Smaller government entities, specifically townships, are an asset to Ohio and should remain in their current state without forced consolidation. Ohio's smaller local governments are more accessible and responsive, and they spend less. They are closer to the people and are better for Ohio.
A recent report by the Ohio township association indicates that townships spend less, borrow less and have lower taxes per capita than other local governments. The report is in response to the claim that smaller governments duplicate services, cost residents more money and could be reduced by joining with other government entities.
According to the report, all of Ohio's local governments spend a total of approximately $48 billion per year. Municipalities spend 21.3 percent of this amount, while townships spend only 2.7 percent with the balance of the spending by school districts, counties and special districts. And, in Ohio metropolitan areas, cities with more than 100,000 residents spent more than five times the per capita rate of local governments with populations of 1,000 to 2,500. The report also showed that per capita spending of Ohio's larger townships, with populations as high as 60,000, is less than cities of comparable size.
Townships have also entered the state's Local Government Fiscal Distress program less frequently than other government entities. Also, local taxes are less per capita in townships, both statewide and in metropolitan areas. And, townships spend less per capita and have less per capita debt service payments than villages and cities in the same population category.
Townships provide an attractive business climate and quality of life for their residents. In fact, virtually all of Ohio's population growth between 2000 and 2010 was in townships, with the growth rate being four times the state population growth rate.
Townships' governments are successfully delivering on the democratic values of superior accessibility and responsiveness, while competing economically with lower taxes and spending. Townships are an asset to Ohio and should remain in their current state without consolidation.
Gene Morris, president
Washington County Township Association