Algonquin Township board to reopen road district referendum discussion

Agenda includes talk of putting consolidation question on the ballot

The Algonquin Township board soon will reopen discussion about giving voters a chance to eliminate the road district at the polls.

Trustee Rachael Lawrence has requested that “discussion and action regarding proposed Algonquin Township road district ballot initiative/referendum” be placed on the agenda for the board’s March 13 meeting.

That referendum would be tied to a law that went into effect last year – a statute that gives residents the power to abolish the highway department with a majority vote and transfer road responsibilities to the township.

The statue gives townships the ability to place a question on the ballot to let voters decide: “Shall the Road District of the Township of Algonquin be abolished with all the rights, powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations and responsibilities being assumed by the Township of Algonquin?”

On July 11, Lawrence brought forward the same resolution. Met with silence from the rest of the board, her motion – and the referendum – died.

Efforts to eliminate townships and road districts have intensified in recent years. Voters and homeowners tired of high property taxes and the state’s worsening economic climate have been looking to cut anything from anywhere they can.

Officials in McHenry Township voted to put the fate of the highway department to voters in November. Voters rejected the referendum in an overwhelming fashion. More than
68 percent of them voted "no."

“Passing this resolution will allow Algonquin Township voters to decide for themselves how they want to be governed,” Lawrence said in a statement. “Once the resolution is passed, the political mouthpieces will undoubtedly share their opinions for or against a one-person road district versus the oversight of a five-person board – but this is not the time. First, we must all acknowledge that it is in the best interest of our constituents to exercise their freedom and control over their own governance by allowing their voices and votes to be heard.”

Set for 7 p.m. March 13 at the township offices, 3702 Route 14, Crystal Lake, the board meeting will include a public comment portion to allow residents time to address the board.