Palatine Township's agenda for the annual town meeting next week won't include the item petitioned for by 30 residents last month.
The group requested that the board consider studying the benefits of eliminating the township's road district, citing exorbitant costs for fewer than 20 miles of unincorporated road.
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"Our attorney's opinion is that electors don't have the right to put this item on the agenda for the annual town meeting," Clerk Lisa Moran said. "As clerk, I am very careful about incurring attorney fees, but in this case realized the importance of our annual town meetings and keeping them orderly and fair for all electors present, not just a single group."
Attorney Keri-Lyn Krafthefer of Ancel Glink provided the opinion.
Moran said she informed petition organizer Matt Flamm that any resident can attend a monthly board meeting and simply request the study. The board can then choose to discuss the topic and add an agenda item to a future meeting for a vote.
Moran said that personally, she's hesitant to go forward with an independent study given that the possible abolishment of road districts is on the state legislature's radar.
Flamm, also an attorney, said the agenda item only "requested" and not "directed" the board, and that the decision violates township code because the law allows any 15 citizens to put an items on the agenda. He also said the annual town meeting is the one forum where citizens are encouraged to participate in decision making.
"In my opinion, they have a legal obligation to place it on the agenda," Flamm said. "The board at the very least should have taken a vote on it. The board attorney has authority to give advice, not make a decision like that."
Petitioners still plan to attend the annual town meeting, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at the township offices, 721 S. Quentin Road, Palatine.
Flamm, an active Democrat, said they'll ask the entirely Republican board to consider the proposal, even though the meeting agenda doesn't allocate time for public comments. He has said the issue is nonpartisan.
Supervisor-elect Sharon Langlotz-Johnson said that once the new board is sworn in, a focus group will be formed to address the road district.