

  7. “The Nob”, while opinions vary concerning your assertion about savings, what we’ve seen in McHenry County over the past 10 years with all of the legal fees borne by taxpayers in Algonquin and Grafton Townships begs the question that voters need the opportunity to decide for themselves if they want to keep their township, and decide at the ballot box.

    Once a referendum is on the ballot, then proponents and opponents of township dissolution can convince discerning voters whether their township should be eliminated.

    The Big 5, Algonquin, Dorr, Grafton, McHenry and Nunda, have significant areas within municipalities and overlapping services, and discerning voters know fewer-is-better in terms of local governments.

  8. Townships are needed.

    Too many pensions and nepotism gone crazy.

    Plus the left has infiltrated my Township (Greenwood) with a militant lesbian township atty and atheists on the Board.

  9. Sweeney is THE MAN!

    Never thought I’d approve of anything Pritzker did or would do. But this is great!


    East St. Louis Township paid $550 to a politician, who had previously spent four years in federal prison for tax evasion, to clear an inch of snow from the township’s parking lot – a task he didn’t even complete.

    Illinois’ more than 1,400 townships often offer services duplicative with other governments, and incur costs not abundantly necessary.

    The latter is certainly true in East St. Louis Township, where township officials paid a politician $550 to clear an inch of snow off the parking lot of the township’s headquarters Jan. 15.

    The Belleville News-Democrat reported the township board approved the payment Jan. 25 for Michael Collins – a former city councilman and current Democratic precinct committeeman who served more than four years in federal prison for income tax evasion – to remove an inch of snow the week prior. Collins did not actually end up removing the snow, but instead sprinkled salt on the ground.

    The township’s supervisor would not comment to the Belleville News-Democrat on why the township hired outside help for a task it could have covered itself. But regardless of the reason, the questionable cost is an unwelcome sight for struggling area taxpayers.

    In the city of East St. Louis itself, 41 percent of homeowners are seriously underwater on their mortgages. Residents in St. Clair County as a whole, where East St. Louis and East St. Louis Township are located, pay the 21st highest property taxes of the state’s 102 counties. Waste in townships and other local governments only intensify this burden, and it’s something taxpayers across the state have felt. With nearly 7,000 units of government in Illinois, opportunities to waste taxpayer dollars are plentiful.

    In McHenry County, three separate townships – Algonquin, Nunda and Grafton – are all under investigation for possibly breaking the law in their use of taxpayer money. And those, too, are wasted costs taxpayers can’t afford: McHenry County homeowners, from 2011-2015, paid the fourth-highest median property tax bill in Illinois and the 30th-highest in the nation.

    Some Illinoisans – in Belleville and Evanston specifically – have been successful in eliminating their township governments all together. But the hurdles taxpayers have to jump through make the process difficult. As the law stands now, to put a binding referendum question on a ballot to eliminate township governments, voters must get a petition signed by 10 percent of the registered voters in every township in the entire county.

    House Bill 4244, recently filed in the General Assembly, would ease those requirements considerably for McHenry County voters – a change that will give taxpayers there more flexibility. But as is evident in East St. Louis and across Illinois, the ability to consolidate wasteful government would be a boon to taxpayers everywhere.

    Taxpayers deserve, at the very least, the option to eliminate or consolidate redundant government when its costs serve no benefit to them. And many Illinois townships are proving that’s the case.

  10. Taxpayer victory?

    You must not have read the bill in which it says 90% of the township property tax will go to the County.

    You will lose the services townships offer as it will get swallowed up by the monster of county government.

    They are not equipped to do any of that work and IF they try it will cost more.

    I thought smaller government was the goal not growing one.

  11. Reick betrayed the taxpayers again. so did DeWittee.

    These RINOs should be bagged.

  12. All people that want to keep their Township will have a vote.

    Algonquin, Nunda, Grafton, Dorr, and McHenry should all go!

    Roads are picked up by the County and any services that the towns fall under those 5 can vote to keep up with or add services.

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