Rauner allows Illinois township to eliminate itself
Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature authorizing Belleville Township to dissolve highlights a flawed process that prevents consolidation in a state that desperately needs it.
“Trustee Joy Schreiber told the Belleville News Democrat that less than a fourth of the township’s spending for the year was on its only duty, which is general assistance.
“Belleville City Clerk Dallas Cook says if the township board votes to dissolve the township, the Belleville City Council must pass an ordinance accepting the township’s responsibilities.”
HB 3693 is a step in the right direction – but the process by which Belleville Township has to get permission to dissolve is an obstacle to reducing the number of governments in Illinois. No state procedure exists by which local voters can eliminate a single township, meaning the state has to specifically authorize every single taxing body’s dissolution.
Voters can only act to rid an entire county of townships at once, and it’s almost impossible. In order to place a binding referendum on the ballot, advocates must collect petitions signatures of 10 percent of the registered voters in each of the county’s townships – all in 90 days.
In 2014, voters in Cook County’s Evanston Township voted to disband after the Illinois General Assembly passed specific legislation authorizing the vote, marking the first time a township had been eliminated since 1932. The village of Evanston took over its functions.
There’s a lot more work to do to bring the number of governments down to size. A resident living in Buffalo Grove, for example, pays into 18 local taxing bodies.