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HomeIllinois NewsMcHenry County township consolidation bill likely to reach governor's desk

McHenry County township consolidation bill likely to reach governor’s desk




SPRINGFIELD – A bill sponsored by Republican State Rep. David McSweeney and Democrat Senator Terry Link that would provide new ways to eliminate townships in McHenry County passed another legislative hurdle last week.

“Illinois has more units of local government than any other state and multiple layers of government drive up the state's property taxes,” McSweeney said. “Our voters should have the opportunity to do something to scale back government and bring down costs." ‎

House Bill 4637 voter consolidation provisions apply only to townships in McHenry County and provides a referendum process for voters to dissolve the townships. It allows voters to force a ballot question to abolish a township as long as voters submit a petition with at least 5 percent of the number of voters who voted in a previous comparable election.

Additionally, the trustees of any township in McHenry County may submit a proposition to dissolve the township to the voters. In both cases, if a simple majority of voters agree to abolish a township, the township would be dissolved within 90 days after the election. The duties and assets of the township government would then be absorbed by McHenry County or municipal governments. Residents of the dissolved township would see a property tax cut as any taxes levied by the County for that area could not exceed more than 90% of the taxes levied by the former township government. ‎

HB 4637 further works to eliminate excessive government by requiring townships in Lake and McHenry Counties to dissolve any road districts that maintain less than 15 miles.

"Taxpayers shouldn’t be burdened with paying for redundant or unnecessary layers of government and deserve an avenue to address their concerns with township government," McSweeney continued. “Ultimately if we want to lower property taxes in Illinois we have to give voters the ability to eliminate some of the layers of local government.”‎

HB 4637 passed the full House on a vote of 80-22. It now heads to the Senate where it will be sponsored by Senator Terry Link (D-Gurnee).‎
That McSweeney- Link connection is important, said McHenry County blogger Cal Skinner.

"I would point out that a member of the Senate Democratic Party Leadership, Terry Link, is Senate sponsor of McSweeney’s bill," McSweeney said. "That means it will pass, leaving only Governor Bruce Rauner’s signature before it becomes law."

Skinner – a former state representative himself – asked why is Senator Link involved. 

Sknner listed "two reasons why the bill may be moving ahead: 

  • Townships are often the farm team for Republican candidates
  • Democrat Jack Franks would play a dominant role in the duties of abolished township governments into McHenry County government

"Rauner has made a big deal about consolidation, of the lack of necessity for the tremendous number of local governments. so a bill signing is expected," Skinner wrote on his popular blog. 

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  1. Townships are 2% of the property tax bill, and this bill gives almost all of it to McHenry County, so tax bills won’t go doen noticably. Thanks for revealing this bill’s true purpose: undermining Republican values in a Republican area, as millionaire RINO Dave McSweeney funnels tax revenue out of local communities to his Democratic crony Jack Franks, McHenry County Chairman. Who needs local control when you can bloat up Big Government instead..?

  2. Township government in North Eastern Illinois is an anachronism and as no place in modern governance.
    For starters, the election of township officials is far removed from the will of the people as a result of a small set of Committeemen insider slating, in party caucus, who will be put on the ballot.
    There is no transparency or access as these caucus, these caucuses are closed to the public.
    Township government,in particularly in Suburban Dupage County should be disbanded.

  3. It is strange. On my voter ID card there are lots and lots of special ‘districts’ but just one township. It’s weird as heck that the township is the problem and not a dozen and a half different taxing districts.

  4. I usually appreciate Rep. McSweeney’s fiscally conservative motives, but in this case, he’s proving to make a poor choice here. As others have pointed out, it will gut the GOP “Farm Team” for years to come and consolidate power in the hands of Jack Franks. Same thing for those township abolishinsts in Cook County. You really want to give Taxwinkle more control over local decisions?
    Unfortunately, this may also be a CYA action by McSweeney – when he ran for Congress and State Representative, he certainly had no problem soliciting and trumpeting the endorsements of township officials like Bob Miller.

  5. Almost literally all the progressives are here and the Republicans here, well a lot of them anyway, are RINO. Very few of them are even successfully primaried, although where they are and there ARE a few counties here where that’s happened, some improvements have been made. But then a progressive gets elected and that’s all wasted. Wait to see what this state looks like NEXT year. If you think the progressives are out of touch right now, wait until after the loser and a bunch of other RINOs lose this fall.

  6. I once proposed a formula for this: if 90 percent of a township has become parts of incorporated cities, towns or villages, it’s time to dissolve the township government, and to annex those areas into their respective incorporated municipalities.

  7. An association named “Township Officials of Illinois” exists to protect the jobs of township officers and trustees, including ones who do little or nothing but hold these offices just to collect salaries from the taxpayers.
    You can EXPECT that organization to fight HB4637, and any other bill to consolidate or eliminate ANY township government in this state.

  8. Here’s something I lifted from NW Herald:
    “Dear David McSweeney: WHY aren’t you doing something about THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS? Education is SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT to SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT of our property tax bills, depending on location. The Townships are TWO PERCENT.
    Why are you crowing about “saving” one-tenth of two-percent off our tax bills Dear David McSweeney: WHY aren’t you doing something about THE SCHOOL DISTRICTS? Education is SIXTY-FIVE PERCENT to SEVENTY-FOUR PERCENT of our property tax bills, depending on location. The Townships are TWO PERCENT.
    Why are you crowing about “saving” one-tenth of two-percent off our tax bills FOR ONE YEAR ONLY? Got some personal agenda going on that you’re not telling us about..?? Got some personal agenda going on that you’re not telling us about..?”

  9. And:
    “This ‘savings’ is for the FIRST YEAR ONLY; since the County gets the Townships’ tax levy forever, the County will be legally entitled to RAISE it by the rate of inflation each year IN ADDITION to the County’s own tax levy. So even the miniscule ‘savings’ that David McSweeney is lying about will be ERASED by the second year.
    Isn’t it nice to know you have a State Rep. who thinks you’re too dumb to do the math?”