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Algonquin Township to consider placing township elimination question on ballot

If approved, measure would become effective in 2037

The Algonquin Township board meets Aug. 8, 2018, in Crystal Lake.
The Algonquin Township board meets Aug. 8, 2018, in Crystal Lake.

The Algonquin Township Board plans to vote on placing a referendum to dissolve the township and its road district in 2037 on an upcoming ballot.

If approved, the question would be put to voters during the March 17 primary election. The referendum that would appear on the ballot would ask whether the township and road district should be dissolved as of May 18, 2037, with its property, assets, personnel, obligations and liabilities transferred to McHenry County.

“Any genuine attempt to empower voters with regard to this issue should not be postdated nearly two decades into the future,” Algonquin Township Trustee Rachael Lawrence said. “When I vote to create a ballot initiative, it will be for a realistic date for people to see the fruits of their democracy. This is a political stunt to manipulate and inhibit the fundamental tenet of self-governance.”

Nunda Township officials voted to put a similar question on the March primary ballot, asking voters whether the township and its road district should be abolished in 2037.

A bill introduced by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, that was signed into law in August gives McHenry County voters the option to dissolve all 17 county townships via referendum.

The new law allows voters to 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. Trustees of any township also have the option to pass a resolution calling for a referendum asking whether the township should be dissolved.

If a referendum passes, a township may be dissolved as soon as 90 days after the election. If the referendum fails, a new proposal could not be introduced for 23 months.

A petition already has been submitted by the residents of McHenry Township, who gathered almost 1,000 signatures on petitions to put the question of dissolving their township on the March primary election ballot.

McSweeney has said that a referendum with an earlier elimination date could be put forth even if voters approve the question asking whether the township should be abolished in 2037.

“Township tax eaters are focused on keeping their political patronage, nepotism and wasteful spending,” McSweeney said Saturday. “They can run, but they can’t hide from taxpayers.”

The resolutions are coming, as the road districts of McHenry and Nunda townships are in the process of suing McHenry County to challenge the constitutionality of the law.

Algonquin Township officials will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the township offices, 3702 Route 14, Crystal Lake.

• Northwest Herald editor Jon Styf contributed to this report.

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