Sangamon County Studying Township Efficiency

This is what attracted my attention to the Springfield Journal-Register article on increasing the efficiency of local government.

Looking at articles in Springfield’s State Journal-Register Sunday, I found one about a Citizens Efficiency Commission that’s looking at township government.

Sangamon County has 52 townships.

There are archaic creatures called Township Collectors that collect the first installment of real estate taxes.

A bit different from McHenry County’s situation with 17 townships and no township collectors.

The Farm Bureau has weighed in with recommendations that includes cutting the number of townships in half, getting rid of the township collectors and ” further consolidation” of the township assessor function.  (Yours truly sponsored the Multi-Township Assessor law after a statistic study was conducted by Algonquin Township Assessor Forrest Hare which showed that assessing jurisdictions less than 5,000 people were markedly less uniform than those over 5,000.)

In November, 2102, a county referendum created the 23-member advisory group.

State Rep. Jack Franks is even mentioned in the article. He tried his best to take over several of the smaller townships three years ago and had some, but not universal, success.

And this old carnard  is again put forth: “Township government is the closest thing we have to pure democracy in the United States,” Donelan said.

Maybe the “closest,” but not very close.

The budget-setting teeth of Electors at the Annual Meetings were pulled in the early 1970′s when uppity residents of unincorporated roads in Nunda Township set even line-item in the Road Commissioner Leroy Geske’s budget at $1.  They forgot that the Road Commissioner gets paid out of the Town Fund, so he got paid.  I wonder how he did any work.

And, as citizens of Grafton Township have discovered, the Township Trustees won’t put just any resolution on the Annual Meeting agenda.


Comments

Sangamon County Studying Township Efficiency — 7 Comments

  1. And as the citizens of Grafton Township have discovered, even if they pass a resolution, it doesn’t mean that the Supervisor will pay any attention to it.

    Also, the Supervisor will try sneak illegal meetings pass the electorate.

  2. Do we know if any Illinois County has been able to abolish townships?

    My biggest question is that of road maintenance.

    Our township does a terrible job of maintaining the roads and blames everything on not enough funding.

    They plow snow but little more.

    If the county took it over, the county would need to find a funding mechanism to pay for township roads.

    There would be more county employees, and county pay is much higher than these PT local clowns that work for our township.

    Maybe merge the road districts with the county over a few years.

    I am all for eliminating the Township board. They do absolutely nothing. Meet once a month, collect the stipend and go home..

  3. As you know, 15 or more electors who put their agenda item in writing obligates a Township to put it on the agenda for the annual meeting.

    More cumbersom than it used to be but still gives the people authority over the Township.

    Road maintainance in small Townships is a problem due to small tax base and the price of oil which has more than trippled in the last couple of years.

    It is a problem no matter who maintains the Township roads.

    Most Townships have less overhead than County and State Highway Depts. making them more efficient with available funds.

    I live in rural McHenry County and would not want to have to compete with large Townships for funds to fix our roads since we would have little influence in funding opportunities. Townships are not perfect, but they are more responsible than Illinois State Government.

  4. Preston- that depends on the township.

    The salaries, responsibilities, efficiencies vary widely amongst townships.

    In a county that is so fiercely anti-government, I will never understand the close alliance with townships- until of course I look at the registered Republican Precinct Committeeman and compare that to who has township jobs….

    But of course, lets point the finger to Springfield or Cook County…

  5. Saying that Townships are not perfect is an understatement and saying they are more responsible than Illinois State Government is not saying much.

    Since you (Preston Rea) are the Alden Township Supervisior of course you would defend townships.

    Why doesn’t Alden apply for grants to fix roads?

    There are many small townships.

    Hartland, Coral, Riley come to mind.

    Alden township roads seem worse than most and none seem too good.

    Maybe the time has come to combine townships.

  6. As you noticed I spoke of small Townships since that is what I am familiar with.

    I can not speak for other Townships.

    Combining several underfunded road districts together does not improve the funding problem for road improvements.

    When you create a larger road district out of smaller districts you lose the low overhead and the hoped for economy of scale.

    Alden as well as other Townships apply for grants when they are available.

    Grants generally require matching funds which means you must have money to get money.

    Alden Township in particular has a very low tax base because there are no municipalities within the Township other than a couple of vacant lots.

    Small Townships are wonderful places to live and most residents realize they will not have the same benefits or taxes as if they lived in town.

    Thank you all for being educated on the subject and not just making wild assumptions.

  7. “As you know, 15 or more electors who put their agenda item in writing obligates a Township to put it on the agenda for the annual meeting.”

    Only if the agenda item is within the power of the electors.

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