Naperville Township Talks of Reversing Referendum

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Last April, voters approved a referendum question to consolidate the Naperville and Lisle townships highway departments. But Naperville Township officials are now looking into whether their road district can remain independent.

At the end of December the Naperville Township board held a special meeting to consider adding a question on the March ballot about the matter.

“January 2 was the last day if you wanted to put this on a referendum, which the law states it must go through a referendum,” said Eddie Bedford, the Naperville Township supervisor. “So I called a special meeting to discuss possibilities of this going to referendum, possibilities of where the law stays, and get a feel of what the trustees would be thinking.”

The group decided to table the issue until officials could review and better understand the new state law regarding the referendum.

But the idea of reversing it did come up and was gaining some support, especially from the Naperville Township Supervisor.

“Would you want your neighbors managing your house budget? Most people would say ‘no’ so what has happened is Naperville is now going to be managed by somebody else according to the referendum in 2021,” said Bedford.

Naperville City Councilman Kevin Coyne who helped submit the April referendum question said he hopes it doesn’t change and thinks consolidation is a good thing for both Naperville and Lisle.

“I haven’t come across an attorney yet that seems to think that they can do this, but if they did move forward with it the highway commissioner would go away in either scenario,” explained Coyne. “But the new referendum question would still be kept within two separate townships, which kind of defeats the whole point of the consolidation which is to get everything down to one provider so you didn’t have the residents paying for separate administration, staff, and buildings.”

If the referendum is put into effect, officials have projected it will mean a decrease in taxes for Lisle Township residents, but an increase for Naperville Township residents, as they are currently taxed at a lower rate for road services than those in Lisle Township.

Naperville Township officials say they’re already talking with city officials about the referendum and feel it’s a step in a good direction.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.