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Group seeks to abolish townships

A group that campaigned against the failed District 156 working cash bond referendum in April is refocusing its efforts toward abolishing townships.

Led by Bob Anderson, who has been vocal against townships for many years, the McHenry Citizens TaxWatch plans to campaign against township government.

McHenry Citizens TaxWatch will be one of the 51 entries in the Wonder Lake Fourth of July Parade, scheduled for July 3. The group also is scheduled to appear in McHenry’s Fiesta Days Parade on July 17.

“I just want to get out there and see what results I get,” said Anderson, of Wonder Lake.

Anderson said the dozen members who plan to show up will throw candy and hand out signs that say to stop townships.

The website for McHenry Citizens TaxWatch has been changed, and the group’s mission now includes both abolishing townships and defeating property-tax referendums.

The group says townships are obsolete, inefficient and waste money. The site now includes salaries of elected township officials, the services that townships provide, and names of elected township officials who have served in other elected positions.

Anderson had a referendum in 1994 calling for the end of townships in McHenry County and one in 1998 calling for the end of McHenry Township. Both failed.

David Yang, who works in information technology, is a co-founder of the group. He said most people were cutting back while governments increase taxes.

“The economy is bad and property values are down, but the government keeps spending our money,” Yang said.

Yang said services performed by townships could be absorbed by other governments and be more efficient.

“We need to decrease the number of taxing bodies on our tax bills,” Yang said.

The group’s leaders say they hope their group will grow after this initial campaign work.

“We just want to get our name out,” Yang said. “We want people to understand we are there. Eventually we want to become a force in McHenry County.”

Nunda Township Supervisor John Heisler said Anderson’s position was nothing new and most people were aware of it.

Townships are responsible providing general financial assistance for people who financially qualify, road maintenance for roads that are not in municipalities, and property assessments.

“If people knew a little more about what townships do, they might not be interested in joining Mr. Anderson,” Heisler said.

McHenry Township Supervisor Donna Schaefer said it’s ultimately up to voters to say whether they want townships through the referendum process.

“The voters ... have validated the services we do,” Schaefer said.

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