A referendum to abolish Evanston Township and have the city take over its duties seems headed for next March’s election ballot after an aldermanic committee voted 4-2 in favor of it Monday night.
To be placed on the ballot, the binding referendum still needs approval of the full City Council, but based on prior votes on the township dissolution question, it seems assured of getting at least the one additional vote it would need there.
Supporters of the referendum, including aldermen Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, and Jane Grover, 7th Ward, emphasized that the city plans to continue all the township’s services — including the general assistance program and the taxpayer advice now provided by the township assessor’s office.
But alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, and Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, said they oppose dissolution.
“It’s not because I don’t want more efficiency,” Braithwaite said, “But any time we make a major move there’s a plan in place.”
He suggested that the city’s potential takeover of township duties by the city hasn’t been fully planned out.
“I feel when it comes to those with less resources, we don’t listen with the same sensitivity” as with issues like the Harley Clarke mansion, Briathwaite said. “It’s really painful. We have yet to partake in any discussion with those affected. I think it’s very irresponsible to move this forward without this discussion.”
The township now has about 160 general assistance clients with another 27 cases pending.