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Article posted: 8/27/2012 3:56 PM

Island Lake challenge withdrawn, question will appear on November ballot

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Island Lake voters on the Nov. 6 ballot will be asked what they think of a proposed new municipal complex after all.

Residents who had sought to put the advisory question on the ballot were prepared Monday to defend the effort before the village's electoral board but left victorious without having to say a word.

The board dismissed the case after objections to several signatures and other allegations regarding the referendum effort were withdrawn.

Monday's session, a continuation of the hearing that began Aug. 17, was expected to be a showdown between objector Dan Field and resident Mark Beeson, who led the signature gathering effort.

"We were there to do battle," Beeson said. Instead, the proceeding was over in minutes.

"We're excited. We're very happy we won," he said. "We're just glad the people are going to be heard."

Field, the co-owner of a company doing computer work for the village, had said many of the signatures collected were invalid and charged that fraud may have been committed to obtain some of them.

Board procedure called for voter registration status to be verified and contested signatures compared through information provided by the Lake and McHenry county clerks. The village spans in both counties. The timing was important because county clerks must certify the ballot by Aug. 30.

"The problem is I didn't have enough time to go through it correctly," Field said. "I thought I could get it done in that time but I just couldn't."

While the question will be on the ballot, he said he still will verify the signatures and submit the information for the record.

Beeson said he and supporters did the comparisons and determined that 11 of the 340 signatures collected might have been dismissed, leaving more than enough to file the question.

"We got the numbers free and clear," he said.

Residents will be asked whether the village should undertake a "multimillion dollar obligation to construct a combined public safety facility".

Village officials are considering plans for a new municipal center on the west side of Water Tower Park to include village offices, a board room, community center and police station at a base price of about $4.9 million. Rehabbing the current facilities could cost about $3 million, village officials have said.

This past Saturday, an estimated 150 people attended a public forum on the plans. A second session is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30 in the gym at village hall, 3720 Greenleaf Ave.

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