Kane Dist. 22 candidates disagree on township government
Bob Getz bills himself as “the curmudgeon who watches the budget” and, as such, if elected to the Kane County Board, he wants to save money by dissolving the township form of government.
Getz, a Democrat, is running for the Kane County Board’s seat in the 22nd district against Douglas Scheflow, a Republican.
The 22nd District includes parts of western Elgin and Elgin Township. Both men are running for the seat now occupied by Jackie Tredup, who is not seeking re-election.
Getz believes the township form of government is obsolete and he would seek to eliminate it by presenting it to voters via referendum.
The money Getz says would be saved from getting rid of township government could be returned to the taxpayers or used for community needs.
“We’ve got 16 assessors, we only need one in the county,” Getz said. “We‘ve got 16 supervisors, 64 trustees, why do we need that? We can do what these townships do without any trouble.”
While Scheflow wouldn’t oppose cost sharing or consolidating projects with other municipalities to save money, he’s doesn’t think getting rid of township government is the way to go.
“My fear is that you eliminate the 16 assessors and then you have 16 assessors down in Geneva that aren’t familiar with their local townships, don’t live in their local townships,” Scheflow said. “Cook County has one main assessor. That system is not as good as our local system.”
Keri-Lyn Krefthefer, an attorney who represents 45 townships in Illinois, says it would be very difficult to abolish the township form of government.
The issue would have to be decided via referendum in each township, but the law doesn’t say what happens if half of the townships vote to dissolve but the other half vote to remain in business.
The law also doesn’t cover who inherits the township’s assets and debt, or who would be responsible for providing assessments and other township services. If the answer is another unit of government, Krefthefer questions where the funding would come from.
“States that got rid of townships, when the service is provided by other local government, it’s more costly,” Krefthefer said.
Presented with this information, Getz said he wouldn’t propose anything until after completing an analysis on the costs and legal ramifications.
“It would be a responsibility of the county board, through its legal counsel, to ensure that the final results of an elimination of the township level of government would be to the advantage of the county and its residents,” Getz said.