Budget stalemate could mean Palatine Township shutdown Friday

Most Palatine Township operations will come to a halt if a 2018-19 budget is not passed Thursday night, Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson says.

While state law allows townships until May to pass an annual budget, Langlotz-Johnson said it would be a "bad practice" to spend money without a budget when the new fiscal year begins Thursday. There has been an approved budget before the start of the new fiscal year every March 1 since she was elected to the top post in 2013, she added.

Township services, including senior and disabled bus transportation, property tax appeal assistance and notary public, would be unavailable if the tentative $2.8 million budget isn't approved.

The road district has a separate budget and will remain in operation.

"I've already informed our staff that if they have appointments (Friday) that they need to have their (visitors) check the website to see if we are open," Langlotz-Johnson said. "They were notified that they will get an automatic telephone call whether or not to come back to work on Friday."

Township officials have been in a budget stalemate over Langlotz-Johnson's push for money to buy a new minibus. One of the township board's four trustees was absent Monday night, when the panel split 2-2 on the proposed budget. Four trustees and Langlotz-Johnson serve on the board.

The board will hold a special meeting for a second budget vote at 7 p.m. Thursday, at township headquarters, 721 S. Quentin Road in Palatine.

Trustee Susan Kern, who with Trustee Andy-John Kalkounos voted against the budget, questioned the need for a township shutdown without a budget. She said her vote against the budget stemmed from concerns about the bus that Langlotz-Johnson wants purchased.

"My requests to the supervisor and those of other trustees for current ridership data and trending (data) over the last five years have been ignored and testimonials, not hard data, were proffered to justify purchase of an additional bus," Kern said.

Langlotz-Johnson, who voted for the budget with Trustee Bill Pohlman, wants to spend $90,000 of $200,000 set aside in a capital improvement fund for the minibus and expected maintenance. A deal with Pace restricts current bus service to the disabled and seniors, meaning many needy residents can't get rides, she said.

She stressed that a competitive bidding process and a vote on the bus purchase would be necessary if the $90,000 appropriation is agreed on by the board.

Palatine Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson says operations, except for the road district, will be closed Friday if a new budget is not approved by then.
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