McHenry County residents are one step closer to scaling back local government now that State Rep. David McSweeney’s (R-Barrington Hills) legislation to make it easier for voters in McHenry County to eliminate townships has passed both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.
House Bill 4637 applies only to the 17 townships in McHenry County and provides a referendum process for voters to dissolve the townships. Voters may submit a petition with signatures equalling at least 5 percent of the number of voters in a previous comparable election. Additionally, the trustees of any township in McHenry County may submit a resolution calling for a referendum on the dissolution the township. In both cases, if a simple majority of voters agree to abolish a township, the township would be dissolved at least 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.
“The key to lowering property taxes is eliminating any redundant layers of government that exist among the nearly 7,000 taxing bodies functioning in Illinois,” McSweeney said. “Taxpayers should have more tools at their disposal to make determinations about how to scale back government bodies and bring down costs."
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. The effective date of the legislation is June 1, 2019.
HB 4637 was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Terry Link (D-Gurnee) and passed the Senate on a vote of 33-16. It previously passed the House on a vote of 80-22 in April and passed the House again on a concurrence vote of 78-23. The legislation will be sent to the Governor.