Your editorial “Township effort needs all our help” (May 1) accurately describes the primary functions of the civil servants working in more than 1,400 townships across Illinois. Townships provide general assistance for those in need, including food, shelter and emergency relief, assessment of real property for the basis of local taxation, and maintain 71,000 miles of roads and bridges outside federal, state and local jurisdiction.

As executive director of the Township Officials of Illinois, I can tell you that townships are an extremely efficient and cost-effective unit of government. A recent study by respected public policy researcher Wendell Cox proves that the smallest governments generally spent half as much per capita as those with local governments of populations between 10,000 to 250,000 residents. Much of the township cost savings come from salaries – for example, township salaries are 40 percent lower than state salaries. Plus, townships much more frequently save money by employing a more cost-conscious, part-time labor force.

We seem to agree that the services provided by township government are necessary, so let’s look at the facts and remember that township services are delivered at a lower cost than if they were delivered by their larger government counterparts.

Bryan Smith

Executive director

Township Officials of Illinois


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