IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: Township reform must not fail again

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
IBJ Editorial

How the view has changed since January. Back then, it appeared this finally would be the year for local government reform. After all, Gov. Mitch Daniels touted it as one of his legislative priorities in his State of the State address. And Republicans control both chambers of the Legislature for the first time in five years.

“Some of the changes are so obvious that our failure to make them is a daily embarrassment,” Daniels said.

We agree.

“Today, over 4,000 politicians, few of them known to the voters they represent, run over 1,000 township governments. … Some have eight years of spending needs stashed in the bank, yet they keep collecting taxes.”

Despite the absurdity of the situation Daniels described, legislative efforts at statewide township reform have crumbled again this year. But there is still hope for Marion County. Senate Bill 246 would eliminate township boards and assign most township duties to Marion County government.

The bill is not perfect. For example, a provision to consolidate the three remaining township fire departments into the Indianapolis Fire Department unfortunately was stripped out.

Still, it’s another step down the road to improving the efficiency and transparency of local government. With property tax caps putting the squeeze on budgets, it’s foolhardy for townships to be sitting on millions that could be funding needed services. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance has said Marion County townships spend $1.32 for every dollar in services they provide. We cannot afford such ridiculous overhead expenses.

SB 246 on April 19 gained bipartisan support when Democratic Rep. Maryann Sullivan, of Indianapolis, signed on as a sponsor of the bill, which was authored by Republican Sen. Jim Merritt, also of Indianapolis.

We take that as a sign the General Assembly is finally serious about streamlining local government, at least in this one important county. Township governance has outlived its usefulness. The time for reform is now.

Death of a preservationist

Bill Cook was a lot of things: an entrepreneur, a leader, a healer, a philanthropist. But his legacy as a preservationist is perhaps more important, because it is so rare.

Back in 1960, business leaders such as Eli Lilly and Herman Krannert founded the statewide preservation organization known today as Indiana Landmarks.

What prominent businesspeople today are leading the effort to protect our architecture, aside from the occasional CEO willing to write a check and slap his company’s name on a building? Cook, founder of Bloomington-based medical-device giant Cook Group, restored some of our state’s most treasured places not just with his wallet, but with sweat, and heart.

The West Baden Springs Hotel in French Lick and, more recently, the Old Centrum on Central Avenue are among the 57 historic Indiana structures that Cook and his wife are credited with saving. When he died April 15, he left the state much in his debt.

To Cook, preserving buildings meant preserving communities and promoting economic vitality. Indiana could use more of that, and more people like Bill Cook. We hope to see other business leaders, inspired by his vision and dedication, step in to build on his legacy.•

__________

To comment on these editorials, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

ADVERTISEMENT