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03/08/95 WILLIAM C. EVERS III v. COLLINSVILLE

March 8, 1995

WILLIAM C. EVERS III, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
COLLINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, A BODY POLITIC; TERRY ALLAN, IN HIS CAPACITY AS COLLINSVILLE TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR; AL TOGNARELLI, IN HIS CAPACITY AS COLLINSVILLE TOWNSHIP CLERK; AND MINNIE ALBERTINA AND JOSEPH SEMANISIN, IN THEIR CAPACITY AS TRUSTEES OF COLLINSVILLE TOWNSHIP, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 93-CH-393. Honorable David Herndon, Judge, presiding.

Presiding Justice Maag delivered the opinion of the court: Lewis, J., and Goldenhersh, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Maag

PRESIDING JUSTICE MAAG delivered the opinion of the court:

Plaintiff appeals from a circuit court order denying injunctive relief and granting summary judgment in favor of defendants.

On December 1, 1993, plaintiff, William Evers, filed a complaint seeking a court order prohibiting the Collinsville Township Board of Trustees (Board) from constructing a new township office building until the project had voter approval in the next general election. On December 8, 1993, plaintiff moved to reduce the time to file a responsive pleading and requested a pretrial conference.

Thereafter, plaintiff amended the complaint, seeking a court order voiding the construction contract and enjoining the Board from making any payments to the contractor. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. On January 5, 1994, the trial court held a hearing on the motions. Plaintiff called one witness, township supervisor Terry Allan.

On January 6, 1994, the court issued a written order in favor of defendants and against plaintiff. The plaintiff appeals this order.

On appeal, plaintiff contends that:

(1) The trial court erred in holding that the Township Board of Trustees exercises the corporate authority of a township;

(2) The trial court erred in holding that the Town Hall Act (60 ILCS 30/0.1 through 2 (West 1992)) is applicable only when the township must issue bonds to build a town hall; and

(3) The trial court erred in holding that plaintiff's claim was barred by the doctrine of laches.

In February 1992, the Collinsville Township Board of Trustees began considering the need for a new township office building. During the period between February 1992 and April 1993, the Board voted unanimously to acquire an open lot and an abandoned building adjacent to the then-current township office building. The Board further authorized the demolition of the empty building and the execution of a contract for architectural services for the construction of a new township office building. In May and June of 1993, the board, now with two new trustees, voted unanimously (with one new trusteevoting present) to acquire another adjoining lot for the new building and to lease township office space during construction of the new township building. During this period, the township held two annual town meetings in April 1992 and April 1993 pursuant to statute.

On November 22, 1993, plaintiff filed five petitions containing 88 signatures, demanding a referendum on the issue of whether or not the township should issue bonds or borrow money for a new township building.

At the Board meeting on November 30, 1993, plaintiff asked that the Board consider the petitions. Plaintiff further advised the Board that he would file a lawsuit if they contracted for construction of a new township building. Thereafter, on a 3-2 vote, the Board authorized township supervisor Terry Allan to execute the proposed contract for the sum of $353,509. They also voted to appropriate $400,000 for the new building out of tax moneys already received so that no borrowing of money would be necessary. Immediately after the meeting, ...


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