Naperville Township and Lisle Township voters elected to merge their two road districts in 2017. But a new referendum could render that decision void.
“It’s a very new law. It took effect January 2018,” said Naperville Township Supervisor Eddie Bedford. “The law basically states that a municipality or township can incorporate the roads into the township and take over the debt and all of its assets and eliminate the road commissioner’s position only.”
A question on the April 2 will ask voters if this new law should be instituted. But this time, only Naperville Township will weigh in. If they vote yes, it will overrule the previous vote.
“The confusion here is in the referendum here prior to the enactment of the law, we were supposed to merge with Lisle,” said Bedford. “That is a binding referendum but this law was not in effect when this binding referendum took place. Therefore it gives Naperville Township an option.”
If residents vote to dissolve the highway commission, that would likely void the 2017 referendum, as the Lisle Township Highway Commission cannot merge with a government entity that no longer exists.
If residents vote to keep their highway commission, the townships would be required to complete the merger by 2021.
A written statement from Lisle Township Highway Commissioner Ed Young read, “The Lisle road district doesn’t know what effect, if any, Naperville Township referendum would have on the consolidation of the Lisle/Naperville road districts approved by both township’s electorate in April 2017. The highway commissioner is consulting with the Lisle Township trustees and supervisor.”
That merger would create an annual tax decrease of about $24 for Lisle Township residents and a $3 tax increase for the average Naperville Township resident – something Bedford hopes will sway voters to dissolve the highway commission.
“I believe in this or I would not have gone down this road without the blessings of the board and the working committee and hopefully we’ll get the blessings of the Naperville township residents to move forward and bring the roads under the umbrella of the township.”
Bedford said Naperville Township Highway Commissioner Richard Novinger is also in favor of dissolving the commission, even though it would eliminate his own position.
Naperville township residents will vote on the referendum on April 2 and the first of three information sessions is scheduled for January 30 at the Naperville Municipal Center.
Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.
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