State auditors are asking a township trustee in Grant County to repay taxpayers $56,628 following an audit that found she used township assistance funds to help herself and relatives, reported Indianapolis TV station WRTV recently:

(Fairmount Township Trustee) Sheila Metzger was appointed township trustee on Aug. 11, 2016 and elected to a four-year term from Jan. 1, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2022.

The (State Board of Accounts) investigation found Metzger and her relatives received township assistance benefits for utilities, rent, car expenses and food.

Auditors expressed concern that the township distributed the assistance without an application on file, and without supporting documentation.

This is yet another prime example of why the Indiana Chamber has been pushing for years to eliminate township government; it’s outdated, rarely used and ripe for this type of illegal activity. At a minimum, the General Assembly should finally move on reducing the number of townships through mergers in low-population areas and enhancing the oversight of fiscal matters. Both would be very positive steps forward.

Find out more in our new information sheet, Can We Afford Township Government? Hint: The answer is no!

Bill Waltz is vice president of taxation & public finance for the Indiana Chamber. He is also an attorney and has been with the organization for nearly 15 years.