On April 16, Township Supervisor Patricia Vance gave a speech to the community and the trustees of Evanston Township that was in part a description of the state of the township and in part an emotional farewell to the position she has held for the past 12 years.
The Township of Evanston is coterminous with the City of Evanston; Evanston aldermen serve as Township trustees. Township Supervisor and Township Assessor are elected positions. The annual Town meeting is usually held the second Tuesday in April; however, because of the April 9 election, the meeting was set back one week.
The two main functions of Evanston Township government are to manage the General Assistance program, which offers financial assistance, job counseling and other assistance to its clients, and to provide help to residents who wish to appeal their property taxes.
There were 98 General Assistance clients in April and 148 in March, said Ms. Vance, which “reflects the current economics in Evanston.”
Last year, the Township donated $100,000 to the City of Evanston, said Ms. Vance: $40,000 for the emergency services program; $10,000 to purchase backpacks given to school children at the annual Community Picnic; and $60,000 for mental health and social services.
“All pension obligations are funded, and there has been a reduction in the property tax levy. The current rate is .0487,” she said. Ms. Vance said she leaves the Township in better shape than when she took office. “I have remained true to the oath I took in 2001. The Township remains in a position to continue these services to the community of Evanston.”
Township trustees praised her for her service, and Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl presented her with flowers.
Gary Gaspard, who prevailed in the April 9 election, will take over the position in May.
Township Assessor Bonnie Wilson also spoke at the April 16 Town meeting. She said she had “learned a lot” in her three and one half years in office. She also praised her assistants and deputies who, she said, had filed more than 1,000 tax appeals this year.
Ms. Wilson also spoke against Senate Bill 1585, sponsored by State Senator Daniel Biss of Evanston, which would allow coterminous townships to hold a referendum on whether to dissolve the township government. “I shake my head and wonder why,” she said. “Call your legislators,” she urged residents of Evanston, presumably to oppose the bill.
Ms. Wilson, who did not seek re-election as Township Assessor, will retire at the end of the year. Sharon Eckersall, who held the position before Ms. Wilson, will take over as Township Assessor next year.