McHenry trustee has his road map and is ready to drive toward consolidation
A first-term McHenry Township trustee expects to see his vow of streamlining government take a small step toward reality at an upcoming board meeting when he calls for a consolidation referendum.
Bob Anderson told the McHenry Times that he has a motion prepared for the next board meeting.
"I move that McHenry Township conduct a referendum for the Nov. 6, 2018, General Election that would enable voters to consolidate the McHenry Township Road District into McHenry Township," he said the motion reads. "I expect it to pass."
Consolidating McHenry Township Road District into McHenry Township is one of the items on the agenda for the Thursday, Nov. 9, meeting at the Township Hall, 3703 N. Richmond Road in Johnsburg. Other topics are expected to include rescinding taxpayer-funded dues to township officials of Illinois and setting township elected officials' salary for 2021.
The McHenry Township consolidation consideration is being prompted by passage earlier this year of Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 607, which allow trustees of any Illinois township in a county with a population of less than 3 million to abolish its road district. The bills passed the General Assembly in May and were approved by the Gov. Bruce Rauner on Aug. 14.
"People are fleeing our state in droves," Gov. Rauner said in a press release when he signed the bills. "Our property taxes are crushing the people of Illinois, and we've got to start making reforms so people can afford to stay here."
The two bills aren't perfect, Rauner said in the release.
"Part of reforming and turning around Illinois includes empowering local communities," he said. "By signing these bills, local governments will be able to control their futures and tax dollars more efficiently. However, a key component to empowering local communities is missing from these bills. Neither one includes real taxpayer empowerment. While today is a step in the right direction, we must continue to fight to give every resident the right to choose how their local government operates."
Both bills will take effect on Jan. 1.
Whatever their shortcomings, the bills seem tailor-made for Anderson's election promises. Anderson won his township trustee seat in the April 4 election by running on a platform of eliminating or consolidating the township. He was among Republicans and independents who split the McHenry Township election vote.
Shortly after his election, Anderson, the longtime owner of a Wonder Lake barbershop, reportedly began to receive threats and endured harassment, including nails scattered across his business' parking lot and "Abolish Bob Anderson" signs posted around town.
Such attacks indicate that his goals of streamlining government has some people running scared, Anderson told a Chicago-based radio talk show host.
"I don't think the townships are any different from all the school districts, all the library districts, all the fire districts we have," he said in the interview. "Every one of these governments are a fiefdom."
During his McHenry Times interview, Anderson said a move toward consolidation is a move toward tax relief.
"There will be no tax relief in Illinois if we do not move forward to reduce the size and cost of Illinois' 7,000 units of local government, which is 2,000 more than any other state," he said. "My position is to consolidate or eliminate the states' 1,433 township governments."