Monday, August 6, 2018

What is township government?

There are many times that I talk to voters and they have no idea that township government even exists, confusing it with city council or county council. This is one of the reasons I am running, to increase visibility of township government, make sure voters know what the township is doing and how the township is spending our tax money.

Monroe County has 11 townships. Imagine the county is sliced into twelve segments - three townships east-west and four townships north-south. (One of the townships is the geographical size of two townships, which is why we have 11 instead of 12.) Each township has four elected officials - a township trustee who acts as administrator, and a township advisory board that approves the budget and advises the trustee.

So why should you care what township government does? Perry Township spends $1.1 million dollars a year. According to IFIOnline.org, Perry Township government spent $1,109,989.17 in 2017. That is a large sum of money, and we need to make sure we are watching what township government is doing. The money involved is why my first campaign statement was to increase transparency by making sure all agendas are posted online and that meetings are held after the work day is over so taxpayers can attend. With that much money, there is simply no excuse not to go above and beyond the minimum legal requirements of transparency.

So what does township government do? Primarily, Perry Township provides social services. If you are about to be evicted from your apartment, if you are homeless, if you are about to have your electricity turned off, or if you have a financial emergency, the Perry Township Trustee is where you can go for help. Perry Township assistance is not an "entitlement" program, as benefits do not continue automatically. The township provides emergency assistance and points people where they can get ongoing help.

Township government also mows overgrown vegetation, resolves fence line disputes and maintains abandoned cemeteries.