Webber, Pleasant Plains form plan if village dissolves
BALDWIN — Officials in Webber and Pleasant Plains townships are wasting no time in formulating plans for services in Baldwin if voters approve dissolving the village in the Aug. 7 primary election.
A citizens action committee secured enough petitions among voters in the Village of Baldwin for the proposal to get on the ballot. The proposal would require two-thirds approval of the voters who are residents of the Village of Baldwin, Pleasant Plains Township and Webber Township in order to pass.
At first it was thought only residents of the village would be able to vote on the proposal, but legal counsel to the two townships confirmed all voters in both townships can participate in the vote.
“We are trying to work with Webber Township and Yates Township when need be to get a plan formulated for a smooth transition no matter how things turn out on election day,” said Heidi Alfrey-Gamble, deputy supervisor of Pleasant Plains Township.
Webber Township Supervisor Ernie Wogatzke said it is important for people to know services will continue if the village dissolves, such as senior housing.
“The township is working with Pleasant Plains to form a housing authority as required by Housing Urban Development for the Pleasant Plains and Webber portion of the village so we won’t be without senior housing,” he said. “This entity can replace the village housing authority. We will have a representative from both townships to make the transition as smooth as possible.”
The townships also are looking at developing a sewer and water authority for the town of Baldwin to collect sewer rates for Webber, Pleasant Plains and the portion of Yates Township hooked to the village’s system. The water system for Webber would be separate.
“Any roads the village is in charge of would go back to the Lake County Road Commission,” Wogatzke said. “The townships would form a maintenance department for the downtown area, such as upkeep at Hollister Park, grass cutting, snow removal, sidewalk and back alley maintenance and rubbish removal.”
Pleasant Plains Township Fire Department and Webber Township Fire Department would resume protecting their townships’ portions of Baldwin and would be mutual aid to each other.
“There is a movement in America for smaller government, and I believe this is where the push to dissolve the village is coming from,” Wogatzke added. “Due to animosity created by government, there is a lot of mistrust and the environment is just ripe for a proposal like this to potentially pass, and that is the main reason Webber and Pleasant Plains are working together to make this transition smooth as possible if this is what the people want.”
If voters approve dissolving the village, the county seat would remain in Baldwin and county services would continue uninterrupted, Wogatzke added.