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Algonquin Township officials to reopen discussion on consolidation referendum

Trustees Rachael Lawrence and Dan Shea discuss an intergovernmental agreement between Algonquin Township and its highway department during a meeting Aug. 28 in Crystal Lake.
Trustees Rachael Lawrence and Dan Shea discuss an intergovernmental agreement between Algonquin Township and its highway department during a meeting Aug. 28 in Crystal Lake.

Algonquin Township officials will reopen discussion Wednesday night about a referendum that gives taxpayers the power to dissolve the highway department with a majority vote at the polls.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at 3702 Route 14. The agenda includes “resolution and discussion for referendum regarding Algonquin Township road district.”

The last time the board addressed the consolidation referendum, Trustee Rachael Lawrence motioned that board members read aloud and adopt a resolution to push forward a referendum to the November ballot asking whether the highway department should be eliminated.

Met with silence from the rest of the board, her motion – and the referendum – died.

The referendum is tied to a new law that went into effect Jan. 1 – House
Bill 607
is a statute that gives residents the power to abolish the highway department with a majority vote and transfer road responsibilities to the township.

“It’s more of a discussion of planning for the future if we ever had to do it,” Supervisor Charles Lutzow said about what he expects to happen at Wednesday’s meeting.

The agenda also includes discussion of an intergovernmental agreement between the township and Highway Commissioner Andrew Gasser. Gasser’s department has been negotiating with Lutzow’s office for several weeks.

As of Tuesday night, the road district and township had not come to an agreement on a final draft, Lutzow said.

The absence of an agreement stirred up turmoil between the township and highway department.

In an Aug. 3 email, Gasser announced: “Effective immediately the Algonquin Township Highway Department will no longer be participating in the following functions ... ”

Gasser offered a bullet-point list of the things his department no longer would do, including bingo setup, emptying recycling dumpsters, prework premises inspection, mowing or watering on township property, building maintenance or trash collection, scheduling of new bus rides after Aug. 17, maintenance of township buses, fueling of the township bus and paying bus drivers.

The subject of the email was “Lack of IGA,” or intergovernmental agreement – a reference to a contract the highway department and township has been negotiating to split costs on rent and services such as recycling and bus transportation.

The agreement asks the highway department to pay rent, split the recycling costs with the township and consider duties around the property, including snow removal and bingo setup.

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