State Legislature to Discuss the Elimination of Township Government this Session

State Representative Nancy Dembowski

Will this be the session of the State Legislature when township government is done away with? Governor Mitch Daniels would like for it to be eliminated. Indiana has more than 1,000 townships. The Trustees and Advisory Boards are responsible for fire protection and poor relief, among other things.

WKVI News asked State Representative Nancy Dembowski (D-Knox) gives us her perspective on the possible elimination of township government.

“The elimination of township government was one of the things he [Governor Daniels] wants to see accomplished,” stated Representative Dembowski. “For a while, we heard just Advisory Boards. Now he swings back on the elimination of total township government. We certainly have reason to suspect that those bills will be brought forward. I have not seen them. I don’t know exactly what they include, but they will be brought forward.”

Dembowski said township government in the rural counties is a lot different than in those with huge cities.

“A township in Starke County or in Marshall County is an entirely different animal, so to speak, than a township in Marion County,” she explained. “In Marion County, you have townships with hundreds of thousands people in the township. They have not only a Trustee, but they have many people who work for that Trustee and the Trustee makes a very high salary. So do Advisory Board members. They do administer to a lot of people. I have not found any support in my District for the elimination of township government. Unless I see something different, that is probably the way I will vote when the time comes, however we don’t have the votes to stop that. And yet I don’t detect a total support for that, even on the Governor’s side.”

The elimination of township government was a recommendation in the Kernan-Shepherd Commission Report of 2007.