Hearing in DuPage could 'put to rest' 4-town merger idea

 
 
Updated 1/25/2017 5:53 PM
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  • Mayors of Warrenville, Lisle, Woodridge and Naperville all say they oppose a potential ballot question that could ask if voters want to annex the three smaller communities into Naperville. A judge is expected to decide Thursday whether the question will appear on the April 4 ballot.

      Mayors of Warrenville, Lisle, Woodridge and Naperville all say they oppose a potential ballot question that could ask if voters want to annex the three smaller communities into Naperville. A judge is expected to decide Thursday whether the question will appear on the April 4 ballot. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

A DuPage County judge is expected to rule Thursday on whether an April 4 ballot question will ask if voters want to merge Lisle, Warrenville and Woodridge with Naperville.

The potential question has been challenged in court by three of the mayors and opposed by all four, who say the idea of forming one large community out of their distinct suburbs would have far more cost than benefit.

Judge Paul M. Fullerton is expected to decide Thursday -- the deadline to certify the ballot for the April election -- whether the question will appear for voters in any or all four municipalities.

Warrenville Mayor David Brummel said he hopes the hearing will put the idea to rest because officials agree it is not an example of good government consolidation.

Unsure who is behind the effort, mayors Joe Broda of Lisle, Brummel of Warrenville and Gina Cunningham-Picek of Woodridge filed objections Jan. 9 to the petitions that propose the question. Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said he did not file an objection because no petitions were signed in his community.

Attorneys for Lisle, Warrenville and Woodridge later filed a motion to dismiss the petitions. Both moves aim to keep the consolidation question off the ballot.

If the question appears, it would ask, for example, "Shall the Village of Woodridge be annexed into the City of Naperville?"

After the mayors filed their objections noting flaws in the petitions, Brummel said Warrenville residents were comforted that the question's odds of appearing are slim.

"The petition was faulty on a number of levels," he said, "not the least of which was the number of signatures."

In Warrenville and Woodridge, whoever submitted the petitions did not collect the signatures necessary for ballot placement, which is 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the previous election. In Warrenville, 178 signatures are required and 78 were submitted; in Woodridge, 235 are required and 50 were turned in.

The number of signatures collected in Lisle -- 219 -- appears to meet the requirement of 182. But Broda said many of them appear invalid, as some names do not match addresses in Lisle and others are listed on one page of 15 names that was copied and submitted three times.

Chicago-based attorney Frank Avila is listed as counsel for the petitioners, but he would not comment Wednesday about the case. He previously has declined to comment or to identify the people behind the consolidation effort.

This consolidation question could be the second to appear on the ballot for some Naperville and Lisle voters if it is approved.

Voters in Naperville and Lisle townships already will be asked if they want to merge the road districts from the two townships into one unit of government. This differs from the four-town merger idea because elected officials of both township road districts support the change.

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