Bill # and Title: HB 1005 – Township Government Consolidation
Author: Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville)
Summary: Requires all townships with a population of less than 1,200 (as determined by the 2010 federal decennial census) to merge with other townships, effective not later than January 1, 2023. Requires merging townships to adopt identical resolutions and a merger plan. Requires the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) to assist merging townships. Makes numerous other changes regarding township administration. Urges the Legislative Council to assign to the appropriate interim study committee the task of studying issues related to the funding of township firefighting services. Makes the numerous changes in the government reorganization statutes in IC 36-1.5 (government modernization statutes).
Chamber Position: Support
Status: Amended in the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday and then passed 15-7; full House vote coming on Monday.

Update/Chamber Action: The Ways and Means Committee removed the provisions that were inserted last week in the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. Those additions had allowed for a levy appeal for township assistance and maximum levy increase to account for fire protection loans. The fiscal nature of those provisions was the reason the bill was recommitted to Ways and Means.

The Chamber has been working on this important bill for months and continues to strongly promote its need and merits. And this go-round, the very group this directly impacts – the Indiana Township Association – also backed the legislation in testimony.

Unfortunately, however, there are opponents who refuse to recognize the value of updating the present antiquated structure that maintains four elected officials to provide very limited functions to a very small number of people. Never mind that the exact same functions are administered by another four officials in an adjacent small jurisdiction. This will be voted on by the full House on Monday, which is the deadline for House bills to be passed and sent to the Senate. We expect this to be a very close vote.

Call for Action: Please contact your state representative today and urge them to support this common sense and long overdue bill to make township government more efficient.

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