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Senate OKs bill to eliminate township boards

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Township boards would be eliminated in Indiana and their duties would be transferred to the county level starting in 2013 if a Statehouse proposal becomes law.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted 29-19 Thursday for the bill, which now moves to the Democrat-led House for consideration.

The bill is among several measures that would consolidate or revamp township government. The Indiana House has passed a proposal that would let voters decide in November whether to eliminate their township trustees and boards.

Critics say township government is antiquated and expensive, while supporters say it's the form of government closest to the people.

Still, many voters would be hard-pressed to identify their township leaders, let alone evaluate their performance. And questions about their efficiency linger.

IBJ reported in 2008 that former Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer’s office collected an average of $6.9 million in the previous seven years—mostly from taxes—to help needy residents, but only $2 million reached the penniless. At the same time, the office built up a surplus fund to a high of $10.4 million and accumulated a $10 million portfolio of mostly vacant properties.

Oversight of the office falls to Center Township's board, which meets at least four times a year, but meeting records show they seldom discussed financial details at length.

Consolidating government has been on Gov. Mitch Daniels' to-do list for years. Before the 2009 legislative session, he announced a series of recommendations that would eliminate thousands of elected officials at the county and township levels.

His move came after a 2007 report by the bipartisan Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform recommended similar changes, and voters in 2009 approved the elimination of township assessors in favor of a single county assessor.

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

  2. Merchants Square is back. The small strip center to the south of 116th is 100% leased, McAlister’s is doing well in the outlot building. The former O’Charleys is leased but is going through permitting with the State and the town of Carmel. Mac Grill is closing all of their Indy locations (not just Merchants) and this will allow for a new restaurant concept to backfill both of their locations. As for the north side of 116th a new dinner movie theater and brewery is under construction to fill most of the vacancy left by Hobby Lobby and Old Navy.

  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

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