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UPDATE: Could We See a Referendum to Eliminate Township Government?

Kane County officials are wondering about the potential impacts of a state bill that would allow the elimination of township government by local referendum.

A pending state bill that would give residents a chance to vote on the elimination of township government has ignited a number of questions from Kane County officials, The Beacon-News reports.

According to the legislation, township functions—from road maintenance to senior services—would be shifted to county governments. Voters would have to give their thumbs up via referendum, and votes would be taken by individual service area rather than statewide.

Kane County Supervisor of Assessments Mark Armstrong presented a report on the legislation Friday to the Kane County Legislative Committee.

Many have argued that township government is an additional layer of taxation which duplicates some of the services provided by counties and municipalities. Defenders say the townships are efficient means of providing services outside city limits as well as some of the social services local governments can't afford.

Armstrong was concerned that the county would need to hire additional staff and whether taxes would have to be raised to compensate, The Beacon said. Armstrong added in a Sunday e-mail to Geneva Patch that he is "opposed to the elimination of all townships within the county, as it would create an immediate unfunded mandate on county government."

"The elimination of some townships within a county would be even worse than eliminating all townships because it would lead to double taxation of those residents remaining within townships," he said. 

Some members of the committee suggested that special services areas might be needed to compensate for the cost of providing the services townships presently oversee, especially in the category of road repair.

Soonwinner February 25, 2013 at 03:59 AM
Illinois is one of a few states that has township government units. These are not needed. Illinois has 8000 government units and the next state, Pennsylvania, has 5100 and California only has 4935 local governments. Illinois has 102 counties and 13 million population; California has 58 counties and nearly 40 million population. With the use of computers and dynamic county level government then townships are not necessary. Also in Illinois we need to reduce the number of tiny school districts. All these superflous and unnecessary government units are a waste of taxes and resources. Stupidity is not a good government policy. And yes have you ever visited your township office? I have a few times and I came away with a deep sense of having watched people trying to keep busy when a visitor shows up.
Greg Nelson February 25, 2013 at 02:32 PM
They were started for only one reason - jobs for our buddy system here in Illinois. Same goes for Park Districts. If they aren't within a city limit then they should be under the County Forest Department. Time to FIX Illinois for good because spending on "I WANTS" is just WRONG!
Randy Estlund February 25, 2013 at 03:57 PM
I think the Township does a very good job... and at a much lower cost than the county will be able to do it for.
Scott Harrison February 25, 2013 at 05:54 PM
Townships - Yet another reason Illinois is in the worst fiscal state in the country.
Mike B. February 26, 2013 at 12:56 PM
Yeah, let's get rid of townships so we can have our property tax assessments set by an appointed County crony, instead of by a locally elected Township Assessor who we can vote out if he gets out of line. That would be MUCH better...
Jonathon Bowles February 27, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Am I missing something? As far as I can tell, townships CAN be dissolved county by county, not statewide as the article suggests. Look at the IL Township Code (60 ILCS 1/25-5)

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