Updated: February 17, 2013 6:32AM
Regular readers of this page know that one of our most strongly held positions is reducing the huge number of taxing districts in Illinois that duplicate services and waste public funds.
Illinois is among the worst states in categories such as its level of public debt, long-term pension liability and financing of public education. But it’s No. 1 in taxing districts with nearly 7,000 — about 2,100 more than second-place Pennsylvania.
That includes lots of small library, fire protection and sanitary districts and about 300 school districts that have only one school. There’s also township government, an outdated form of representation that’s a throwback to the 19th century.
Little, if anything, done by township government cannot be handled by county government. But there are 1,432 townships in Illinois — each run by elected officials.
One of the more unnecessary government bodies is the township school board, which, despite its name, has nothing to do with township government. The board only oversees the township school treasurer, whose job it is to invest funds for the school districts in the township and process their payroll and bills — tasks that could be handled by each school district’s business office.
We were reminded of this frustratingly wasteful slice of local government because the Bremen Township School Board is looking at giving township school Treasurer Joseph McDonnell a 13 percent raise over two years to bring his annual salary to about $167,000. That’s a lot of money for a job that has been eliminated in other Cook County townships, including Orland and Palos townships.
You may not think that having all these little local governments is a big deal. We suggest you take a close look at your property tax bill and add up how much you pay each year to keep them operating. You made need a Xanax.
McDonnell shouldn’t get the raise. The township school board should give taxpayers a break and back a referendum to disband his office and itself. We can dream, can’t we?