I've written about this before, but it became official on Tuesday night at the monthly town hall meeting. If you live in the City of Champaign Township, you will be asked this question when you vote in November:
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?
Yes or no?
The question sure is a mouthful, and you might be wasting your time by even reading through it, Township Supervisor Pam Borowski says. According to her, the general assistance fund, which only a couple years ago was at a critically low level (so low that it prompted residents to request this ballot referendum), has since stabilized. Borowski has been persistent in publicly expressing her opposition to the referedum.
The fund assists about 65 people per year who are physically or mentally incapable of working. The program was restructured in 2007, and as a result its fund balance is no longer in danger, Borowski said in April.
So why is the referendum just now showing up?
It's a slipped-through-the-cracks question. 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).
With its town board approval Tuesday night, the question will be sent to the county clerk in time for it to show up on the November ballot.