Dissolving Small Local Townships ~ IICSG

Today we received an email blast from Avon Township Supervisor Sam Yingling with the following message:

Sam Yingling
Avon Township Supervisor
(847) 546-1446
“Please find links to important articles on the approach being taken towards township reform. Anyone who is interested in supporting good government as well as help reduce the property tax burden we all face, JOIN THE CAUSE! Please follow our efforts at www.IICSG.org

Included in the email were a couple links to recent articles published in the Daily Herald pertaining to efforts being proposed that would allow local residents to dissolve their local Townships by referendums.  Illinois Independent Coalition for Smaller Government (IICSG) states the following on their website as their mission statement:

“IICSG is advocating a change in the existing law that will empower township voters to decide for themselves the relevancy of township roles and services. By giving referendum power to voters, a majority vote can authorize the dissolution and consolidation of the Highway Commission and/or Assessor’s Office, and ultimately the township as a whole. Upon dissolution, the respective services of the dissolved office will become the responsibilities of the county government.

If residents vote to dissolve the township in its entirety, the assets of the township are to be divided as follows: 50% transferred to the county and the other 50% to be equally divided amongst the public school districts operating within the township’s boundaries. The underlying principle of this legislation is that each township will be empowered to determine its own structure of township government and abandon the current ‘one size fits all’ model.”

We sent Supervisor Yingling an email asking what the school districts had to do with any of this. Why would 50% of a dissolved Township’s assets go to the local school districts? Is this just a ploy to gain local voter support? Is the school district going to be plowing and maintaining local roads previously maintained by the Township? Did the local school districts ever contribute a single dollar to the Township? Why would you NOT give the entire 100% to the governmental body that will have the added burden of picking up the slack left by a dissolved Township?

We look forward to Supervisor Yingling’s response as well as any other comments by our readers.

Supervisor Sam Yingling responded almost immediately with the following:

 

“Thanks so much for contacting me with these great thoughts.  Many townships carry substantial reserves which were generated by the tax dollars of the local taxpayers.  The thought process was that the division of assets would allow some of those local tax dollars that were paid into the “kitty” to remain local through the school districts.  The proposal is a starting point for dialogue about how we can streamline overall governmental operations and as I’m sure you can imagine it will go through several changes in the legislature.”

 

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4 Comments

  • Gene Carey

    North Dakota is rushing through a law related to disbursements of a dissolved Township funds.

    In part:
    “Sen. Dwight Cook, R-Mandan, is working to fix a quirk in North Dakota law he said would allow townships to dissolve and give the money to residents rather than turn it back to the county.

    Senate Bill 2301 would force dissolving townships to give the sum in their bank account to the county, returning to residents only their property taxes”

    http://www.bismarcktribune.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/2011_session/article_45bcb72a-4527-11e0-80f0-001cc4c03286.html

  • Gene Carey

    I can’t help wonder why we need a “change in existing law” as the IICSG website suggests when the Illinois Constitution provides the following:

    Constitution of the State of Illinois

    SECTION 5. TOWNSHIPS
    “The General Assembly shall provide by law for the formation of townships in any county when approved by county-wide referendum. Townships may be consolidated or merged, and one or more townships may be dissolved or divided, when approved by referendum in each township affected. All townships in a county may be dissolved when approved by a referendum in the total area in which township officers are elected.”

    It would appear that to place a referndum on a ballot the following would currently be required:

    The signatures of 10% of the registered voters in the Township to put it to referendum. Once on the ballot, a majority wins.
    Signatures are only valid if form requirements are complied with and the date of each signature is less than 90 days before the last day to file the petition. The statement of the person who circulates the petition must include an attestation (i) indicating the dates on which that sheet was circulated,(ii) indicating the first and last date on which that sheet was circulated, or (iii) certifying that none of the signatures on the sheet was signed more than 90 days before the last day for filing the petition. The ballot question would simply be, “Shall (name specific) Township organization be continued in (name specific) County?” Mark “Yes or No”.

    I will ask Supervisor Yingling to chime in once again and explain why we need to change any existing law.

  • Gene Carey

    LC ~ I was looking over the Township’s meeting calendar on their website and they still have the dates for 2010 shown making it a bit confusing for residents. As it turned out my Mother’s furnace went out the night before and the ‘fix’ that was done lasted only until last night so I ended up going to Beach Park with a couple of small electric heaters for her instead.

    I’ve got to add a post today on the 11 minute general meeting that the Beach had on the 11th. Pretty amazing!

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