A bill that would have allowed for downsizing of township government was effectively “put on ice” this week, according to the bill's sponsor.
House Bill 4968, sponsored by state Rep. Tom Demmer, would allow a township that shares the same boundaries with city to consolidate. However,Rep. Demmer said, a legislative maneuver on Wednesday by the Committee on Counties and Townships delayed the bill from moving forward.
“Unfortunately, this morning, the bill was sent to a subcommittee,” Demmer said. “Which in Springfield language means that the bill probably will not see the light of day again.”
Taxpayers are looking for ways to save money and eliminate redundant government, City Clerk Dallas Cook said.
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State lawmakers passed a bill last year to allow Belleville city and township to consolidate. Cook says consolidating the city and township in 2017 will save taxpayers in the Southern Illinois town $400,000 a year with no loss of services.
“As far as the residents are concerned, they’re saving money and getting the same exact thing,” Cook said. “So for them, it’s a no-brainer as it was to me, and that’s why I brought it forth.”
Despite the bill being sent to the House subcommittee on Counties and Townships, effectively killing the bill, Demmer said he hopes it can see new life in the Senate.
“I’m going to work with Sen.Pam Althoff to see if we’re able to get that bill passed in the Senate. I’d be able to pick that bill up in the House and hopefully continue the discussion and move that forward,” Demmer said.
According to data from the U.S. Census of Governments, Illinois has the most local governments of any state in the nation – more than 6,900 – more than double the number in Missouri and Wisconsin.