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Senate floor next hurdle for McSweeney’s proposed township consolidation measure

House Bill 4637 passes executive committee, 11-6

State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, speaks to lawmakers Nov. 30, 2016, at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.
State Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, speaks to lawmakers Nov. 30, 2016, at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.

A proposed bill that could give McHenry County residents the power to abolish townships with a majority vote at the polls cleared another hurdle this week in Springfield to make it to the Senate floor.

After a second reading Tuesday, House Bill 4637 passed the Senate Executive Committee, 11-6. Now in the hands of sponsor state Sen. Terry Link, D-Vernon Hills, the bill has advanced to the floor.

House co-sponsor state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, said Link could call the bill on the floor for a vote as early as the week after Thanksgiving.

“I feel very good about where things stand,” McSweeney said. “And I think we’re going to pass it.”

McSweeney co-sponsored the bill with state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, and state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee. House representatives approved HB 4637 by an 80-22 margin. If approved on the Senate floor, the bill will go to the governor.

The law would give officials in McHenry County’s 17 townships the ability to put a binding referendum to voters asking whether the township should be eliminated and consolidated under the umbrella of county government.

Another provision includes a built-in 10 percent reduction in property taxes on both the township and road district. That means if voters choose to eliminate the township at the polls, the property tax levies of the township and road district would transfer to McHenry County officials at 90 percent.

HB 4637 also would allow voters to force a referendum onto an election ballot with a petition signed by 5 percent of voters from a previous comparable election.

If 5,000 people voted in Algonquin Township in the last election, a petition carrying 250 signatures would put a question on the ballot asking voters whether they want to eliminate the township.

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