More comments on State Rep. David McSweeney’s bill to allow McHenry County voter to abolish townships by referendum:
“bred winner’s” comment:
Look up your own real estate tax bill at the McHenry County Treasurer web site. It will have a breakout of taxing bodies with a pie chart. Township part of our tax bill is tiny.
Schools take from 2/3 to 3/4 of our high tax bills.
The problem in our State of Illinois, the worst State of 50 in the U.S. fiscally, is outrageously high salaries, benefits and pensions for government workers including teachers and administrative staff.
Rather than abolishing or consolidating townships, efforts should be directed at consolidating school districts, eliminating redundant school administrative positions, elimination of COLAs and haircuts for too-high salaries and pensions of all people working in government jobs or government retirees in Illinois.
From grafton taxpayer:
To Bred Winner’s point, township consolidation would have minimal effect on your tax bill anyway.
As a percentage of your property tax compared to school districts it is minimal.
This smells of a window-dressing campaign issue, where the optics are good but the net result is nil or negative.
The functions of a township (roads, assessments, GA) will continue to need to be met if it’s given to the County regardless.
Having said that, I personally would always prefer a smaller government body to a larger one.
It is more responsive, more attuned and more accessible.
Litigation issues aside in some local townships, by and large the trustees examine every last penny being spent, do their best to hold the road and assessor’s offices accountable for their (independent and separate) budgets, and are easily accessed by concerned public citizens.
Where does consolidation end?
Do we absorb village government into County, County into State?
Imagine where your concern is one of 10 in your township/road district.
Now imagine it’s one of 100 in your village, one of 1000 in your county, on of 1,000,000 in your state?
I’d always prefer the smaller unit, where elected officials are accountable to, literally, their neighbors.
Here is a link to an earlier post on the blog about running for elected office, and it starts with the premise that “All politics is local” – which is largely true.
Unless, of course, we consolidate the local out of politics.
“concerned taxpayer” adds:
Thank you bred winner.
Township expenditures on a property tax bill are miniscule compared to the school districts.
This is a smoke and mirror “look at me trying to fix things” mistake compared to the REAL fiscal problems in this state.
And consolidating what money the townships spend into the County doesn’t mean that money doesn’t still need to be spent (roads, assessments, GA, etc.).
The fact of the matter is smaller units of government are more ACCOUNTABLE and RESPONSIVE to citizens’ problems than bigger units of government.
Imagine having a local issue and trying to get your state representative to address it, much less fix it.
If you climb the ladder by consolidating, now your problem is 1 of 10,000 instead of 1 of 10 that a local unit of government can address.
And most of the money still needs to be spent.
There are some concerning local examples of litigation issues in Townships, well covered by this blog.
But by and large, especially in this fiscally conservative Republican county, township trustees examine literally every penny spent.
And try their best to find ways to continue to cut levies – because they are accountable to, literally, their neighbors.
I don’t see a solution with consolidation, just less responsive government and window-dressing savings. If this gets to a referendum, vote no.