JOHNSBURG – McHenry Township officials will hold a special meeting next week to vote on putting a referendum to voters asking whether the road district should be eliminated.
Trustees Mike Rakestraw and Bob Anderson agreed to call a special meeting at
6 p.m. Tuesday to vote on the matter as soon as possible.
The move frustrated township officials such as Highway Commissioner James Condon, who pressed trustees with a simple question – what’s the rush?
“Would you like to tell the constituents what the rush is?” Condon said, asking the trustees to explain why they want to push forward a referendum that wouldn’t appear before voters until November.
Condon did not get an answer.
Anderson, a Wonder Lake barber who has fought to abolish township government for the past three decades, and Rakestraw, a freshman trustee who voted down the referendum at a January meeting and changed his mind a week later, would not comment in detail about why they want to expedite a vote on the measure.
Anderson told the Northwest Herald he is confident the referendum will move forward.
“We have more support now than ever,” Anderson said.
The special meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday at 3703 N. Richmond Road, Johnsburg. McHenry Township trustees voted down the referendum Jan. 11.
The debate leading up to the 3-2 vote featured two arguments about consolidation. Proponents fought to let the voters decide, while opponents contended there should be an independent cost study conducted to prove whether consolidation actually would save taxpayers money.
A pair of Republican Party insiders paid McHenry Township officials a visit at Thursday night’s meeting to berate them for not pushing forward a referendum asking voters whether the road district should be abolished.
McHenry County Republican Party Chairwoman Sandra Salgado took the podium during the public comment section and told officials she wished a vote on the matter would have made it onto the night’s agenda.
“I’m disappointed that it was not tonight,” Salgado said.
Township trustees expected to vote on the matter but could not because of a last-minute agenda mix-up.
“I trust in this leadership that there will be a vote next month on this,” Salgado said.
Salgado said the elimination of the road district should be up to the people who show up to the polls in November.
“We get to decide what the government looks like,” Salgado said. “What the government looks like is the people’s choice. Always has been, always will be.”
Steven Verr took to the podium next. An attorney by trade, Verr is the head of the Republican Party in McHenry Township, as well as a weathered politician with a long track record in McHenry County.
“People are being taxed out of our homes,” Verr said. “This is the one means people can say, ‘Enough.’ ”
In March 1998, Verr was involved in one of the closest and most fervent races ever recorded in McHenry County. Mike Brown defeated Verr by a few hundred votes to represent Republicans in the 63rd District general election against Jack Franks, who now is the McHenry County Board chairman. Most recently, Verr lost a bid for McHenry Township supervisor against Craig Adams, who is a staunch opponent of consolidation.
Verr scolded the board for voting down a measure that would give voters the power to eliminate the road district at the polls under a new state law.
“All this stuff about, ‘We can’t let the people decide,’ ” Verr said. “It’s hogwash. Let the people decide.”