Angered residents confronted the McHenry Township Board of Trustees at its regular Thursday night meeting.
The board voted to eliminate the township bus service at a June special meeting. The service provides transportation to township residents who either have disabilities or are senior citizens. The vote has led to protest around the area, and residents spoke out again Thursday.
“It’s obvious you have sparked a giant here,” said McHenry resident John Macrito. “We should probably look into setting up a committee. ... If you set up a committee, there might be other ways to move people to work, to the hospital or to doctors appointments. I ask that you suspend your decision until you set up committee and look at it wisely.”
Trustee Steve Verr responded to the criticism toward the end of the meeting. He maintained his position that the service was unnecessary. At least a dozen residents stood and turned their backs on him as he spoke.
“You all have turned your backs on the seniors and disabled in this town,” said Wonder Lake resident Mike Tauler. “That is why I turned my back on you.”
Verr refused to look at public commentators who spoke after the small protest.
The board was set to consider a tax incentive request from McHenry-based Jessup Manufacturing, which sparked ire in some.
“This board has managed to give the township a very bad reputation,” said Ringwood resident Marti Swanson. “I would like to suggest that instead of giving out tax incentives we use the tax money this new [addition] would generate to reinstate the bus service. Something needs to happen to put the service back.”
Jessup is planning a $6.3 million expansion to its McHenry facility, located at 2815 W. Route 120. The company is requesting that taxing bodies in the area abate any new taxes the addition will incur for five years.
The company in 2018 paid $74,828 in property taxes, which included $797 to McHenry Township and $1,686 to the McHenry Township Road District. The new addition is projected to increase the company’s property taxes by $117,558, which could include $1,252 to the township and $2,648 to the road district, according to city of McHenry documents.
The board ultimately tabled the vote on whether to enter into the incentive agreement. The item is expected to be back on the agenda at the township’s next meeting.