Belleville Township makes the case that it is an antiquated, unnecessary layer of government better than we ever could.
The township board just approved its 2014-15 budget, which allocates roughly $1 in salaries, benefits and overhead for every $1 it distributes. That's an incredibly inefficient use of tax dollars.
It gets worse. Only a portion of the money budgeted for general assistance is for the poor. Almost $48,000 is budgeted for churches, charities, community projects and even the city of Belleville, which collects its own taxes.
And thanks to the township's old-fashioned budget-more-than-needed mentality, the township's tax levy keeps going up along with the township's year-end surplus. If Trustee Joy Schreiber hadn't made an issue of it, the township would have budgeted $22,000 for rent even though the expense is only $15,000. Such padding helps ensure that money is left at the end of the year and ends up in the township's account rather than left in taxpayers' pockets.
The township should be disbanded; the city, which has the same boundaries as the township, would hand out general assistance much more cost-efficiently than the township and it would save most of the township's $775,500 budget.
As for the charitable contributions, individuals should make their own charitable decisions rather than pay taxes to the township to make donations. People definitely shouldn't have to spend $263,500 on three township employees to write out $800 checks to churches.