Rep. David McSweeney's township bill passes Illinois House, 80-22

April 18, 2018


A proposed bill sponsored by State Rep. David McSweeney that could give township boards in McHenry County the power to put a consolidation referendum on an election ballot with a majority vote has passed the Illinois House.

House representatives approved House Bill 4637 by an 80-22 margin. The measure now will go to the Illinois Senate. If approved there, McSweeney’s bill will go to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“This is a major victory for the taxpayers,” McSweeney said. 

The Barrington Hills Republican said HB 4637 would make the path to consolidation easier.

HB 4637 is an amended version of HB 4244, co-sponsored by state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake – the state representative who chairs the consolidation committee in Springfield – and state Rep. Allen Skillicorn, R-East Dundee.

The new bill adds three provisions. One gives township boards the power to put a referendum on the ballot with a majority vote.

Another includes a built-in 10 percent reduction in property taxes on both the township and road district.

That means if voters choose to eliminate the township at the polls, the property tax levies of the township and road district would transfer to McHenry County officials at 
90 percent.

The third provision would eliminate the road district of any township responsible for fewer than 15 road miles.

McHenry Township officials voted in February to put a referendum to voters in November asking whether the road district should be eliminated.

HB 4637 would allow voters to force a referendum onto an election ballot with a petition signed by 5 percent of voters from a previous comparable election.

If 5,000 people voted in Algonquin Township in the last election, a petition carrying 250 signatures would put a question on the ballot asking voters whether they want to eliminate the township.

If 50 percent of voters support elimination at the polls, the township would be dissolved within 90 days.

All property, personnel, contractual obligations and liabilities inside the township then would transfer to McHenry County.

A provision in the bill allows municipalities to make bids to assume the responsibilities of the dissolving township.

If no municipality makes an offer, those powers and duties are retained by the county.

On the House floor, Skillicorn voted “yes” to the measure, while state Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock, voted “no.”

State Rep. Barbara Wheeler and state Rep. Steve Anderson did not vote. 

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