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Dorr Township Road District

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Dorr Township Road District

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
February 5, 2011


At recent Dorr Township meetings I have heard discussions and reports about the number of miles maintained by the Road District, which is run by elected official Tom Thurman as Dorr Township Highway Commissioner.

I had heard 34 miles of roads were maintained and then, when the Village of Lakewood was in full-speed-ahead mode and licking its chops over a SportsPlex, I heard that the adjusted number of miles for Dorr Township Road District maintenance was down to 32.

So two - no, three - things surprised me when I looked at the webpage for the Road District.

The first thing that caught my eye was that the Road District maintains 70 lane miles of roads in McHenry County that are not within municipalities. Seventy (70) miles? Then that little four-letter word made sense. "Lane" miles. One mile of a two-lane road would be two (2) "lane" miles. Pretty clever, eh?

Accurate, honest, true ... but misleading to lay readers? Would the casual reader think, "Well, that's a lot of miles." Would a casual reader quickly grasp the meaning of "lane mile"?

The second thing catching my eye was the fleet of trucks lined up for the photo op. Go to the township website at http://www.dorrtownship.com/ and then click on the "Highway" tab. Look at the fleet of trucks and guess the value of that portion of the vehicle inventory. And those are just the "big" trucks. What is the total vehicle inventory of the Road District? (The number of trucks at the Road District wasn't known at the public viewing of plans for the proposed expansion of the Road District facility.)

From the Highway Commissioner's webpage we learn that "The road district is a public corporation like a township, but is a completely separate corporation, receiving its own tax dollars through its own independent line item on your McHenry County tax bill."

Does this "separate corporation" have its own Board of Directors? Officers? Meetings?

And the third thing catching my eye was the email address for the Road District: dorrone@sbcglobal.net When a corporation uses an email address off a controlled server, what is the chance that many communications subject to the Freedom of Information Act might be lost? All that needs to happen is for the Road District to decide to go to GMail or Yahoo! Mail or Hotmail (or you name it), and records are lost.

Should the Road District move its email to the Dorr Township server?

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