Springfield, IL. The Illinois Senate gave final legislative approval May 16 to legislation allowing townships in McHenry County to consider dissolution with voter approval, according to State Sen. Craig Wilcox (R-McHenry).
Most importantly, the proposal contains three taxpayer protection provisions State Senator Craig Wilcox insisted be included.
I support consolidation as a way to reduce the size of government in our lives, cut costs and deliver better government to the people. I appreciate a process that respects taxpayers, giving voters a choice, which this measure does, said Wilcox. I am also especially pleased the legislation addresses concerns I raised months ago about protecting taxpayers and ensuring they are the true beneficiaries of smaller, smarter and more efficient government.
Taxpayer protections advocated by Sen. Wilcox and included under Amendment #1 to House Bill 348 include;
- Ensures that counties or municipalities will receive the Motor Fuel Tax dollars dedicated to a dissolving township based on lane miles. It also protects local taxpayer dollars, preventing a dissolved townships lane mile Motor Fuel Tax account from being redistributed state-wide.
- The assets of the dissolved township or road district, especially if liquidated, must be used solely for the benefit of residents of the geographic area within the former boundaries of the township. This provision protects taxpayers who previously paid the taxes allowing the township to acquire those assets; and
- Only the taxpayers within the dissolving township boundaries are responsible for paying any debt transferred to the county, which protects other county taxpayers.
The overall goal of government consolidation is to save taxpayers money, said Wilcox. But, it must be fair and equitable.
Sen. Wilcox is a former McHenry County Board member who first pressed for voter protection clauses as a member of that Board.
As the State Senator representing the 32nd District, which includes Lake and McHenry counties, Wilcox also introduced legislation this year (Senate Bill 1567) to accomplish the goals now included in House Bill 348 and approved by the Senate on a vote of 44 to 3. HB348 now heads to the Governor for consideration.