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Coalition of homeowners hopes sit-down with county, township officials bears fruit

Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 10:56 a.m. CDT

For years, residents along nondedicated roads have paid township road and bridge taxes without seeing a penny of it go toward their own roads’ maintenance.

They hope that a sit-down with county and township officials Wednesday evening leads to the end of the pothole-filled road.

The Non-Dedicated Roads Coalition, a group of homeowners who live along such “private” roads, wants the County Board to adopt rules that would allow its roads to qualify for maintenance through the township property tax.

Homeowners say the plan hit upon by county and township government – a greater share of motor-fuel tax revenue – is inadequate and misses the point of paying taxes for a service they can’t use, coalition Vice President John Reihansperger said.

The county’s nondedicated roads are found in McHenry, Nunda and Algonquin townships. The coalition will meet Wednesday with the County Board Transportation Committee, Division of Transportation and township highway commissioners.

“They’re going to try to assuage us with motor-fuel tax, but what we really want is our road and bridge money we’ve been paying for years and getting nothing for,” said Reihansperger, who lives in the Fair Oaks subdivision outside of McHenry.

The discussion starts at 7 p.m. at the county Administration Building, 667 Ware Road, Woodstock.

Rules to bring a private road up to township standards, and therefore putting them under township jurisdiction, include widening them to 40 feet. The expense of building and right of way acquisition aside, it is not feasible in many older neighborhoods because of where the homes are located.

However, coalition members said they feel they have “hit a brick wall” with the Transportation Committee, coalition President Ned Neumann said.  They allege that Chairwoman Anna May Miller, R-Cary, is the main roadblock – she works for the Algonquin Township Highway Department and her husband, Robert, is highway commissioner.

Miller has steadfastly denied trying to delay or derail the process, or that her employment constitutes a conflict of interest as coalition members have alleged. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Coalition members have asked her to recuse herself from the discussions, and asked the County Board after the 2012 election to remove her from the committee chairmanship.

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