53 percent of Illinois roads under jurisdiction of townships, the
highway commissioner’s job is critical to the needs and safety of
The township highway commissioner is responsible for the construction
and maintenance of all roads and bridges in the road district. Those
townships having fewer than four miles of township roads do not elect
a highway commissioner. (In those townships the town board carries
out the duties of a highway commissioner.) There are fewer than 50
townships in Illinois that have no elected commissioner.
The road commissioner submits an annual tax levy for the following
year. Levies are submitted to the township board of trustees for certification
prior to the last Tuesday in December. The highway commissioner’s
levy may be subject to review by the trustee, but the board cannot
alter the levy.
Thirty days before adoption of the budget and appropriation ordinance
for roads and bridges, the highway commissioner submits to the clerk
and township trustees a tentative budget. The proposed budget is then
available for public inspection and review for thirty days before
final action. Once the budget and appropriation ordinance is adopted,
the highway commissioner has statutory power to expend the funds according
to the line items established in the appropriation ordinance.
In many respects, the township highway department is a separate government.
Neither the township board of trustees nor the supervisor has any
jurisdiction over the highway commissioner or the road district’s