Suburban mayors urge ‘no’ vote on Henyard’s tax hike

Suburban mayors urge ‘no’ vote on Henyard’s tax hike

DOLTON, Ill. — Illinois’ largest township, which covers all or part of 17 south suburbs, wants to provide new mental health services and facilities and is asking voters to approve a new tax to pay for it.

“Mental illness is real. I don’t care what you all say, mental illness is real; but you all have to be willing to do something about it,” Dolton Mayor Tiffany Henyard said. “Me, Tiffany Henyard, I support the tax.”

The Thornton Township mental health tax would add an extra $42 per year on a $100,00 home, with the hope to raise $2.9 million in all.

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Residents spoke for and against the tax Tuesday night.

“When we vote down your tax increase, I hope every one of the residents vote down these trustees who supported you,” South Holland resident Curtis Watts said.

“Everyone hollering about this tax here and this tax there. If it’s dealing with mental illness, we got to do something about this and if the township wants to step up an do something about this, hey, we ought to support them,” Riverdale resident Michael Smith said.

11 of 17 mayors who represent suburbs in the township, along with two Cook County commissioners and a state senator, penned a letter urging a “no” vote against the tax.

They called it a “needless and inefficient duplication of services,” but also add township supervisor Tiffany Henyard, essentially, can’t be trusted with the money.

The group of mayors also referenced WGN-TV’s reporting on Tiffany Henyard’s unexplained spending of tax dollars on first travel, restaurant meals, self-promotion, and more.

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“I’m basically fighting against the devil. The evil spirit. I’m the good spirit. I never seen no one try to tear down people this much,” Henyard said, “We are in the news every single day. If y’all don’t get it, I don’t know what to tell you. I’m a black, single parent, and I get beat up on every day.”

But, it’s not just trust and transparency that’s lacking within the community.

A new complaint filed by Henyard’s former assistant states she was fired for reporting to Henyard an alleged sexual assault by a Dolton trustee on a taxpayer-funded trip to Las Vegas.

“If any of that is true it’s unacceptable and disgusting,” Thornton Township Trustee Chris Gonzalez said. “I don’t see how she could continue as township supervisor.”

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That trustee’s call for Henyard’s resignation won’t have much an impact because all of the other trustees on the township board are Henyard loyalists. Some of whom have enjoyed that first-class travel on the taxpayer’s dime.

She does face significant opposition in Dolton where she’s the mayor and opposing trustees have called for a federal investigation.

The mental health tax question will be on Tuesday’s ballot.

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