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Algonquin Township officials continue to debate consolidation referendum

Trustees trade arguments about giving voters a choice to consolidate

Algonquin Township officials entered another heated debate Wednesday night over a question that has been the center of recent political controversy in McHenry County: Should taxpayers get a chance to vote on a referendum question with the power to dissolve the highway department?

Trustee Rachael Lawrence started the discussion with results from an “informal” poll she said conducted with responses from about 170 people. The results, she said, showed 92 percent – the “overwhelming majority” – simply want a chance to vote “yes” or “no.”

The Illinois Legislature and
Gov. Bruce Rauner created a pathway that gives McHenry County taxpayers the power to dissolve a road district with a majority vote at polls. House
Bill 607 became law in January.

“Who are we to say that they are wrong?” Lawrence said.

Taxpayers should not be denied the right to have a say in how they are governed, she said.

At the board’s July meeting, Lawrence motioned to read aloud and adopt a resolution to push forward the referendum to the November ballot. Met with silence from the rest of the board, her motion died.

Trustee Dan Shea was the board’s most outspoken critic against putting the referendum to voters.

“What we’re talking about here is we want to have the people have the right to choose to no longer have the right to choose,” Shea said. “Does that sound sensible?”

Shea said the source of turmoil inside the Algonquin Township Highway Department is a “person” or “persons” – not the form of government itself.

“If you have a business, and the person at the cash register continually cannot make change, you don’t get rid of the cash register,” Shea said. “You get rid of the person.”

A full video of the meeting is available on the clerk’s YouTube page.

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