This is the last installment about McHenry County Board member-elect’s thoughts on township government.
CAN YOU JUST REFORM THE TOWNSHIPS?
There are some things that could be potentially done to improve the efficiency of township government.
I actually ran for Supervisor in 2000 on a reform platform.
I had a number of proposals to consolidate and trim various aspects of the Supervisor’s office, and work with other townships to merge some functions.
For instance, you could merge the interim assistance function with neighboring townships so that only one township would have to incur the overhead to keep an office and staff for when someone wandered in off the street looking for assistance.
Smaller townships which have part time assessors could merge the assessment function.
Road districts in the more populated townships could develop agreements with municipalities and the county to take over the road repairs and snow plowing in the less accessible locations.
It turns out, however, that townships are not going to pursue those types of reforms unless their very existence is meaningfully threatened.
They will also not try to work out any of the transition issues for how services could be provided by other units of government until a township is actually dissolved and they are forced into it.
As a case in point, the [Ann] Hughes Committee, which was formed in the General Assembly immediately after Bob Anderson succeeded in getting the abolition question on the ballot, was advertised to have been formed to explore the various transition issues of how services would be picked up by other governmental units.
Instead of doing that, when the referendum failed, they just passed a bill to make it more difficult to abolish townships county wide and adjourned.
Most of the Republicans running for office this year have made smaller government the foundation of their platforms.
Yet, when it comes to actually doing something about an area of government that could easily be reformed or eliminated, they are strangely silent.
I have gone into this issue now because this is the time for people to be circulating petitions to run for township offices.
[Filing is from November 19th through November 26th. Make sure you file a statement of economic interest with the County Clerk’s Office and attach a receipt to the petition, whose pages must be numbered and stapled together. Otherwise an opponent like Marc Munaretto might challenge your petition, the way he did Nancy Scalero’s when she filed to run against him in his first election. Because the pages were not numbered, Nancy was kicked off the ballot.]
There look to be several hotly contested races in at least three of the most populous townships in our county.
What better time to have a discussion of how necessary the townships really are?
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