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.

Related stories

Quinn signs bill on abolishing township

Township abolition bill passes both houses

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. About time

    What are Braithwaite and Holmes thinking. Any time you can eliminate a government office it is a victory for the people. Lord knows there is plenty of time for fine tuning a plan. Maybe they should start the ball rolling and stop complaining. Illinois has almost twice the government agencies and offices as any other state. This will be one down and thousands to go.

  2. Of course the city is not prepared

    "He suggested that the city's potential takeover of township duties by the city hasn't been fully planned out."


    Of course they did and will not prepare.  It robs them of power and size of government.

    They hope if they keep using the same excuses and don't plan/cooperate, the issue will die or be forgotten.

  3. Then Ask for a Plan

    If an Alderman/Township Trustee is concerned about not having a full plan, then it's their responsibility to ask staff for a full plan. Staff, ideally, takes direction from our elected officials.  I'm sure by March 2014, staff can put together a workable transition plan when this referendum is overwhelmingly approved by the Evanston electorate.

    These poor vs. rich comments don't contribute to a productive community.

  4. NonBinding Vote March, 2012

    In March,2012 the residents of Evanston voted  by a large margin to abolish the Township. The Township Trustees at that time had a pretty good idea that it was going to happen. Doesn't take much to start on a planning process. They have had a YEAR and HALF to spend a little time each week thinking.

  5. Rich vs. Poor

    The reaity is the dirt poor, homeless population is not a priority; nor are these people considered a "part "of the community by the well to do in Evanston. The diversity promotion is  a complete farce; and we are honest we all know it.

    1. You are so wrong

      Evanston is a compassionate community with many non-profits and faith based organizations spending a lot of time, effort, and resources to help those less fortunate.

      Please look at the work of the Evanston Community Foundation, Y.O.U., Connections for the Homeless, ESCCA (Evanston School Children's Clothing Association), YMCA, YWCA, Interfaith Action of Evanston, and the list goes on, and on and on.

      Many of these organizations have worked on behalf of people in need for generations and many Evanstonians have dedicated their lives to helping the poor. Your comment is completely wrong.

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