Campton Hills, highway district to end agreement for roadway maintenance

After 15 years of an intergovernmental agreement between the village of Campton Hills and the Campton Township Highway Department, negotiations ended this week without a new deal regarding the maintenance of the village's roads. And one is not expected before it expires Sunday night, officials said.

Campton Township Highway Commissioner Sam Gallucci said the two entities had an agreement from 2007, when the village first incorporated, to 2017 where the township district took care of its roads and the village's 101 miles of roads.

"In 2017, we renegotiated that existing contract, and we went another five years - until this year," Gallucci said. "And as of the end of Sunday night, we cannot legally work on any of those roads because there is no agreement."

In a news release, highway officials accused Campton Hills Village President Michael Tyrrell of breaking off negotiations after two months of talks.

The agreement expired May 31, but both sides agreed to extend it until July 31 while a new agreement was negotiated, Gallucci said.

The township will continue to take care of its 31 miles of unincorporated Campton Township roads, even if there is no new agreement, Gallucci said.

But Tyrrell said the village did not cut off negotiations.

"Twice we had physical meetings," Tyrrell said. "Twice we reached verbal agreements, only to have those verbal agreements altered when committed to paper."

At issue, Tyrrell said, was a three-year audit completed in 2018 by the Illinois Department of Transportation that cost the village more than $30,000 because the highway department did not follow the state's requirements.

"We were audited by IDOT because of questionable spending by the highway district," Tyrrell said. "Because of those questionable practices and reports, we had to overcome over $330,000 of potential payback to IDOT. Getting full accountability and cooperation from the highway district was core to the break in negotiations. We are fully committed to transparency and ready to reach an agreement. We are no longer writing checks with no spending accountability."

Tyrrell said the village has set up a separate bank account to pay for road work and can either have an agreement with the road district or hire it out elsewhere.

But what the village will not do anymore, Tyrrell said, is send money to the road district without proper paperwork and invoices.

"I am saddened by the way this thing has degraded," Tyrrell said. "It was a long-standing relationship, not only personally. ... But how can we negotiate when we can't talk together?"

In response, Gallucci said his department supplied the village with the paperwork that is required by the state, and the paperwork that the village sent to IDOT was not the same as what the highway department sent to village officials.

"We've been supplying the same paperwork year after year for the past 15 years," he said. "It revolves around motor fuel tax money, which we use strictly for repaving village roads, and that's all we use it for. We did exactly what IDOT requires."

Gallucci said that Tyrrell this year has attempted to change the agreement, but he did not elaborate on the proposed changes.

"We're at a point that we cannot agree on the changes he's attempting to make," Gallucci said.

Gallucci, who is a Campton Hills resident, said he would like to see the agreement remain in place.

"I want to continue to keep working on the roads that I have for the last 15 years," he said. "It is for everyone's benefit [that the highway department] continue to maintain the roads. But at this point in time, that agreement is going to end on Sunday, and the only roads I will maintain are the unincorporated roads in Campton Township."

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