MORRIS – If township government were a religion, today – annual township meeting day – would be “highest of holy days,” according to Bryan Smith, Executive Director of Township Officials of Illinois.
Each year on the second Tuesday in April, every township in Illinois holds an annual meeting where members of the public have the opportunity to vote on issues included on the meeting’s agenda.
“It’s the only form of government that we have today where the voters can have a direct say in any matter that is discussed or voted upon,” Smith said. “You don’t get that with the federal government, state government or even the county government.”
The annual township meeting day has been required by state statue since 1850 when townships became a facet of local government, Smith said.
The 17 townships within Grundy County will be no exception as all of them will open their doors to the public tomorrow. Residents can only vote on items included on that night’s agenda, Smith said.
“Somebody just can’t go to the meeting and decide what they want to vote on. It has to be on the agenda,” he said.
All townships will present their respective treasurer’s report and most will include project updates from township road commissioners.
“This meeting kind of winds up our fiscal year,” Aux Sable Township Supervisor Timothy Harms said. “We just go over what was done and the money that was allocated to us for different projects.”
Harms said about 15 community members show up for the annual meeting each year.
As part of the statue, each township will elect a moderator for the meeting to run the meeting in place of the supervisor.
“We elect a moderator from the public that attends, or if there is no public, one of our trustees does it,” Saratoga Township Supervisor William Smith said.
He said Saratoga usually does not have a large public audience for its meetings, but encouraged the public to attend tomorrow’s meeting if they want an opportunity to be involved with their local government.
“Our doors are always open to our voters,” Smith said.