Starke County Townships could be affected if another attempt to transfer their duties to the county level is successful.
House Bill 1309 was recently filed and looks to dissolve township governments. The transition would take place by 2019. Starke County has nine townships with hundreds more in the state of Indiana.
Mark Allen has been Oregon Township Trustee for the last five years. He has spent time in the past lobbying against similar measures. Allen says House Bill 1309 is a poor bill.
“I wish the state legislators would stand down from local government,” says Allen. “This is the best government, and the most efficient government you can find because it’s in touch with the people on an everyday basis.”
If signed into law, the bill would transfer services such as fire protection, cemetery maintenance, parks, and libraries under the duty of the county government. It would also allow county governments to levy greater property taxes to pay Township indebtedness.
Allen says he believes there is plenty Townships can do more effectively than county government.
“You have to be accountable for your own Township, you get funding from your own Township, so if your Township is in a good area and is getting growth, then you can grow with that,” says Allen.
The process for transferring services to the county level remains to be seen, but Allen says ensuring outlying areas of Indiana’s counties don’t get left behind will be key.
Allen says he does not believe House Bill 1309 will pass.