This simple question has been getting bounced around for quite some time, and it may finally be getting to the point of being resolved.
The idea of consolidating maintenance of 16 to 20 miles of Naperville Township roads with the City of Naperville was presented to Stan Wojtasiak, Naperville Township Highway Commissioner. The goal, according to Naperville city councilman Kevin Coyne was to save residents up to $800,000, by creating less government while lowering taxes. Seems like a great idea, except that Wojtasiak didn’t believe that much could be saved. If the savings was only $10, it’s still a great idea.
The problem is that Wojtasiak is the person making the final decision to do it, or not to do it. He found every way possible to delay making the decision. His job security trumped saving residents money and consolidating government.
The City of Naperville placed a non-binding referendum on the recent November ballot, with approximately 90% of township and city voters approving of the City of Naperville taking over the road maintenance for the Naperville Township. This still wasn’t good enough for Wojtasiak. Control, power, and personal gains are very difficult for government folks to give up.
Wojtasiak could see the writing on the wall, and decided to play an offensive maneuver by cutting a deal with Lisle Township bypassing the City of Naperville’s offer. This was not about common sense, this was all about a power struggle between Wojtasiak and Naperville city officials. Unfortunately Naperville city and township residents were caught in the middle.
That takes us to the most recent action by Coyne and Naperville Township Supervisor Rachel Ossyra to submit a request to the DuPage County Circuit Court for a binding-referendum to be placed on April 4th ballot asking:
“Shall the Naperville Township Road District and the Lisle Township Road District be consolidated into one consolidated township road district?”
The date for the court hearing on the referendum is January 9th, with January 26 being the last day to finalize the April 4th ballot. Maybe everybody will finally be able put the issue to rest and move forward.
The problem with this whole thing is Naperville city council deciding things for people who have no voice in voting for them. We live in the township so we have no say at all. They ignore us at council meetings because they know we can’t vote for them.
lisle township covers several cities/towns. i assume Naperville is only talking about the roads that are serviced by lisle township. if the township needs to keep equipment and staff to cover the other cities/towns where are the savings?
The simple reality is that while townships still provide important services in rural areas of the state they add little if any value to urban communities. Yes there are people that would lose some valued benefits in urban areas if their township went away, but most of the services provided by urban townships are also provided by cities/towns or the county making urban townships redundant in most situations.
The fact that most of the people paying property taxes to support urban townships get no services provided for them by these townships makes them major targets in a political climate were property taxes have become a major issue. The Governor and his allies in Springfield are determined to give voters the chose of whether to keep their townships or not, and because most of the voters (paying taxes to support these government bodies) see no value added by their existence they will all like be voted out of existence, as the recent city referendum clearly demonstrated.
The people reliant on these urban townships for services need to start thinking about who they want to provide these services once the townships go away and establishing binding relationships with these providers now, so when their township is eliminated they do not end up in a kind of service limbo. The popular suggestion is that township services should be taken over by the county, so if these resident do not act they could find the county as their new service provider.
Lisle Township services are top-notch. For example, LT provides better services at lower costs (taxes) compared to the City of Naperville. You can see the evidence by the Lisle Township trucks plowing snow much earlier and more often than the City of Naperville trucks, and Lisle Township unincorporated neighborhoods pay significantly lower taxes.
Big government in the forms of the City of Naperville and DuPage County is less responsive, and their efforts are a power grab for more tax revenue and power.
Lisle Township services are cost-effective and responsive. And we don’t want some bureaucrat with a bad comb-over in Wheaton to be regulating our services.