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UPDATE: Referendum to Eliminate Township Government?

Local 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 in Kane County, 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.

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