Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewitz says that with voter approval of the township abolition referendum Tuesday he will ask the City Council to approve a plan to shut down the township by the end of next month.

Bobkiewicz says all township services will be transitioned to the city and “the commitment to serving our residents in need will continue with the City of Evanston.”

He said it’s only the third time in Illinois history, and the first time since 1932, that voters have decided to dissolve a township.

Bobkiewicz says that under his plan responsibilities for general assistance and emergency programs will transfer to the city’s Health Department. Responsibility for property tax assessment advising services will transfer to the city’s Administrative Services Department.

“These services to the public will continue unchanged,” the manager added.

Regarding the township supervisor’s office, Bobkiewicz said:

  • Health Director Evonda Thomas-Smith has been supervising the operations of the Township’s general assistance program since last October and will continue in this function.
  • The three existing township general assistance staff members have been offered employment with the city to continue their work.  The township personnel/finance clerk has been notified that her position will be eliminated and a transition plan for her separation has been determined.

Bobkiewicz, in a statement, said, “I thank the staff of the township supervisor for their outstanding work and express my appreciation to Director Thomas-Smith for her efforts to expand the reach of these important services.”

In addition, the existing township deputy assessor position will become a re-titled full-time position within the Administrative Services Department and will continue providing the same property taxpayer assistance as before.

Bobkiewicz says the city will recruit for an individual to fill that position. “I have asked Assistant City Manager/CFO Marty Lyons to work closely with Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson during this transition.  I also extend my thanks to Assessor Wilson for her professionalism and deep commitment to the taxpayers of Evanston during her service,” the city manager added.

The City Council’s Rules Committee will meet on April 7 to review these plans. Evanston Township will hold its annual meeting as scheduled on April 8.  It is anticipated that the Town Board will have its final meeting on April 28 and take actions to effect the dissolution of the Township, formally transferring its responsibilities to the City of Evanston.

While Evanston Township will be dissolved, Bobkiewicz added, the commitment of the City of Evanston to help those in need continues.  The City already provides social services through our many departments and will work to integrate Township services into existing City programs.

“The City is committed to continue and enhance the reach of the Township’s general assistance and emergency assistance services to residents in need as well as continue the important advising services associated with property tax assessments, Bobkiewicz said. “While economic efficiencies will be gained with this transition of services, the City is committed to assure that the compassion and caring required to deliver them continues as well.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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