McHenry trustee wants to end township from the inside
Bob Anderson’s one-man taxpayer revolt turned into 20 years of activism against rising property tax rates and an abundance of township governments in Illinois.
It also landed him a seat on the McHenry Township Board in the April election.
Anderson shared his vision for local and state government Friday on Chicago’s "The Morning Answer" on WIND-AM 560.
Years ago, as a resident of Woodstock, Anderson protested his tax bill by paying with $1 bills. He's lived in Wonder Lake since 1947 and has seen property taxes rise year after year. When he received a $10,000 property tax bill, he knew something had to be done.
“After being an activist for all those years, I got a lot of attention," he said. "I got things on the ballot, but I realized if you really want to get something done, you need to get elected to that position."
Anderson’s platform focused on reducing the size and cost of McHenry Township.
“I’ve been very outspoken for years about abolishing townships," he said. "I don’t think you need them. Maybe some of them have to be consolidated, but certainly we do not need 1,432 townships."
Anderson believes many county services are not essential and drive up township costs. He cited senior bus rides as an example, calling that kind of service addictive.
“Everyone in our country, everyone in this township, once they get a government service it becomes entitlement, and they’ll fight tooth and nail for that,” Anderson said.
Anderson sees McHenry Township's 17 assessors as more wasteful spending. The town road district is being sued over budget issues, and when Anderson learned it had a fund balance of more than $3.5 million, he lost it.
“I went ballistic when I looked up some of the numbers," he said. "They have over $2,200,000 in discretionary spending. Those are the things that we have to go after. Right away."
Radio host Dan Proft noted that township leaders often blame property taxes on school districts.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
“School districts need to be consolidated," Anderson said. "We have too many fire districts. We have too many everything."
Anderson has received push back from community members who oppose his views. He owns a barbershop, and someone recently scattered nails all over the parking lot of his business, according to the Northwest Herald.
Anderson said the nail incident will not stop him from pushing his agenda.
Five other people who share views similar to Anderson were also elected to office in McHenry Township, but due to certain state laws, it might be difficult for them to consolidate or abolish their local government.
Trustees can’t vote to abolish their own government, according to the Northwest Herald, but Anderson believes he can use his new position as trustee to share his message with a broader audience and make cuts where he can.
“I want to take this message from the McHenry Township Board to Springfield, and I want my state senator to lead the way,” Anderson said.
Organizations in this Story
3703 N. Richmond Road
Johnsburg, IL 60051
4317 W SHAMROCK LN
MCHENRY, IL 60050
3703 North Richmond Road
Johnsburg, IL 60051