This is the kind of special meeting that will satisfy a constituency. We rarely receive good news on the tax front, so Decatur Township's officials' announcement last week brings a nice jolt of happiness.
Decatur Township’s board of trustees plans to drop its tax levy for the coming year. The just-approved levy is $60,000 below the levy approved last fall.
As Township Supervisor Lisa Stanley said after the special meeting, “We’ve really just tightened up on stuff. There’s really just no need to continue taking in money from our taxpayers and just letting it sit.”
Among the cuts have been a decision to cut the salaries of all elected officials. The cuts will generate an annual savings of at least $40,000.
Another important decision was the board's resolution to cut bait on the Decatur Township building. The building had already turned into a money pit, and when the next planned piece of renovation came with an estimate of $107,405, the board said no. As the Herald & Review reported in June, $1.74 million had been shelled out on the 20,000-square-foot building in the past decade. That's another piece that's proving to be beneficial to township taxpayers.
The most quietly impressive analysis was also mention by Stanley, who noted the township had $1.2 million on hand, or more than half of its current budget of $2.34 million.
How often to you hear of a government agency's willingness to take less? For that outcome alone, Decatur Township officials are to be commended.
Earlier this year, we used this space to say “we think all units of Illinois government should redouble efforts to examine every penny being spent.” Decatur Township clearly did just that. It's not like the decision is a refund. Decatur Township, like any other taxing body, might be taking more than it really needs.
Then again, they might not. And it's their willingness to take less that can serve as a small Christmas-type gift to taxpayers.
You can't complain when government does what you ask.