Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

October 10, 2012

Township merger topic at forum

Voter education group hosting Greentown event

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

— Politicians may love to talk about shrinking the government, but rarely do voters ever get a chance to do the job themselves.

That’s part of why members of the Howard County chapter of the League of Women Voters are proud to be putting on a forum this Thursday to explain efforts to reduce the number of township trustees in the far-eastern part of Howard County.

If voters in Liberty, Union and Jackson townships vote “yes” to a public question on Election Day, three township trustee offices will be consolidated into one.

Voters can learn more about what’s at stake starting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Greentown Public Library, 420 S. Harrison St., Greentown (inside the school).

Sandra Grant, head of the local chapter, said Tuesday she’s concerned not enough voters understand they’ll be asked to decide the issue Nov. 6.

The ballot question will read: “Shall Jackson Township, Liberty Township and Union Township reorganize as a single political subdivision?”

A “yes” vote approves merging the townships; a “no” vote is to leave things the way they are.

Grant said she’s in favor of consolidation, but said the league is having the meeting to inform voters, not to try and sway them one way or another.

In addition to having one trustee to administer poor relief, fire protection and mow cemeteries in the three townships, the newly consolidated office would be governed by a single board.

If approved, the change wouldn’t happen for two years.

If voters approve the consolidations in the November election, the first election of a merged township board and one trustee would take place in November 2014. The new government entity would begin existence on Jan. 1, 2015.

On the other side of Howard County, a proposed consolidation of Ervin, Clay and Howard townships will also be on the November ballot with a referendum question, Grant said.

As with the eastern Howard County consolidation, only voters in those townships will get to vote on the question.

• Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com