OSWEGO TOWNSHIP – The voters have spoken: Oswego Township should not abolish the road district, should not absorb the district's responsibilities into the township and should not make the township highway commissioner an appointed position as opposed to an elected one.
More than 6,700 voters, or 60.50%, voted against the local referendum that would have folded the road district into the township during the Tuesday, March 17 primary election. More than 4,400 voters, or 39.50%, voted in favor of the consolidation.
The question on the ballot read, "Shall the Road District of the Township of Oswego be abolished with all the rights, powers, duties, assets, property, liabilities, obligations, and responsibilities being assumed by the Township of Oswego?." Voters were asked to answer either "yes" or "no."
Oswego Township Supervisor Brian LeClercq said that, if approved, the referendum would have been a binding one. He said the question was first posed to him when he was running for office as township supervisor when the township was in the middle of a controversy in 2015 with the former highway commissioner being accused of overseeing his office from a home in Florida for the better part of a year.
LeClercq said that's how the question of whether there should be a referendum presented to voters ended up in front of the Oswego Township Board of Trustees and approved by the government body late last year.
“And the voters said they’re not interested … so that’s fine with me," LeClercq said. "We can go on with the model that we have.”
The update comes after red signs urging voters to vote against the referendum could be seen along the sides of roads ahead of the Tuesday election.
LeClercq had said there are currently two sets of books and two separate levies for the township and road district. He had said the overall intent was to make operations more efficient and help taxpayers without impacting current services to unincorporated areas like Boulder Hill.
LeClercq had said the thought was that it would save the township “hundreds of thousands of dollars" by making the two separate books into one.
Bob Rogerson, current highway commissioner for Oswego Township, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Record Newspapers on Tuesday night.
Rogerson had said he's disagreed with the referendum since the beginning when the Oswego Township Board of Trustees voted during their Nov. 5, 2019 meeting to approve placing a referendum on the March ballot. He previously said he had his concerns about whether taxpayers would actually see substantial savings from the referendum and having the decision of who should serve as highway commissioner being taken away from voters.