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Our View: Taxpayers earn road services

Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

Taxpayers should expect to receive some return in services for the taxes they pay to local, state and federal governments.

Some returns aren’t exactly tangible. We don’t see the U.S. military in action on a regular basis, for example, but we know that national defense is a wise investment of our hard-earned tax dollars and trust that our military is doing its best to keep us safe.

The most tangible of taxpayer-supported services are those provided by local governments. Most days, we see the benefits of our schools, of our local police and fire departments, of the transportation crews who clear our roads of snow in the winter, or fix them in the spring and summer.

But there’s a group of McHenry County residents who pay a specific local tax without a tangible return in service.

Residents who live along about 100 miles of nondedicated roads in McHenry, Nunda and Algonquin townships pay township road and bridge taxes, but none of those tax dollars go toward maintenance of these nondedicated roads.

It’s a complex issue that dates to the earliest years of this county’s formation. Many of these roads weren’t built to today’s standards, and laws exist now that establish strict standards for publicly maintained roadways.

A group of homeowners who live on these types of streets has formed the Non-Dedicated Roads Coalition in an effort to get the county and townships to take over maintenance of these roads.

We support their efforts, but realize solutions might need to come from the state capital since it involves state standards for publicly maintained roads.

McHenry County’s representatives in the General Assembly should take on this issue. After the current session is over and meaningful pension reform is passed (we hope), we urge our state representatives and senators to work with county and township officials on finding a solution to this problem.

As we’ve said, these homeowners deserve to see a return on their tax investment.

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