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Consolidation of township road districts could be the future in Naperville


Above / When you plan to observe court proceedings, remember no cameras or camera phones are allowed inside the DuPage County Courthouse, located at 505 N. County Farm Road in Wheaton.

UPDATE Jan. 9, 2017 / Following a court hearing in DuPage Circuit Judge Bonnie Wheaton’s court, a proposal to consolidate the Naperville and Lisle road districts will go forward and appear on the ballot for the Consolidated Election on April 4, 2017.  Voters will be asked, “Shall the Naperville Township Road District and the Lisle Township Road District of DuPage County, Illinois, be consolidated into one consolidated Township Road District?”

“I believe this is a huge win for everyone, the taxpayers most of all,” said City Councilman Kevin Coyne. “The savings resulting from the debated IGA proposal will now be locked in permanently. Unnecessary government, and the expense that comes with it, will be permanently reduced. This consolidation will allow for these savings to be realized while leaving the performance of the applicable highway services at the township level.”

Coyne continued, “Senator Mike Connelly should be acknowledged. His office found the legal mechanism to achieve today’s result. Senator Connelly also played a large role in bringing all the parties together. Both Highway Commissioners, Stan Watasiak and Ed Young, should also be applauded for their many years of excellent performance and for keeping the taxpayers interests in the forefront through their support of this measure.”

Original Post Dec. 15, 2017 / Today in DuPage Circuit Judge Bonnie Wheaton’s court, attorney Keri-Lyn Krafthefer approached the bench in the spirit of the season to present a petition to place a referendum on the ballot for voters of Naperville Township and Lisle Township in the April 4, 2017, election.

The aim is to form a consolidated Township Road District pursuant to Illinois Highway Code 605 ILCS 5/6-108.

Standing before Judge Wheaton with Naperville Township Commissioner Rachel Ossyra and Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne, primary proponents of the petition, Krafthefer updated Judge Wheaton regarding the positive progress on the path toward efficiency and consolidation of the two adjacent township road districts.

They presented Judge Wheaton with 220 signatures on petitions that could get the consolidation question on the April ballot. According to state statute, only 50 signatures from each township are required by law.

Above / Roads throughout beautiful Green Acres are among 14.8 center-line miles of roads (according to IDOT) served by the Naperville Township Highway District.

Results of nonbinding referendum encourages permanent resolution

For the past year, the City of Naperville and Naperville Township officials have been meeting to find a way to save taxpayers’ money via consolidation of services for the Highway District. Sometimes adversarial and replete with legal judgments, finding common ground and moving forward appeared to be quite a distance down the rocky road.

During the 2016 General Election on Nov. 8, residents were asked to vote on a nonbinding referendum regarding combining roadway services in order to reduce real estate burdens on Naperville Township taxpayers, a question that received nearly 90 percent support.

Subsequently, the highway commissioners in Naperville and Lisle townships have come together to develop a merger plan to be mutually beneficial over time as well as more equitable and fair to residents in the two adjacent townships.

With that support in hand, Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico, DuPage County Board member and former Naperville Township trustee Janice Anderson, Aurora Alderman Rick Mervine, State Rep. Grant Wehrli (41st District) and State Sen. Michael Connelly (21st District) and other local supporters passed petitions for signatures for binding consolidation.

Question may be on April 4, 2017, ballot

On the next ballot for the Consolidated Election on April 4, 2017, proponents hope to ask voters, “Shall the Naperville Township Road District and the Lisle Township Road District of DuPage County, Illinois, be consolidated into one consolidated Township Road District?”

“I couldn’t be more excited about this initiative,” said Councilman Coyne who resides in Lisle Township. “Through this highway consolidation, the size of government will be reduced and taxes will be lowered. Elected township officials will continue to provide their outstanding service to our unincorporated residents. I believe this consolidation is a huge win for everyone involved. I thank both our Lisle and Naperville Township Highway Commissioners for their leadership and for their support of this referenda proposal.”

“I’m absolutely delighted that the city and township officials and our state legislators have been able to come together to put together this petition… in the best interest of our taxpayers and all residents,” said Supervisor Ossyra.  “And I want to particularly acknowledge State Senator Mike Connelly for leading the effort.”

A hearing on the petition has been set for 9AM on Mon., Jan. 9, 2017, at the DuPage County Courthouse, Courtroom 2007, in Wheaton. Following a decision resulting from any potential objections, the clerk of the circuit court will certify the question for a “yes” or “no” answer for the April 4, 2017, ballot.

From the Illinois Compiled Statues regarding consolidation

(605 ILCS 5/6-108) (from Ch. 121, par. 6-108)

Sec. 6-108. Any two or more townships in any county under township organization may be consolidated into a consolidated township road district for all purposes relating to the construction, repair, maintenance and supervision of roads in the manner hereinafter provided.

A petition shall be filed with the circuit court for the county, signed by at least 50 or 5% of the legal voters, whichever is fewer, of each of the townships involved, requesting the court to order a referendum in such townships, naming them, for the purpose of voting for or against the proposition to consolidate such townships into a single road district for all road purposes.

Upon the filing of such petition, the court shall consider the petition and enter appropriate orders in accordance with the general election law. If the court orders a referendum on such proposition to be held, it shall be held at a regular election in such townships. Such referendum shall be conducted and notice given in accordance with the general election law of the State.

(Source: P.A. 81-1489.)

For complete info about the Roads and Bridges (605 ILCS 5/) Illinois Highway Code, visit www.ilga.gov.

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