McHenry Township board to hold special meeting over consolidation

Trustee hopes to get consolidation referendum on 2020 election ballot

McHenry Township board Trustees Mike Rakestraw and Bob Anderson talk in support of discontinuing the senior and disabled bus program on June 18 in Johnsburg.
McHenry Township board Trustees Mike Rakestraw and Bob Anderson talk in support of discontinuing the senior and disabled bus program on June 18 in Johnsburg.

The McHenry Township Board of Trustees will be holding a special meeting Wednesday to discuss and possibly take action on a new law that could allow voters to dissolve all 17 townships in McHenry County.

The meeting comes less than a week after Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 348 into law.

Under the law, voters may submit a petition of signatures – with at least 250 signatures or the signatures of 5% of the number of voters in a previous comparable election – requesting a referendum to dissolve their township.

However, township trustees also can pass a resolution to put a consolidation referendum on the ballot.

McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson said he and trustee Steve Verr called for the special meeting, and he plans to call for a vote to get a resolution on the ballot for next year’s presidential election.

“My hope is that we’re not the only township to do this, particularly in the higher populated townships,” Anderson said. “We want to just get started. It’s a great law, and it’s a long time coming.”

Anderson – a staunch proponent of consolidation who chairs the grassroots group Citizens for Consolidation – has been at the helm of multiple consolidation efforts over the years.

Most recently, Anderson tried to garner support for a referendum last year to abolish McHenry Township’s road district, which was defeated in an overwhelming fashion with more than 68% of voters casting a “no” vote.

In 1994, Anderson spearheaded a referendum to eliminate the county’s townships the only way state law allowed – by switching from a county board to a three-member panel of county commissioners.

By a 3-1 margin, voters defeated Anderson’s referendum to abolish townships in the November 1994 election.

“I’m very serious about [consolidation], and I hope we can get it started elsewhere in the county,” Anderson said.

Following the bill’s passage, McHenry Township Supervisor Craig Adams had said he was anticipating trustees bringing forth a consolidation resolution as soon as possible. However, Adams said he believes any proposal asking for consolidation would be soundly defeated.

Under the new law, any assets or liabilities of the dissolved township would be transferred to McHenry County. Any funds of the dissolved township are to be used solely for residents of the geographic area the township composed.

Any taxes levied by the county for the township’s area cannot exceed 90% of the taxes levied by the former township government.

The special meeting will be at
6 p.m. at the McHenry Township Town Hall, 3703 N. Richmond Road.

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