What is the purpose of Township Government?
Township Government is the oldest form of government in our country. It has specific statutory responsibilities of property tax assessment and general assistance for those in need.
Set by law, Illinois townships are charged with basic functions. In accordance with Illinois law the City of Champaign Township provides: General Assistance for the indigent; the assessment of real property for the basis of local taxation, and is a responsive, respectful, cost effective service in partnership with our community.
The City of Champaign Township Assessor establishes the value of all real property in the Township. The Township Assessor is the only elected governmental official who must pass approved courses of instruction before standing for election to office.
The General Assistance division of the City of Champaign Township provides General Assistance-Transitional Assistance for eligible people who reside inside the city limits. Township assistance helps meet the most basic maintenance needs for the general health and well being of our poorest, most vulnerable citizens.
Why does the City of Champaign have Township Government?
Township Government is mandated by law to provide Property Assessment and General Assistance services. The township form of government was formed in 1860 to bring government closer to the people they served, and is divided into districts with 36-square–mile boundaries. The City of Champaign Township was formed in 1916 encompassing the City of Champaign, whereby it became a coterminous Township.
There are over 1400 townships in the State of Illinois and the City of Champaign Township is one of only 20 coterminous townships. Coterminous townships differ in responsibilities in that they don’t have responsibility for Road Districts, as this function is handled by the City.
According to the U.S. Census 2000, there are 13,398 (22.1%) individuals in the City of Champaign whose income is below the poverty levels. The demographic data clearly shows that poverty crosses all ages, genders and ethnicity in Champaign County. General Assistance is a mandate by the state to preserve the health and well-being of eligible residents who are poor and ineligible for other sources of support.
Under the Illinois Public Aid Code, any individual who satisfies the eligibility requirements is entitled to receive aid through the Township General Assistance-Transitional Assistance fund.
Specifically, the code states that “the Supervisor of General Assistance shall receive and pay out monies raised by taxes or allocated by the State for public aid purposes and shall provide public aid to all persons eligible”. See also 305 ILCS 5/6-1 (stating that “financial aid in meeting basic maintenance requirements shall be given under this Article to or in behalf of persons who meet the eligibility conditions”).