IBJNews

Reports say Indiana townships inefficient

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

New investigations reported in two Indiana newspapers on Sunday say there are widespread patterns of inefficiency in the government of the state's 1,008 townships.

The reports in The Herald-Times of Bloomington and The Indianapolis Star come as Gov. Mitch Daniels continues pushing to eliminate townships as a layer of government.

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.

According to The Herald-Times, 133 township trustees failed to comply with a new state law requiring them to file their annual reports electronically.

"The very idea that we think it's OK for a local elected official not to account for our hard-earned money? That's just not democratic," said Marilyn Schultz, a former Indiana state budget director and legislator.

Six-hundred-sixty-six out of the 875 trustees who did report say they used township funds to pay somebody with the same last name, a sign of possible nepotism, the Bloomington paper said. Daniels has described nepotism as a major problem in township government.

Trustees spent $24.2 million in administration to deliver $24.4 million in relief for the poor, or one dollar in administration for each dollar in services provided. Townships also continue accumulating money at a time of tight government budgets, the Star reported. It said townships reported $294 million on hand at the end of 2009, compared with $207 million two years earlier.

Cash balances on hand in 2009 were equal to 80 percent of what townships spent that year, up from 60 percent in 2007, the Indianapolis paper said.

Daniels said the investigation "furnishes new and powerful proof this is a real problem."

On Tuesday and for the fourth straight year, Daniels said in his State of the State address that Indiana should abolish township governments and transfer their duties such as providing poor relief and fire protection to county or city officials.

Daniels described townships as "antique" and "obsolete." The proposal grows out of a 2007 report from a commission created by Daniels and led by former Democratic Gov. Joe Kernan and Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Who would design a system like this?
    If you were starting all over and designing government and delivery of services from the ground up, I would venture to guess that no one would design a system that included trustees except for current trustees.
  • sure
    Twp's have done this to themselves. Goodness didnt they realize that everyone has been watching like a hawk for the last 5 years, yet they continue to grow their bank roles.
    But wait, who is going to get that money and responsibility? Who is going to purchase the fire trucks and mow the cemeteries, the poor relief? The county the state? Do you think there isnt nepotism at these levels too? What happened to welfare that was given at the county level? Pushed up to the state, now who do you turn to in need (while you wait on the state) the twp trustee. Look it is just a power grab and money grab, and we fell for it. If the trustee's would have watched their p's and q's and presented two, four or five year plans that detailed what they are saving the funds for, then maybe we could have kept the closes layer of government.
  • No Comments ???
    I'm surprised there are no comments on this story. $24m in wasteful administrative cost to distribute $24m in entitlements. Really? BTW - Entitlement means money earned by you, taken away by the government, mismanaged with the remainder given to other people you don't know. This is yet another fact proving the government machine is terribly inefficient and a monster which has grown far too fat. Go Get'em, Mitch. You've got my vote.

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. I never thought I'd see the day when a Republican Mayor would lead the charge in attempting to raise every tax we have to pay. Now it's income taxes and property taxes that Ballard wants to increase. And to pay for a pre-K program? Many studies have shown that pre-K offer no long-term educational benefits whatsoever. And Ballard is pitching it as a way of fighting crime? Who is he kidding? It's about government provided day care. It's a shame that we elected a Republican who has turned out to be a huge big spending, big taxing, big borrowing liberal Democrat.

  2. Why do we blame the unions? They did not create the 11 different school districts that are the root of the problem.

  3. I was just watching an AOW race from cleveland in 1997...in addition to the 65K for the race, there were more people in boats watching that race from the lake than were IndyCar fans watching the 2014 IndyCar season finale in the Fontana grandstands. Just sayin...That's some resurgence modern IndyCar has going. Almost profitable, nobody in the grandstands and TV ratings dropping 61% at some tracks in the series. Business model..."CRAZY" as said by a NASCAR track general manager. Yup, this thing is purring like a cat! Sponsors...send them your cash, pronto!!! LOL, not a chance.

  4. I'm sure Indiana is paradise for the wealthy and affluent, but what about the rest of us? Over the last 40 years, conservatives and the business elite have run this country (and state)into the ground. The pendulum will swing back as more moderate voters get tired of Reaganomics and regressive social policies. Add to that the wave of minority voters coming up in the next 10 to 15 years and things will get better. unfortunately we have to suffer through 10 more years of gerrymandered districts and dispropionate representation.

  5. Funny thing....rich people telling poor people how bad the other rich people are wanting to cut benefits/school etc and that they should vote for those rich people that just did it. Just saying..............

ADVERTISEMENT