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Republican legislators want to reduce townships

By John Estridge, Editor

Franklin County currently has 13 townships.

That will change if new legislation passes the Indiana General Assembly.

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 local 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 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.

In adjacent Union County, there is even more effect. The state's second-smallest county will lose four of its six townships. Only Union (1,600) and Center (3,000) would remain intact.

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, it 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.