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Letter: Townships a vital part of local government

Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014 11:39 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 1:14 p.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Township government provides essential services across Illinois, and does so more cost effectively than larger units of government.

There has been an aggressive push to eliminate township government in Illinois often based on information that is simply not true. If townships were to be eliminated, a recent study by respected public policy researcher Wendell Cox finds that replacement services within larger government bodies would end up costing taxpayers more, not less. 

There are three main functions of township government:

• Providing general assistance for those in need including food, shelter and emergency relief

• Assessment of real property for the basis of local taxation,

• Maintaining 71,000 miles of roads and bridges outside federal, state and local jurisdiction, including repeatedly clearing rural roads as snow and ice storms seemed to continuously roll through the state this winter.

Along with these three mandated core services, townships offer other agendas including senior citizen programs, youth activities, assistance for the disabled, parks and recreational facilities, health services and cemetery maintenance.

Township government is indeed important; Illinois cannot afford to have these critical services eliminated or delivered at a higher cost. Before any voters consider elimination of township government, let’s first understand the facts about what would be lost.

Bryan Smith

Executive Director, Township Officials of Illinois

Springfield

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