Reading Township Sewer District Formation Referendum (2010)
The Reading Township Sewer District Formation Referendum is a ballot measure that may appear on the March 2010 ballot in Livingston County for voters in Reading Township. If the township approves of the recently submitted petition, the referendum question will then be placed on the November ballot asking voters whether or not to stop the formation of a new sewer district in the city of Streator, Illinois.
The issue that referendum supporters may claim is the fact that the proposed $13 million South Streator sewer district will tie into the township system to be treated and will also lower a service base charge of $22.50 for South Streator residents, which may raise service charges for township residents. The South Streator area, where the proposed sewer district would be servicing, currently has 900 unsewered homes.
Opponents state that not only will the referendum freeze the project until it is voted on, but will also result in the Illinois Department of Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) rescinding the $5 million state grant and an $8 million zero-interest stimulus loan it promised the township.
South Streator is the largest unsewered area in the State of Illinois and currently has a system where sewage is dumped into nearby abandoned mine shafts. The IEPA has stated that they will not back down from enforcing a law enacted in the 1980's that deems this dumping illegal. Thus, opponents of the referendum deem the project critical and emphasize the need to undergo the proposed sewer district.
Bruce Trego, Reading Township project coordinator, stated that a challenge to the petition may now be submitted township residents opposing a referendum. Although the process may be difficult and may require legal representation, the challenge had to have been submitted by June 15, 2009. Contested items could have included whether or not signatures on the submitted petition were legitimate
According to Trego: "The statutes are unclear how to formally file a challenge,"Trego said. "You really need an attorney to write up a formal challenge."
The petition, which was signed by 200 area registered voters, was submitted on June 4, 2009 to the Township Board for review, four days before the official deadline. The petition signature requirement for a question to be put on the November ballot is 144 signatures, or 10 percent of registered voters from the last election.