Court rules against proposal of dissolving village
BALDWIN — In a decision made by District Court Judge Peter J. Wadel on Thursday in a hearing at the Lake County Courthouse, the ballot proposal to disincorporate the Village of Baldwin was struck from the Aug. 7 ballot.
in the case, the village of Baldwin versus clerks Tara Mooney, Pleasant Plains Township deputy clerk; Elizabeth Knight, Pleasant Plains Township clerk; Carole Hill, Webber Township clerk; and Patti Pacola, Lake County Clerk; Wadel ruled to strike the ballot proposal of disincorporation of the Village of Baldwin from being on the Aug. 7 ballot.
The hearing was the result of an 84-page lawsuit drafted by the village’s legal counsel claiming the petitions by voters in the Village of Baldwin were defective and erroneous, requesting the proposal be taken off the ballot. The suit was filed against the clerks because they verified the petitions. Clerks included Elizabeth Knight, Pleasant Plains Township clerk; Tara Mooney, Pleasant Plains Township deputy clerk; Carole Hill, Webber Township clerk; and Patti Pacola, Lake County Clerk.
Wadel confirmed there were some flaws resulting in statutory violations with some of the signatures. He issued an order striking the petitions invalid.
The required numbers of signatures was 15 percent of 702 registered voters to place the issue on the ballot. One hundred and five signatures were needed, which was less than the signatures secured by the Citizens Action Committee. With 20 flawed signatures, the petition was short of requirements to put the proposal on the ballot.
“The court recognizes the compelling issues raised in this matter by the electors in the Village of Baldwin and townships,” Wadel said. “These cannot be resolved in this session. The township officials and the village council either need to resolve these differences or try to get the proposal on the ballot. We are out of time for the August election to get it on the primary ballot.
“You may well be able to get petitions for it to be on the November ballot.”
The Citizens Action Committee is exploring the option of securing signatures to get the proposal on the November ballot.
Village of Baldwin President Jim Truxton said he would like to work out issues.
“I think it is time to take a deep breath and revisit what issues there are,” he said. “If it is a city status on people’s minds, we haven’t moved forward with it. If that is the issue, we haven’t decided on it at all.”
Webber Township Supervisor Ernie Wogatzke said they wouldn’t be at this stage if there was communication between the village and the townships.