Republicans May Take Another Stab at Township Consolidation Next Year
(INDIANAPOLIS) - House Republicans say they aren't giving up on eliminating some townships, after killing the bill for this year.
Republicans made the elimination of Indiana's 300 smallest townships one of their top priorities for the session, in the name of government efficiency. But they ended up pulling the bill without a vote after encountering fierce opposition.
Speaker Brian Bosma acknowledges it may never be possible to overcome those objections. But he says this year's debate revealed some issues that should be included. He says another try next year would include some sort of protection for low-tax townships who might jack up. There are also concerns about volunteer fire departments -- Bosma says he doesn't think that's really a problem, but says the bill can address it specifically.
The bill would have forced 300 townships with fewer than 12-hundred people -- including one in Gibson County with 30 -- to merge with neighboring ones.
Governor Mitch Daniels tried a decade ago to abolish townships, and got nowhere. Bosma notes referenda across the state did eliminate all but about 50 township assessors. And a smattering of townships have taken advantage of a law allowing them to merge on their own.
This year's proposal would have affected two townships in Boone, Morgan, Shelby and Madison Counties, four in Henry County, and all but two of Rush County's 12.
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)