STERLING – Illinois townships, including all 44 in Whiteside and Lee counties, held their annual meetings Tuesday.
Twenty people attended the meeting in Sterling Township, which is the biggest in the Sauk Valley. Held in the township’s new Center For Youth building, it took all of 16 minutes.
State law requires all townships to hold annual meetings, in which residents have the same voting power as trustees and can decide on township-related spending and initiatives.
Two of the four trustees, Bill McGinn and Tom Ausman, missed the meeting because they are members of the Whiteside County Board, which was holding its monthly meeting at the same time.
Sterling resident Jerry Binder was selected to serve as the moderator. The residents, mostly township employees and elected officials, voted to give him a salary of $95 – the usual amount – to preside over the meeting.
Township Clerk-elect Frances Leal read the numbers from the township funds. After she was done with each section, Township Supervisor Matt Howze asked whether any of the funds had deficits.
“No, all funds are balanced very well,” she said.
One of the talking points in favor of townships is that they are largely debt-free compared to other levels of government.
While debt-free, Sterling spends much more than similarly sized Dixon Township. In 2011, its total appropriations amounted to $2.5 million, compared with $1.6 million in Dixon Township, according to reports filed with the state comptroller. Sterling Township’s payroll of $661,379 was more than double Dixon’s.
Last year, Sterling Township’s tax rate was more than double those in Dixon Township and Rock Falls-based Coloma Township.