McHenry County residents and officials aiming to consolidate local governments soon could have a new tool to help make it happen.
On Feb. 7, state Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake, filed House Bill 2207. If passed, the legislation would prohibit any public taxing authority from using tax dollars to fight efforts to consolidate local governments.
Yingling, who is chairman of the House Counties and Townships Committee, was not available to comment Friday, but a look at the bill offered some insights into what he aims to accomplish. Specifically, HB 2207 would amend the Public Officer Prohibited Activities Act and make it illegal for any effort to use public dollars to “obstruct, fight or challenge initiatives to consolidate, merge or eliminate any unit of local government.”
There could be some tough consequences if that law is violated, according to language in the bill. If a unit of local government with taxing authority or any person holding public office violates the law, all state funding shall be withheld from the unit of government “until the obstruction, fighting or challenge by the unit of local government, or public official, is concluded.”
Furthermore, any alderman, trustee, county commissioner or any person holding office who violates the terms is guilty of a felony, according to the proposed bill.
“[Any] office or official position held by any person so convicted shall become vacant, and shall be so declared as part of the judgment of court,” it reads.
The attack on townships has intensified in recent years. Voters and homeowners tired of high property taxes and the state’s worsening economic climate have been looking to cut anything from anywhere they can.
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March 3, 2019 at 11:46PM