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Sen. Link: Bill that could allow McHenry County township consolidation has merits

Vernon Hills leader believes residents should have the power to decide

A proposed bill that could give voters the power to consolidate McHenry County townships could go before the state Senate for a vote in November, said state Sen. Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Republican sponsoring the legislation.

In response to a letter former state Sen. Pamela Althoff wrote to Senate colleagues last week denouncing House Bill 4637, Link said he fully supports the legislation.

“They presented the same letter to me a couple months ago,” Link said. “I’m looking at all of this. I’ll decide in the veto session. The bill has a lot of merits. I don’t want to diminish that it has a lot of merits.”

A proponent of consolidation as a means to collapse redundant forms of government collecting taxes from Illinois residents, Link said voters should have the power to decide whether townships should stay or go.

“I’ve been a leader on that aspect of that for a long, long time,” Link said. “If we could get rid of some forms of government that aren’t being used in a positive manner, we should do it. Nobody wants to give up their little kingdoms. That’s one reason we have such high property taxes.”

Illinois House representatives approved a draft of the bill from the desk of state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, by an 80-22 margin in April.

Before Althoff vacated her 32nd Senate District seat to run for a District 4 seat on the McHenry County Board, she contended in a Sept. 26 letter that the legislation is “poorly drafted” and could cause “confusion and financial hardship.”

If approved by Gov. Bruce Rauner, officials in McHenry County’s 17 townships would be able to put a binding referendum to voters asking whether the township should be eliminated and consolidated under the umbrella of county government.

“I do ask each of you, however, to ensure that McHenry County members – stakeholders – have [the] opportunity to weigh in on this very targeted and underserved legislative proposal,” Althoff wrote.

Link said he may call the bill for a vote when the Senate reconvenes for a veto session Nov. 13.

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