Elk Grove voters could see two questions, including term-limit measure, on March ballot

Elk Grove Village voters could see as many as two village referendums on the March primary ballot: one, an advisory question posed by Mayor Craig Johnson and trustees about community events, and the other, a binding query that seeks to eventually remove the longtime mayor and many of those trustees from office.

The term limits campaign, led by Johnson critic Tim Burns, has dominated local politics since a July 4 weekend petition drive.

The proposed question asks voters whether the mayor and trustees should be limited to two consecutive 4-year terms. If it survives ballot challenges, the binding question would act as a de facto referendum on the 22-year mayor and most members of the village board, known for having one of the longest streaks of continuity in the suburbs.

In an effort to help scuttle the term limits effort, the village board on July 16 approved putting three advisory questions on the 2020 ballot. By law, a unit of government can place a maximum of three on the ballot. So if Burns' question got tossed off the ballot, the others would go on and block any subsequent term limits effort.

But this week the board removed two of those questions - whether the village should expand its Mid-Summer Classics Concert Series, and if it should expand its coordination of charitable functions that fund the youth committee college scholarship program.

The other advisory question - whether the village should have local neighborhood community events - will remain.

Johnson said the board has gathered enough information from residents on the first two matters and wanted to make the ballot less confusing for voters.

Johnson, initially coy in July about the purpose of the advisory questions, denied any effort to block Burns' referendum.

The village electoral board is set to reconvene at 3:30 p.m. Monday after a Cook County judge remanded resident Benjamin Lee's objection to Burns' referendum back to the panel. The board said the Oct. 22 objection was filed too early.

Johnson, who is funding an anti-term limits political committee, indicated the Lee objection "probably won't be the only" one filed.

While Monday is also the last day to file petitions for a citizens' referendum, objections can be filed until Dec. 23. The deadline for the Cook County clerk to certify ballot questions is Jan. 9.

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Tim Burns
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