Palatine Township Rejects Voter Initiative

The Palatine Township Board has refused to allow voters at the April 16th annual meeting to consider asking the Board to study the benefits of eliminating the township's Road District.  In a March 19th email, Township Clerk Lisa Moran stated that the petition by 30 voters to include the item on the annual meeting agenda was denied based on advice from the Board's attorney. "The electors at an Annual Town Meeting cannot direct the Township Board to commission a study and make findings, as it is not a power granted to electors under the Township Code," said Moran.

Matt Flamm, one of the voters who had requested the agenda item, replied to Moran. "The agenda item we requested would not 'direct' the Township Board to do anything," said Flamm in an April 3rd email to Moran. "By its plain language, it would 'request' that the Board commission a study and make the results available to the citizens of the Township. It is certainly within the power of the citizens to make a request. The Township Board is violating Section 30-10(b) of the Township Code by refusing to include this agenda item for consideration at the annual meeting."

"Even if the Board believes it is not obligated to include this item in the agenda, there is nothing in the law that prohibits the Board from including it," continued Flamm. "The Board could have respected the right of its citizens to be heard, but instead made a choice to keep this item off the agenda. Why would the Board not want to consider the benefits of following a procedure that the General Assembly recently made possible? What are they afraid of?"
Based on audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012, the Palatine Township Road District had revenues of more than $2 million  including almost $1.5 million in real estate taxes. It spent less than $1.2 million of that amount, leaving more than $844,000 unspent. It had more than $2.6 million in the bank at the end of the year. "All this for 18 miles of unincorporated road!," said Flamm.
Flamm's email concluded, "I can understand why the Highway Commissioner would not want to see such a study done. I do not understand why the Township Board wouldn't welcome it."
Proponents of the request plan to attend the annual meeting on April 16th and to ask that their proposal be considered.

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