Candidate for Treasurer's proposal on dissolving Capital Township

Candidate for Treasurer's proposal on dissolving Capital Township (WRSP)

A candidate running for Sangamon County Treasurer just announced his plan for a major change.

Bill McCarty, who is also the director of Springfield’s Budget and Management office, wants to get rid of what's known as the Capital Township.

Monday, his primary opponent, and the mayor voiced some support the general idea.

The Capital Township was created back in 1878, over 130 years ago.

It’s the only township that shares the same boundaries as Springfield.

They issue property taxes and provide some services the city and county don't, but that could change with this proposal.

"[Residents] are concerned,” said McCarty. “About their taxes going up. Certainly, we need to look at every opportunity that we have to reduce taxes where and when we can."

The township is its own taxing body which provides services like property assessment, property tax collection, and General assistance, which is a help to those who can't work, who are usually disabled or medically impaired.

McCarty said some services pertaining to ‘property’ overlap with the County and that we should dissolve the township because of the redundancy.

The County Treasurer, currently Tom Cavanagh, said he’s wary of putting these services under the city as he said they have their own budget problems to deal with. The Treasurer by default is the Capital Township supervisor.

"We have a track record of providing those services in a very efficient way,” said Cavanagh. “And the city of Springfield, not so much."

The other Republican candidate, Joe Aiello, former Sangamon County Clerk, said he supports the idea, but said the services should only go to the County. He said he hopes the General assistance program won't be impacted.

"I think it's important that we have continuity in service,” Aiello said. “And it's more important that they continue in the manner that they are right now."

If the township goes away, there could be job loss and the General assistance program could disappear.

"Certainly, if we get to the point where we eliminate the township and the duty goes away and someone is doing that duty, well then most likely that job will go away,” said McCarty.

There would still be the question of whether taxpayers will keep funding the General assistance program which amounts to about $1.2 million of the approximate total $2.5 million the Capital township works with.

For years, city leaders, including the mayor, have talked about consolidating of the township with other government entities to bring property tax relief. The mayor brought up this idea around seven years ago.

If the consolidation happens, it could save the average homeowner about $35 a year.

For this to come to fruition, the city and county would have to approve the proposal, and then the idea would go to a vote with the residents in the form of a referendum.

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