Bill # and Title: HB 1005 – Township Government Matters
Author: Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville)
Summary: Requires all townships with a population of less than 1,200 to merge with other townships, effective not later than January 1, 2023. Provides that in all township mergers, the township board members of the new township government are elected at-large. Allows a township assistance applicant to appeal to the county commissioners if a township trustee: (1) refuses to provide the applicant with a township assistance application; or (2) fails to respond within a specified time to a telephone request for township assistance services. Amends the information required in the township trustee’s annual statistical report. Eliminates the requirement that a township publish its annual abstract of receipts and expenditures. Prohibits a township board from approving a township board member’s salary, for calendar year 2019 and every year thereafter, that exceeds $5,000 per year. … Prohibits the township from collecting property taxes for certain capital improvement funds in the ensuing year unless the township has adopted a capital improvement plan.​​​​
Chamber Position: Support
Status: Passed 10-0 by the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee; now recommitted to the Ways and Means Committee.

Update/Chamber Action: The bill was amended in the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee to provide that one of the board members of the newly-formed township reside in the previously existing, merged township. It was also amended to allow for adjustments to township levies. Given the fiscal nature of the levy adjustments, the bill’s next stop is the House Ways and Means Committee.

The Chamber is engaged in discussions with various interested parties to promote a responsible consideration of the fiscal aspects of township needs in relation to the services they provide and in connection with the merger of townships. The Chamber believes that some level of levy adjustments is not unreasonable and will help facilitate the objective of this bill: to take structural steps that will improve the functions of townships by making them more effective and efficient.

This bill represents a long-standing priority of the Indiana Chamber. Of note: The Indiana Township Association (ITA) also supports the legislation; ITA Executive Director Debbie Driskell said her members largely believe it’s time for reform and for some townships to merge, and that doing so will allow townships to improve their services.

Resource: Bill Waltz at (317) 264-6887 or e-mail: [email protected]