Palatine Township shutdown averted as budget passes

A threatened shutdown of most Palatine Township operations was averted Thursday night when board members passed a 2018-19 budget.

Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson said she was ready to close the township Friday if a new budget was not in place at the start of the new fiscal year Thursday. Services including senior and disabled bus transportation were at risk.

While state law allows townships until May to pass an annual budget, Langlotz-Johnson said there has been an approved spending plan at the start of the new fiscal year every March 1 since she was elected to the top post in 2013.

Trustees Andy-John Kalkounos and Bill Pohlman joined Langlotz-Johnson in approving the $2.8 million budget, which had been rejected Monday. Trustees Susan Kern and Ray Kincaid were absent.

Kern and Kalkounos were against in the first 2-2 budget vote, citing concerns over appropriating $90,000 for a new minibus. Through a compromise, the three board members who voted Thursday agreed to place the money in a budget line item with the stipulation no employee time or resources be expended until there is consensus to seek bus specifications and bids.

In addition, the trustees and Langlotz-Johnson will receive more township bus ridership data before a decision is made. Palatine Township leases three buses from Pace, which restricts use to seniors and disabled residents.

Kalkounos said he was happy the budget was passed and the shutdown avoided.

"This would be harmful for our clients, residents and staff alike," he said. "This cannot happen."

Langlotz-Johnson said she did not want the township to operate without a proper, on-time budget similar to what previously happened with state government. She said she saw firsthand what it was like without a budget through her job with Republican state Rep. Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington.

"Townships are the first form of government," she said, "and we are here to help and to assist those in need."

About 20 concerned residents and employees attended Thursday night's special meeting. Among the speakers was Inverness resident Glenn Grosch, who volunteers at Palatine Township's food pantry.

"Act like grown-ups and solve it," Grosch said, "and don't shut down the (township)."

Disabled and senior residents generally ride the three Pace buses for $2.50 each way within township boundaries. Proponents said an additional township-owned bus could help many other residents who need affordable transportation to get to medical appointments and other necessary chores.

Former township Trustee William Huley of Rolling Meadows said he would not have supported the 2018-19 budget with money for the bus. He said the township-owned bus would have many additional expenses such as fuel, drivers and oil changes.

Budget stalemate could mean Palatine Township shutdown Friday

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