Momentum is building to get rid of Belleville Township, thank goodness. Two numbers make it crystal clear why the township needs to go.
It cost more to run the township office last fiscal year than the township spent helping the poor – $288,000 in overhead and salaries to distribute $177,000 in general assistance funds, according to Dallas Cook, the clerk for the city and the township. That’s an obscene waste of taxpayers’ dollars. The city could handle the general assistance program for a fraction of the cost.
Belleville residents can help turn up the pressure to eliminate township government by attending a public meeting at 6:30 tonight at City Hall. Also, people can contact state Rep. Jay Hoffman to show their support for a bill he plans to sponsor. If approved, it would allow Belleville voters to decide the issue.
The bill is being written narrowly to apply only to Belleville, which is disappointing. We’d like to see voters get the same opportunity everywhere that townships and cities share the same boundaries. However, apparently this is what it will take to keep the powerful Township Officials of Illinois organization from derailing the bill.
So encourage lawmakers to take this one small step, and then who knows? If Belleville voters eliminate a wasteful layer of government, maybe it will inspire a consolidation movement throughout Illinois.