Township Opponents Can Find a Forum at Annual Meetings
Burke, Mike, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Mike Burke Daily Herald Staff Writer
Annual town meetings are traditionally mundane affairs, but township officials don't quite know what to expect at gatherings throughout DuPage County tonight.
Supporters of an anti-township movement plan to speak out at these annual meetings, a right which has officials somewhat apprehensive.
The Township Officials of Illinois is warning that anti-township supporters may try to disrupt or take control of the town meetings.
"There is some concern," said George Miller, executive director of Township Officials of Illinois.
Members of Send Township Officials Packing, or STOP, filed a lawsuit in DuPage last year challenging a new state law that makes it more difficult to abolish township government.
Members of STOP do plan on attending the seven annual town meetings tonight, as well as two next week, said Rosie Fitzpatrick, a Bloomingdale Township resident and co-chair of STOP in DuPage County.
In addition to DuPage, STOP has members in McHenry and Rock Island counties, as well as Maine Township in suburban Cook County, where similar plans have been made.
However, Fitzpatrick said the group is not planning anything rowdy or illegal.
"We definitely are not going to disrupt the meetings," Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick said members basically will be there to observe the meetings. However, a statement has been prepared outlining the organization's stance on town government, which she hopes will be read into the record during the open comment portion of the meetings.
Fitzpatrick said she hopes STOP supporters are allowed to speak at the meetings.
"They (townships) are required to have an open forum," Fitzpatrick said.
STOP contends that township government is no longer needed in urbanized areas, such as DuPage. The townships duplicate services, such as maintaining roads, that can be done by cities and the county, they say.
Miller said responsibility for those services cannot be transferred to other governments without also transferring the cost. …