Henry County discussing township consolidation

CAMBRIDGE, Illinois - The Henry County Board is looking at ways to save money and run the county more efficiently.

"Our leaders are constantly telling us that there`s too many taxing districts and that`s whats killing the state," said county board chairman Roger Gradert

A new Illinois law allows residents to consolidate townships and that got the board thinking, what if they also combined school districts, or park districts and libraries? Right now, the county has 155 taxing bodies, 24 of those are townships.

"What can they eliminate? What do they think should be combined," said Gradert.

The county would look at all taxing bodies. For example, it wouldn't eliminate schools but instead, there would be one school district for all schools in the county.

"Do we need 14 different school districts or could one school district, one set of administration handle the schools? 55,000 people that`s not even the size of Rock Island County and Rock Island has one school district," said Gradert.

Gradert says consolidation could help the county save money on administrative costs and prevent some of the overlap taxpayers see on their bills.

"I live in a rural area by Andover I pay Cambridge school district, I pay Andover township, I pay Osco fire department so right there are three overlays now that you have in your area," said Gradert.

The county's executive committee will hold a special meeting to discuss what taxing bodies should be consolidated and how they should get the public's input. Whether it's a referendum on the November 2018 ballet or through a survey sent out.

A date for that meeting hasn't been set yet.