Letters and Township Government and Opinion and Government & Economic Development and Government

Township officials offer valuable service

March 16, 2009

Referencing your March 2 editorial "Township offices have to go," I must take issue. Your basic premise seems to be that township government fulfills no needs of the community; cost far in excess of services rendered and could be seamlessly duplicated by county or state government.

Let me speak for my township and dozens of others not mentioned in the "Fourth Estate's" feverish effort to expose corruption at the lowest levels.

We provide many services for the community, molded by back-yard input, which enhance quality of life. We saw the need for coordinated planning and zoning and established a joinder agreement with the city of Westfield so that the entire township was developed by a standard set of rules. We saw the need for seamless fire protection from city to county and established a joint agreement to fund operations and capital needs.

We lacked parks programs and recreation opportunities. A park department was formed, land donated or purchased. Programs have been implemented for children and adults costing less than $2 per person from our tax base. We saw the futility of the "dog tax" law ($20 administrative cost for every $1 collected) and spearheaded reform legislation.

And finally, poor relief, or "township assistance," as it is known today. As the "unseen" of our community struggled, we expanded our hours and set specific guidelines for help that mirror all federal and state poverty-assistance guidelines. We have established cooperative programs with churches, social agencies and other government agencies. All of this done swiftly, primarily because it was done locally without a layered government-approval process. What sets society apart and solidifies its stature is how it treats and cares for the weakest of its members. Ours are treated with dignity and compassion and none go hungry or homeless.

My legislators do not pander to me and they expect that I deliver the services I swore I would — using less than $130,000 a in taxes.

___

David D. Gill
Trustee, Washington Township, Hamilton County

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