Now time to take township consolidation seriously

Kokomo Tribune

State Rep. Mike Karickhoff, R-Kokomo, has authored seven bills and co-authored two more for the 2015 legislative session.

“By managing our finances responsibly and making strategic investments, we can cultivate an economy that will thrive for years to come,” he said after his appointment as Budget Subcommittee chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Karickhoff’s House Bill 1179 is an example of an investment that would put more money in Howard County coffers. If signed into law, a person who works in one county but lives in another would pay 25 percent of an income tax imposed by the county where he or she is employed. About 9,000 Howard County workers live somewhere else.

Karickhoff really got our attention last session, co-authoring a bill that would’ve merged all townships into a single entity. Similar legislation is back in 2015 as House Bill 1309, with Rep. Cindy Ziemke, R-Batesville, as its author.

House Bill 1309 doesn’t merge but dissolves all townships, except those in Marion County, and transfers their powers to county governments.

Finally, perhaps, our state legislators will take seriously the consolidation recommendations of the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform. Some in Howard County did. Longtime Center Township Trustee Jean Lushin was among them, as were the boards of Clay, Howard and Liberty townships.

All voted to take to referendum a proposal to consolidate townships along school corporation boundaries.

The plan failed in 2012.

A survey of 452 registered voters discovered 61 percent were in favor of some sort of township merger, Lushin told us in 2011. And 35 percent of those advocating consolidation supported reducing townships within school districts.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to awoods@tribtown.com.