McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks sent a letter to Algonquin Township officials on Thursday calling for a referendum on the elimination of the township to be added to the Nov. 3 ballot.
According to the letter, the next meeting of the township's board of trustees falls just five days before the Aug. 17 deadline for local governmental entities to add referenda to the November ballot.
“I firmly believe that taxpayers should have the ultimate say to choose how they are governed – or in the case of township government, whether it is still needed in the 21st century,” Franks said in a news release sent out Thursday.
In response, Algonquin Township Supervisor Charles Lutzow said Franks could have taken it upon himself to petition to get a referendum on the November ballot if he felt strongly about it.
"He had months to get this on the ballot, all you have to do is get some signatures," Lutzow said Thursday, remarking that the request seemed a bit last-minute.
Toward the end of last year, Algonquin Township trustees had a discussion about adding a referendum on the dissolution of the township to the March primary election and there was not much support for it, Lutzow added. He said he doubts that has changed since then, but that trustees can bring the topic forward for further discussion if they so choose.
In the March election, voters from McHenry and Nunda townships opted to keep their townships in place. Now, Franks said the Algonquin Township Board owes it to their constituents to give them a chance to make their voices heard with a similar referendum.
“Taxpayers and businesses for years have been fleeing to tax-friendlier states that have far fewer units of local government," he said in the release. "And now, with McHenry County and the nation reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Algonquin Township Board owes it to its constituents to ask them whether it should continue as a taxing body.”
Algonquin Township spans across Cary and Algonquin as well as parts of Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills and Fox River Grove. The next meeting of the township board is set for 7 p.m. Aug. 12.
“In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic, McHenry County unemployment has soared to more than 13 percent," Franks said in the release. "Many people who are still working have had their hours and pay reduced, and many local businesses are barely hanging on."
Franks said applying pressure to Algonquin Township officials is another step in honoring his promise to examine the efficiency and necessity of local taxing bodies in order to reduce the burden on McHenry County taxpayers.
"Voters in Algonquin Township – the vast majority of which is incorporated into municipalities – deserve in these difficult times to decide whether they wish to continue paying into three levels of local government,” Franks said in the release.