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updated: 1/29/2013 10:41 AM

Residents in unincorporated Warren Township to get a second try at aggregation question

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Some voters in Warren Township may do a double-take when they see a question regarding electrical aggregation on their ballots April 9.

That's because many of them already may have voted on the same issue in November. What they'll see in April, with the exception of a single word, will be the same question that was handily approved by 60 percent of those who voted.

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The question then was whether the township should have the authority to arrange for the supply of electricity for residential and small commercial retail customers who have not opted out of such a program.

In April, the word "unincorporated" will be added to the question and will appear only on the ballots of residents living in that part of the township, rather than all township residents.

"We have nine municipalities in Warren Township. Those municipalities have the option of doing it themselves," township Supervisor Suzanne Simpson said of electrical aggregation. "We're going to let the people in the unincorporated areas speak."

Simpson said she received conflicting legal opinions just before the November election that asking all township residents to vote on electrical aggregation theoretically could be challenged. But at that point, it was too late to remove the question from the ballot, she said.

So township officials decided to try again.

"There are other townships that did it exactly as we did and they're going forward but when I received other legal opinions, I (wanted) to err on the side of caution," Simpson said.

According to the Lake County Clerk's office, there are 38,763 registered voters in Warren Township, with 11,914 in the unincorporated area. That means the aggregation question potentially could be decided by two-thirds fewer voters.

Simpson said voters should be aware that those whose addresses have five digits live in unincorporated areas, while those with three or four digits are within the boundary of a municipality.

As of Monday, the unincorporated areas of Ela and Lake Villa townships also are scheduled to be on the April 9 ballot with electrical aggregation questions.

Simpson said the aggregation process, once approved by voters, requires public hearings and a bidding process for a power provider. In Warren Township, that could not have been completed until April at the earliest, meaning those who voted for the option haven't lost any savings.

She said the extra time has allowed the township to consider the impacts of aggregation. One possibility is allowing residents in communities that have opted out of aggregation to join the township program.

Another is joining with other townships to broaden the customer base and possible savings, she said.

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