I've written about this before, but City of Champaign Township voters today will see this question on their ballots:
Shall the voters of the City of Champaign Township request that the City of Champaign Township Trustees actively pursue any and all means available to them to increase the funding level for General Assistance aid to residents in extreme poverty (1) to match the current average funding level for General Assistance among townships for the cities of Springfield, Bloomington, Peoria and Urbana and (2) by increasing property tax no more than $25 for a median-value single-family home in the first year and adjusting this for inflation in subsequent years?
So here's a little voter education:
The program is a form of welfare that fulfills a state mandate that townships provide general assistance to their residents. General assistance is basic welfare that provides clients with a cash payment each month to purchase essential life needs. The City of Champaign Township program requires that its beneficiaries be physically or mentally incapable of working.
The question is a bit late, because it slipped through the cracks the first time around. Town hall voters in 2009 approved placing the referendum on the ballot, which means the town board subsequently had to approve it in order to send it to the county clerk. The referendum never made it onto a town board agenda (it was "forgotten," as Assistant City Attorney Trisha Crowley put it in April) until recently (one year late).
And while Township Supervisor Pam Borowski says the fund is stable and the property tax increase would not be necessary, some people say the City of Champaign Township needs to do more. City of Champaign Township homeowners pay less in property taxes to the general assistance fund than do homeowners in the other communities named in the ballot question.
It's only an advisory referendum, and its outcome does not obligate township officials to do anything. I'll have further details later this week after we know the results of the referendum.