If you had the chance to buy the same product for $1,000 or $100, which would you choose? Easy call, right? The taxpayers of Belleville are paying for the $1,000 version of services right now with township government. City (and Township) Clerk Dallas Cook said in a recent guest view that the township levies 10 times as much in property taxes as it spends each year on direct aid for the poor, the only service the township provides.
Cook figured out that Belleville residents can get the $100 version of services if only they will ask to discontinue the township.
The city and township have the exact same boundaries. Illinois lawmakers, who are extremely protective of townships, even wrote legislation that allows elimination of a coterminous township. The municipality would administer the public aid program instead.
Residents would still get the same services, just without the overhead and salaries of township elected officials.
Cook said he will lead a petition drive calling for a binding referendum to eliminate Belleville Township. The signature requirement is outrageous -- 10 percent of the registered voters in St. Clair County. But Madison County residents just pulled off a near-impossible petition drive to get a jail bond referendum on the ballot.
Eliminating Belleville Township and saving all those property tax dollars would be worth the effort.