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Singling out townships not the right step

Published: Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

As the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, I would like to respond to the July 19 SV Weekend editorial titled “New leader in Coloma; experts pan townships” that calls into question the importance of township government.

First and foremost, however, I would like to congratulate former Rock Falls Mayor David Blanton for his recent appointment as township supervisor of Coloma Township. The fact that a former mayor sought out the supervisor position speaks volumes about how important townships are.

The fact of the matter is, there are bad eggs in every level of government from the top down. Focusing on the few very unfortunate situations that occurred at the township level as a possible reason for their elimination is simply irresponsible.

Former Mayor David Blanton clearly sees the value in townships and is seeking to improve the township operations in Coloma.

Studies have also shown that smaller local governments have lower costs per capita than larger local governments. They have also found that the smallest local governments generally spent half as much per capita as those with local governments of populations between 10,000 to 250,000 residents.

To say that eliminating townships will save taxpayers money is simply untrue.

The role of townships is to focus on cutting costs and providing value for the money allocated. Township officials from across the state work tirelessly to ensure the lives of their residents improve.

We need to look at the facts here. Townships provide essential services to their residents both efficiently and cost effectively. Singling out townships for consolidating is simply not a step in the right direction for Illinois.

Note to readers: Bryan E. Smith is executive director of Township Officials of Illinois.

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