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Local News

Voting costs, debris sites among concerns Will County Board members want state to address

The Will County Board Legislative & Policy Committee discussed what it would prioritize for its state agenda at its Tuesday meeting.
The Will County Board Legislative & Policy Committee discussed what it would prioritize for its state agenda at its Tuesday meeting.

The Will County Board Legislative & Policy Committee on Tuesday discussed a list of priorities it would like the state legislature to address.

The members covered a myriad of issues, from voting inefficiencies to groundwater testing at landfills. They’ve been compiling the list over the past several months with input from board members and county government department heads.

Committee Chairwoman Jackie Traynere, D-Bolingbrook, said that county officials will be able to share this list of priorities with area state legislators when they meet with them in Springfield.

On Tuesday, members spent the most time talking about issues related to voting and areas of inefficiency identified by the Will County clerk.

After April’s consolidated election, County Clerk Lauren Staley Ferry submitted a report to the board analyzing her office’s processes and challenges.

Staley Ferry said a state law requiring her to print 10% more ballots than there were registered voters in a precinct led to “tremendous waste,” especially for an election with turnout of only about 13%. Her office spent about $119,000 on preprinted ballots for voters at the polls on Election Day in April.

While Traynere said such a requirement was probably necessary to ensure enough ballots were printed in areas with smaller populations or for high turnout elections, she said such a law is “antiquated” and needs a change.

“Just the waste in that department is unreal,” Traynere said. “It was all these laws that were written long before we had all the modern conveniences for voting that we have today.”

The members also discussed wanting more protections at construction debris dumping sites at landfills, a concern going back many years for Will County.

Traynere said that unlike other types of landfills, state law doesn’t require certain protections, such as the monitoring of groundwater around the landfill.

The board has been concerned such dumping could contaminate well water, which many residents, especially in unincorporated areas, rely on for drinking and cooking.

“The main thing we want is more regular testing,” she said.

Another idea members of both parties liked was a potential requirement for gas stations to display a breakdown of the taxes drivers are paying on their gas.

The proposal came up as a way to help educate residents about where their money was going as the board was debating whether to implement a countywide gas tax.

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