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UC townships could be reduced to 2

By John Estridge, Editor

Union County’s six townships could be reduced to two.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma unveiled a plan that would eliminate 300 townships statewide. Currently, there are 1,005 townships in the state. The legislation is being pushed by area state representative Cindy Ziemke (R-OLDENBURG).

Townships with less than 1,200 in population will be merged with other townships over the next five years.

In Union County, the state's second-smallest county in population and third smallest county in square miles will lose four of its six townships. Only Union (1,600) and Center (3,000) would remain intact.

In Franklin County, that would mean more than half, seven townships: Bath (369), Blooming Grove (1,154), Fairfield (537), Metamora (974), Posey (1,051), Salt Creek (1,004) and Springfield (1,156) would all cease to exist after being merged into larger adjacent townships.

Franklin County currently has 13 townships.

State government has been trying to eliminate township government for more than a decade. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is now the president of Purdue University, wanted to abolish township governments. Last year Ziemke tried to eliminate township advisory boards. However, the proposed bill did not get out of committee.

An attempt to contact Ziemke seeking comment on how the townships would be merged was unsuccessful.

State politicians are touting this as a cost-saving device, while those in opposition say this is just one of many attempts to do away with local government and supplant it with state control. Those in opposition say the Republican super majority in the state wants to do away with local school boards and local county government, supplanting it with state control.

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