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Column

Tuesday will be a big day for townships

Annual town meetings are coming up. If you’ve never seen your township government up close and personal, Tuesday will be a good opportunity to do so.

April has already seen several big days.

If you’re a Christian, you celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

If you’re a college basketball fan, you watched the NCAA championship game Monday where Villanova dominated Michigan to win the title.

For people who live in townships (that’s all of us around here), another big day looms.

On Tuesday, April 10, townships in 85 counties across Illinois, including Bureau County, will convene their annual town meetings.

This longstanding tradition is required by law and allows members of the public to attend to get a better understanding of what their local townships are doing.

People who attend can stand for election as meeting moderators if they wish, listen to annual reports, and participate in decisions through their roles as township “electors.”

Townships exist to maintain roads and bridges, assess property, and provide general assistance to the poor. Some townships have expanded beyond those traditional roles. In nearby Whiteside County, for example, Sterling Township conducts programs for local youths.

Advertisements for annual town meetings have been running in the public notice section of newspapers to alert residents to these gatherings.

Those notices are also posted online on a website maintained by the Illinois Press Association titled Public Notice Illinois.

We searched the website for times of township annual meetings in Bureau County this coming Tuesday, and here is what we found:

6 p.m. — Princeton, Ohio, Walnut, Berlin, Arispie.

6:05 p.m. — Bureau.

6:30 p.m. — Greenville, Fairfield, Mineral, Indiantown.

6:45 p.m. — Wyanet.

7 p.m. — Manlius, LaMoille, Westfield.

7:30 p.m. — Milo, Wheatland, Gold, Leepertown.

Bureau County has seven other townships — Clarion, Dover, Concord, Selby, Hall, Neponset and Macon — but public notices of their meetings were not to be found after several searches of Public Notice Illinois.

Townships bill themselves as the unit of government that is closest to the people, and annual town meetings represent a big day for township government.

We encourage members of the taxpaying public to spend part of their evening Tuesday finding out more about their local townships and how these units of government are choosing to spend the public’s tax dollars.

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