WOODSTOCK – State Rep. Steve Reick has released the results of an online survey asking constituents whether a study that proves a cost savings should be required before township officials put a referendum to voters asking whether road districts should be consolidated.
The survey, published on the Woodstock Republican’s website from Jan. 23 to Feb. 19, received 114 responses.
The results showed 91 percent of respondents said there should be a cost study.
“For whatever reason, some elected officials don’t think people deserve this added layer of transparency,” Reick said in a statement. “They don’t think it’s important to ensure there would be no unforeseen negative consequences to the consolidation.”
McHenry Township officials voted Feb. 13 to put a referendum to voters in November asking whether the road district should be eliminated.
At a special meeting, Trustees Mike Rakestraw, Bob Anderson and Bill Cunningham voted in favor of the measure, while Trustee Stan Wojewski and Supervisor Craig Adams voted against it. The 3-2 vote in favor of the measure came one month after the same board voted down the referendum. Rakestraw previously had voted “no.”
A debate leading up to the vote featured two arguments about consolidation. Proponents fought to let the voters decide, while opponents contended that there should be an independent cost study conducted to prove whether consolidation would save taxpayers money.
To Reick, the answer should come down to dollars and cents.
“I support consolidation when a case is made that taxes will be reduced,” Reick said. “I’m first in line to say ‘yes, consolidate’ when taxpayers savings can be achieved. But we’re missing an important layer of transparency. The consequences of the consolidation, financial and otherwise, need to be known ahead of time and not after the fact.”
In January, Reick filed HB4190 – legislation that would amend the Illinois Highway Code and require townships to hire an independent contractor to conduct a cost study to determine whether abolishing a road district would be cost-effective.
On Feb. 13, the state’s consolidation committee in Springfield kicked the bill to subcommittee, a legislative move that keeps the proposed law off Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk.