As the executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, I would like to respond to the Jan. 5 editorial that called into question Illinois' local units of government — especially townships — and called for their consolidation.
This is an age-old argument based on little facts and knowledge about what townships actually do.
Township officials across the state work tirelessly to provide essential services effectively and efficiently, and we often do it far under the radar. The fact of the matter is, if townships were consolidated into a larger unit of government, it would be extremely difficult to provide services to residents with the same efficiency and accuracy as townships.
Eliminating townships will not save taxpayer dollars. A recent analysis by respected public policy researcher Wendell Cox discovered that smaller, local governments have lower costs per capita than larger local governments. He also found that in Illinois, the smallest local governments generally spent half as much per capita as those with local governments of populations between 10,000 to 250,000 residents.
The argument that smaller units of government in Illinois are ineffective and costly is simply not true. We need to look at the facts: If local government units were consolidated into larger units of government, taxpayers would pay MORE, because the larger governments have higher cost structures.
This would certainly not be a step in the right direction for Illinois taxpayers.
BRYAN E. SMITH
Township Officials of Illinois