With several recent news items regarding conflicts between County and Township entities, one wonders if the multilayer nature of Illinois Government is a thing of the past. There is a real need to be cost effective these days, and more than ever the function of a Township, especially an urban one, may be an added burden no longer relevant. Once the only real form of rural representation, most of the work in the township short of the road maintenance may best fall on a more central form, with the opportunity for more uniform coverage.

Recently the conflict was once again seen at the county level when a local Township supervisor, John Jay of Mahomet, who is also a County Board member from District One, had to abstain from a vote at the county level because his township protested the Wind Farm Ordinance. Had Mr. Jay not been in both positions he would have had an opportunity to vote for his District, he chose to be in several places at once and in doing so served none.

The same could be said for a bulk of what happens daily, the filter of controls now steps slowly through these many layers, some with very different mindsets, before the rubber hits the road. Does Newcomb Township need a plan commission? They serve no planning function and only seem to serve to protest County actions. Likewise, does Mahomet Townships plan commissioner, a Realtor and developer, have the best interests of the Township or his income in mind when their function again is only to protest.

Why so much overlap? There seems to be little cohesiveness between townships and their operation, and with plan less plan commissioners and poorly attended township business meetings, with little public access to the information they are acting on, perhaps it is time to pull the strings a little tighter and save some resources everywhere we can.

Please discuss.

1 Comment so far

  1. DAnne, on 6/30/09 at 10:34am said:

    Township can be a true and trusted form of government when it is carefully monitored and not left to be ran by a selected group of people in the community. It provides assessment that no other government office provides. It also provides a balance between the have and the have not with the State mandated general assistance program.

    Eric, you are correct in pointing out that public attendance is important because while many see Township as an overlap in government, they still maintain the power to improve our community on a local level. However if it is being ran as a way to manipulate the laws to take tax payers money for selfish gains, no one wins with this.

    By taking away townships and their annual meetings, you will be taking away the voice of the people and a way for them to take action.

    Stars and Stripes Forever,

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