Belleville

Hoffman expects final vote for bill allowing dissolution of Belleville Township

A final vote on a bill that could pave the way for the dissolution of Belleville Township is expected this week, said state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, a sponsor of the bill.

Supporters of the bill say taxpayers could save money if the township’s duties were transferred to the city of Belleville.

The township provides general assistance to needy Belleville residents, but critics said the township’s administrative costs are too high. The township, which was founded in 1885, has the same borders as the city of Belleville.

The House passed the bill in April with a vote of 106-7. Then the Senate voted 52-0 on Tuesday to pass an amended bill that limits the action to a township located in St. Clair County. Now the House would have to approve this amended version for the legislation to be sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Hoffman said he expects the House to pass the amended bill sometime this week, which is the last week of the General Assembly’s legislative session.

Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, sponsored the bill in the Senate while state Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, is a co-sponsor in the House to give the bill bipartisan support.

The legislation number is House Bill 3693.

Hoffman said he has not yet talked to the Rauner administration to see if the Republican governor would sign the bill. He said he would do this if the House passes the amended bill.

The legislation would allow the five-member township board to pass a resolution calling for the dissolution of the township and transfer the township duties to the city of Belleville.

Hoffman said the bill is worded so that it only would apply to Belleville Township and that a referendum by the public is not needed.

Township trustees Joy Schreiber and Joe Swierczek have indicated support for the dissolution. Supervisor Dennis Korte Sr. has declined to comment while trustees Joyce Laux and Joe Hubbard have said they would consider the idea.

Belleville City Clerk Dallas Cook, who is also clerk of the township, has been a vocal advocate for the dissolution of the township. He hosted a public meeting in February about the topic and most of the people attending the meeting supported dissolution of the township.

Contact reporter Mike Koziatek at mkoziatek@bnd.com or 618-239-2502. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeKoziatekBND.

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